Women are at the forefront of the philanthropic movement in this country. In nearly half of all U.S. households, women provide the main source of income and make the majority of spending decisions. Currently, more than half of the nation’s personal wealth belongs to women. In 10 years, women will comprise the majority of the country’s wealthiest people, according to estimates.
Women wield this extensive philanthropic ability thoughtfully. Women are more likely to give—and to give more than twice as much—regardless of marital status.
Despite these statistics, women are simultaneously one of our community’s most vulnerable demographics. Households headed by single mothers are Racine’s largest demographic of people living in poverty, making up 54 percent of poverty households.
As women who donate are most likely to fund causes that promote gender equality, women’s rights, and youth education, I see this as a calling for Racine’s philanthropic female leaders to lift up our vulnerable community members. I believe Racine County’s women can be a beacon to show what it takes to unite people through philanthropy. Racine County has been my home for 13 years; the women I’ve met here have inspired and motivated me in numerous ways, and I am so thankful for such a supportive community in which to raise my children. In order to give back and continue the work of the United Way of Racine County, I agreed to become the chair of Women United and cultivate the power of these women.
Women United is a global network of philanthropic women. Locally, our group started 2 years ago and created the Brighter Future Fund to support the women and children of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce. In my time leading this group, I’ve been amazed by the collective power of Racine’s women to transform our community.
In 2017, our fundraising efforts enabled us to provide grants to five programs — SAFE Haven of Racine, Preemie Power of Wisconsin, First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship, Bethany Apartments and Youth for Christ — each with their own stories of change and success. For instance, Youth for Christ used our funds to support a teen mother, providing her a computer and tuition coverage. As a result, this mother was able to complete her high school education last year and begin working on her associate’s degree at Gateway.
My goal is to build up the women and children of Racine County so that our entire community can have a future as bright as this young woman.
Charity is a crucial way for a community to thrive, and its benefits extend beyond providing monetary support. Women’s philanthropy has proven to be an opportunity to form relationships and community despite differences.
Philanthropy also has direct, positive benefits on donors. Households that give more of their income report a higher average satisfaction with life. Women are more likely to participate in charity for social and moral well-being, consider philanthropy the most satisfying part of their wealth, and support causes with a positive social impact. Philanthropy is not just a means to support vulnerable people, but a necessary component to achieve a happy life and healthy community.
To learn more about Women United, I invite you to visit UnitedWayRacine.org/Women-United, where you can read about our cause and register for our upcoming charity luncheon: Power of the Purse, on May 3 at Preservation Hall.