Women of Hope is a philanthropic group of women who have come together around their common interest in making the world a better place for abused and neglected children and youth served by Austin Children’s Shelter. Established in 2011, Women of Hope has raised more than $600,000 through annual membership dues, third-party fundraisers and other gifts to Austin Children’s Shelter.
Women of Hope fulfill their mission through:
- Networking and Building Friendships
- Issue Awareness and Advocacy
Networking and Building Friendships
Women of Hope was founded by four friends wanting to make a difference. First and foremost, they wanted Women of Hope to be a fun, no pressure way to give back to Austin Children’s Shelter and to meet other like-minded generous women in the community. Throughout the year, there are several opportunities for social gatherings–like the annual Founder’s Retreat–where members can network, build friendships and sometimes raise even more money through third-party fundraisers. Members also stay connected through a periodic Women of Hope newsletter and a Women of Hope Facebook page.
“I joined Women of Hope because I wanted to find a community of women who were interested in giving back. I never expected I would end up with long-lasting friendships with such special and inspiring women.”
– Lana Macrum-Craig
While not required, interested Women of Hope members are also invited to participate in direct service activities on the Austin Children’s Shelter campus.
Ongoing opportunities include:
- Weekly reading with the pre-school children at Care Academy
- Cooking classes to help prepare the older youth and young adult residents for independent life by learning how to make simple, healthy meals
- Deck and un-Deck the Shelter – holiday decorating in each of the residential cottages and other Austin Children’s Shelter buildings.
“I love this group, but just as important for me is the experience of interacting with the families during my weekly visits to the ACS Strong Start classroom. To watch the difference these very special teachers make with these families, firsthand, has made me a better parent.”
– Kathy Terry
Issue Awareness & Advocacy
Women of Hope Orange Crush Party 2012_3Learning about and understanding the issues behind abuse and neglect help Women of Hope work with Austin Children’s Shelter to effect change in our community. By connecting through social media, newsletters and at gatherings, Women of Hope members are made aware of things they can do to spread the word about prevention and intervention around child abuse. It might be as simple as sharing a link on your Facebook page, or re-tweeting an important Austin Children’s Shelter update. Recently two Women of Hope members were on the morning news educating our community on Austin Children’s Shelter’s work during child abuse prevention month: Kathy Terry on Time Warner Cable News and Shannon Hutcheson on my Fox Austin.
“For me, I would like to find ways to keep children and youth out of shelter by focusing on preventing child abuse. As a Women of Hope member, I can help make others aware of what is being done by Austin Children’s Services in the area of prevention and how they can help.”
– Shannon Hutcheson
Each Women of Hope member makes a gift of at least $1,000 for their annual membership dues. This collective membership dues fund (generally in excess of $100,000 per year) is then voted on at the annual meeting and directed to one of the Austin Children’s Shelter residential programs. Of course, many Women of Hope participate in other fundraising activities and make other generous donations. While additional gifts in support of special events or other activities are certainly welcome, they are not required for membership in Women of Hope.
To learn more about Women of Hope please contact Kimberly Gifford, Director of Development, [email protected].