Created by Disruptive Philanthropy; The Women's Fund of Central Ohio
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is a public foundation that came to mind when trying to think of public foundations in Ohio that help lift the barriers that are set by class, ethnicity, race, education background, and gender.
To know that the start of these meetings took place on a front porch involving some homemade iced tea makes it all that much sweeter…
I know that Women’s History Month has come to an end but I had to squeeze in one more woman-driven organization that I thought needed some extra attention. A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with Kelley Griesmer, President and CEO, Kelsie Fields, Director of Operations, and Drew Kaufman, Director of Fundraising for the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio.
So what exactly is the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio in a nutshell? It’s a non-profit public foundation that was founded to raise money to do research, make grants, and do advocacy and community engagement efforts all focused on creating gender equity.
It was founded in 2001 by a group of 15 women who wanted to do gender equity efforts and modeled it after other women's funds around the country that were all trying to advocate for social change for women and girls.
Kelley has had first-hand experience of knowing what gender inequality looks like. Kelley, who was originally an attorney in a male-dominated workforce, heard about the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio going in on the first floor of her office building. She started helping them raise money and then became a board member. Next, it only made sense that she continued on as the CEO and President of the public organization.
“We have a real opportunity to fund boldly and courageously because we have a really good example of what happens when you don't do that,” Kelley mentioned in regards to our current state of the economy and the gap in funding women's organizations. With over $4 million invested in programs for women and girls thus far, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio has had up to 10,000 donors supporting its mission and work (you can be a volunteer as well if interested). That money directly impacts women and girls and has helped support 176 programs thus far. “There is a unique role that the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio plays in bringing together organizations that are working towards the same end goal. By providing them with funding and even the opportunity to collaborate with others within the organization, it can do a lot of good… I’m really proud that we have worked with Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Policy Matters Ohio to name a few..” said Kelsie. The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio helps connect the community, which is vital in keeping women-first organizations alive.
Now keep in mind, that this is a 20-year-old organization that currently has only three full-time rockstars to keep this thing going. During the pandemic, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio had just as many barriers, especially to being a fundraiser when you couldn't actually speak with anyone in person. This is a self-made foundation, “we don't exist unless people donate,” stated Kelley, “We are working very hard to exist, and so for right now, it is only the three of us, so we have to have fundraising strength, operational strength, and some fire for the future, in order to make it work, at least for now.”
It has been a pleasure getting to know the team that helps keep the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio going and I look forward to seeing the impact they will continue to have on women and girl’s who have a dream to make a change. You can help support this public organization by donating, any amount helps!
All photos are taken by Emma Parker Photography.
For more information, please contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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