The Power of Women in ActionMay 19, 2023 02:58PM ● By Bethany Good
It was time to leave. After twelve years of abuse, Michelle* knew she needed to get out. Finding a safe place for her children to live was her top priority. But she had no funds to cover the first month’s rent on a new apartment. To make matters worse, she was running out of time. Her family was about to be evicted from their home. Leaving her husband was the right choice, but Michelle felt she was out of options. What could she do?
Women like Michelle need help fast, and that help came from the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County’s (WGC) Emergency Response Network (ERN), which allows people to donate directly to women in need. Since its inception in 2002, the ERN has assisted more than 250 women and their families when they needed help the most. Donors can see the direct impact of their dollars in action.
The WGC and ERN would not be possible without the behind-the-scenes work of amazing women like Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz. Buffy is the Executive Director and Founder of the WGC of Howard County. Her journey into the nonprofit world began when she worked in international human rights and then at the Maryland Philanthropy Network. But Buffy wanted to do more. She wanted to help women and girls in her local community.
In 2002 she co-founded the WGC with 15 other women philanthropists. Women caring for other women was the inspiration for the founders. “Women have a greater impact when we pool our resources together and put them towards the needs of other women,” she says. The power of collective giving is at the heart of WGC. “I love the idea of the power that comes from focusing your financial resources on things you care about.”
Within days of her request to the ERN, Michelle had the funds for a new apartment. WGC gave Michelle the means to escape a bad situation and start a new life. “It was a miracle!” she said. “I moved into my place, and my children are the happiest they’ve ever been. I hope to be in a position where I can help someone else just like myself soon!”
Buffy wants everyone to know that they are welcome at the philanthropic table. “Whether it's one dollar or a thousand, it's all important and valued. Everyone is a philanthropist who gives time, talent or treasure. We believe that women have a greater impact with our dollars when we put them towards things that we really care about in our community.”
*Name changed to protect privacy.