No More Silent Majority: An Interview with The Women's Fund of Central Ohio

The Women's Fund of Central Ohio raises money and makes grants for women and girls in the Central Ohio Area. This Monday at 5:30 at the Arena Grand Theatre, they are hosting Abigail Disney of "Women, War and Peace" for their annual Fall "Social Exchange." If you're in Central Ohio and wish to attend this event, click here to purchase your tickets. They are $50 dollars and are a tax-deductible donation.

Below is my interview with Kimber Perfect of the Women's Fund Board of Trustees. There are so many awesome gems in here, I can't even handle it. Enjoy!

Can you explain what the main function of The Women's Fund is? Why is what you do important?

The Women’s Fund is a foundation that raises money and makes grants that focus on women and girls in our community. We enable social change by creating women philanthropists and by empowering women and girls to reach their full potential.

What do you think women have to offer the world, and why is it important to help them?

Potential is what you make of it. Every woman and every girl holds hope within her. She just needs time, energy and support to make it real.

How often do you host events like "Women, War and Peace?"

The Women’s Fund’s annual fall Social Exchange is a unique opportunity for women in central Ohio to hear from a distinguished speaker who has encouraged, informed and enlightened women on topics such as the importance of women’s philanthropy and the strengths of women.

Our annual spring event, Keyholder, has earned a reputation as the only gathering of its kind in central Ohio. Each year, it draws together a diverse audience for a single compelling celebration of the women and girls who have made a difference in our lives. Keyholder speakers over the past two years have included Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn.

What do you hope your audience walks away thinking or doing?

No more silent majority. We insist on being heard.  We each have opportunities to improve our lives and the lives of others. We need to be empowered to take advantage of those opportunities. Without apology or guilt.

Abigail Disney wants the world to realize that women are profoundly impacted by war but seldom involved in talks of peace or rebuilding. Why do you think that is? What part do you feel The Women's Fund plays in helping women have more of a voice overall?

Social change is about changing the very systems which perpetuate and reinforce inequality in our society. Women, War and Peace aims to change the way we look at war and peace. At The Women’s Fund we measure social change in language shifts. Women, War and Peace applies to almost all of these shifts—it reframes the issue of war and conflict; seeks to change the individual and community behavior; creates a shift in critical mass and engagement; and pushes for a change in local, national and international policy. 

Just by reaching the PBS audience, Women, War and Peace changes the conversations and raises awareness in the community. When you can get an audience to feel the disproportionate impact of war on women, that understanding translates to how women are disproportionately impacted in many areas of our society here in the United States. This series creates social change at every level.

What is one of your greatest success stories?

Our One Girl Initiative is a unique research-based effort to develop a holistic, inclusive, replicable, and collaborative program that focuses on girls. One Girl: A Status of Girls in Central Ohio was the first comprehensive study on girls and women under 18 in the seven-county central Ohio area. Check out our report on how girls in our community describe their life experiences. It’s a whole lot more than just ‘drama.’

Finally, what do you wish women did better or were recognized more for in today's society?

Women don’t just volunteer time. We volunteer our money, too. Years ago, women had very little financial power. Today, we are the largest economy on earth. We owe it to ourselves to have a say in how charitable funds are spent. Currently, only 7 percent of philanthropic dollars goes to women and girls’ programs. At the Women’s Fund, we celebrate the back and forth of giving and receiving. Money given to benefit women and girls flows in a circle. Those we help today may soon be more able--and more willing—to help others in the same way.  We have seen it happen as women more fully take on the role of philanthropist.

Thank you, Kimber! Check out the event on Monday, October 24 with Abigail Disney, producer of Women, War and Peace. For more information on the Women's Fund, find them on the Web, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

And of course, check out Women, War and Peace on PBS. I Came to Testify is particularly amazing!