“When women give today, one thing they want to know about is the impact they are having,” says Renate Davidson.
Renate is a long-term, respected volunteer with HCF and many other organizations across Hamilton. As a founding donor to HCF’s Women 4 Change (W4C) initiative, she is struck by how women’s philanthropy “has evolved to something very different from just writing a cheque,” she says.
“A collaborative giving circle like W4C, for example, is an exciting new way to care for our community. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, to give, to work with other women and to see measurable results.”
New research confirms women’s growing influence through individual and family philanthropy, and provides detail on how they prefer to give. Women now want to contribute money as well as time, to connect with others as they give, and to have an ongoing relationship with the causes they support. They value learning about community needs and responses, and they want to see measurable results.
Meeting these expectations drives both Women4Change and HCF’s engagement with individual donors. Since its 2012 launch, W4C has grown to more than 60 women collaborating to improve the lives of Hamilton’s women and girls. At the same time, they are enhancing their own capacity as philanthropists through expert presentations, site visits, and conversations with grant recipients.
W4C builds on HCF’s long history of generous and visionary female donors, notes Sheree Meredith, VP Philanthropic Services. “Both our first gift and our first bequest came from women,” she says. “The Chaney-Ensign sisters who made post-secondary education possible for hundreds of Hamiltonians are another of dozens of powerful examples of women whose philanthropy continues to have a transformative impact on our city.“
“I would encourage anyone to have a conversation with the foundation about how they can participate in giving to our community in ways that are most meaningful to them,” says Renate. “This has been a lifelong learning for me, and has sensitized me to our city’s challenges and opportunities. Working through HCF has been incredibly satisfying.”