The Third Third

What Are You Doing With All That Money?

What are you going to do with all that money?

What money?

A full 51 percent of the nation’s wealth.


Yes! More than half the nation’s wealth is in women’s hands now.


Yes, really.

So what are you, what are we going to do with all that money?

It’s a good question. Some may find their answers in one of the 100-plus women’s foundations in the country, community or public charities which, like the Dallas Women’s Foundation “promote women’s philanthropy and raise money to support community programs that help women and girls realize their full potential.” Others may learn by example, from highly visible social entrepreneurs like Bill and Melinda Gates. And still others may tackle the issue on their own, educating and supporting themselves and others in new groups called giving circles, like the Women Donors Network, in Menlo Park, California.

This organization writes, “All philanthropy is a good thing. But smart, educated, well-directed philanthropy surely is a powerful thing.” Thus, their mission: “The Women Donors Network creates a strong community for wealthy women, delivers timely and relevant educational opportunities, and catalyzes philanthropic action to build the movement for progressive social change.”

In other words, this is not your mother’s bake sale! It’s not even a $100 check for the local Red Cross. It is a smart, systematic, values-driven, collaborative, powerful form of philanthropy, a making a difference that many women have come to believe really can happen when a check with enough zeros goes to the best people with the best plan, when concepts such as focus, partnership, accountability, return on investment, principles, activism, and success are every bit as compelling as “charity.”

While the Women Donors Network requires annual contributions of $25,000, other established giving circles require just $5,000 or $10,000 annually, and some, functioning less formally in neighborhoods, much like book clubs or investment clubs, simply set the level of commitment that works for their group. The key is education; the goal is effective use of wealth for the good of the society; and the byproducts include new power newly exercised by women working together, and new friends.

Are you a philanthropist?

Could you be?

Have you joined a giving circle?

Any other thoughts?

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