Power of Women’s Fund Philanthropy recap from Women’s Fund executive director

photo of Jennifer Pope Baker-by Jennifer Pope Baker
executive director of Women’s Fund of Central Indiana

Wow! We had an incredible night with our annual Power of Women’s Fund Philanthropy event last week featuring Liz Murray, New York Times best-selling author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.”

We are so happy so many of you were able to join us for the event. People have told me they thought she was our best speaker yet, and that is saying something! I agree, Liz was absolutely marvelous. She left an indelible imprint on many people, including me. I didn’t realize that we would need to have Kleenex at the tables for everyone, though I will say the DeBrand chocolate truffles were the perfect salve to the tears running down our faces.

What were some of your favorite gems that Liz shared? Here are a few favorites that people have shared with me:

  • No one gets where they are going alone.
  • People grow into the conversations that you create around them.
  • No one knows what is possible until you start doing it.
  • You are always making a difference, with every interaction. Make those be positive differences.
  • When you treat someone like they are broken, they behave like they need to be fixed.
  • Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

In addition to hearing from Liz, we shared the following updates:

Bellfound Farm

The NEXT Farm initiative has officially launched as Bellfound Farm and are operating their new 501c3 on a 17-acre farm on the near southside of Indianapolis. This farm land is rich in history and in soil. The homes onsite are in the process of being renovated, cover crops are in place, and preparations are underway to welcome the first residents the beginning of 2019. Women’s Fund is tremendously excited about the early success Nekoma Burcham and Alena Jones have had in creating what will be a true sanctuary for the women served at Bellfound Farm. I can’t wait to see what produce will be in my CSA box when they become available next fall, and I can’t wait to witness the change in the women who are receiving a fresh start and a path to a lifetime of economic security.

Gender Wage Gap

Women’s Fund is striving to reduce the number of women in our community who face economic insecurity because their financial distress threatens not only their well-being, but the future of our state, too. According the Indiana Institute for Working Families, the median income for women in Indiana working full-time is at least $13,000 less than the median income for men who were working full-time. The Institute tells us the gender wage gap in Indiana grew wider in 2017 and moved from 46th to 49th in the nation; the poverty rate for women in Indiana is 38 percent; and the numbers for women of color are significantly worse in all categories. These numbers are devastating! If you are a decision maker about wages in your company, please keep these numbers in mind and think how you can be a part of boldly turning the tide in our community.

Mental Health

We are committed to being relentless about mental health and wellness for women and girls in our community. We continue to expand our work with the Campaign to Change Direction helping every Hoosier to understand the five signs of emotional suffering and what do if they recognize these signs in themselves or someone they care about. We have partnered with the Marion County Public Health Department to leverage $300,000 to bring Give an Hour and one-on-one, free mental health care to marginalized girls in Indianapolis. AND, in June, we announced a grant opportunity for $750,000. We are challenging our community to disrupt the status quo of systems to create a bold, innovative and sustainable approach to mental health issues and girls. We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of proposed ideas of how this $750,000 grant can transform mental health services for marginalized girls. We are in the process of reviewing those ideas and will be seeking full applications from the best of the best later this fall. We hope to announce funding early next year. Stay tuned to our newsletters for up-to-date information as this unfolds.

Finally, if you are a donor—or plan to be—you are an important part of ensuring Women’s Fund can leverage our community leadership to make sure women and girls in our community have a path out of poverty and the supports they need to be mentally fit. If you have read something today that has inspired you to want to make an investment in Women’s Fund, please give online or you can send a check to:

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana
615 N. Alabama Street, Suite 119
Indianapolis, IN 46204.

You can also call me at 317.634.2423 to set an appointment to discuss your interest in Women’s Fund.

As always, I am truly grateful for your interest in Women’s Fund.


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