Learn about recent site visits to Guatemala, see how men and boys are learning about gender equality, and discover our featured project for August.
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Beyond Dining - Diversity and DFW
By Denise Woods, Chair of the DFW Diversity Committee, and Beth Ellen Holimon, President

Dining for Women was founded on a culture of inclusion and that all women and girls matter. With racial justice in the headlines of American newspapers on a daily basis, we want to take this opportunity to engage our members in a conversation about diversity and unity at DFW.


Visits Conducted with Guatemala Grantees
By Beth Ellen Holimon, President

At the end of June, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit five of DFW’s grantees in Guatemala as part of our efforts to design site visits for our accountability to our members. The Grants and Partnerships Oversight Committee (a DFW Board committee) is investigating how we might incorporate site visits into our reporting systems to verify and ensure your money is empowering women and girls living in poverty. In addition, we want to learn more about our grantees and how we can strengthen our relationships with them.

To this end, I chose Guatemala because I lived there 20 years ago and was familiar with the transportation system, the geography, the culture, and the language. Additionally, since 2012, we have had five grantees that are based in the same town on the lake known as Lago de Atitlan. The other interesting aspect, from a monitoring perspective, is that some had completed their grants several years ago and some were still in the midst of their grant cycles.

My learnings and recommendations will be reported to the Grants and Partnerships Oversight Committee, but I am enamored by our grantees, their clients and the work we are doing.

Here are a couple of the highlights:
At the home of a weaver with Thirteen Threads .
Visiting a local entrepreneur's jam business with Friendship Bridge.
MayaWorks' yarmulke making cooperative.
Lunch with girls from Starfish.
Mercado Global's nutrition class.

Our Featured Grantee for August:
Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC)

The Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC) is dedicated to improving the lives and shaping the futures of vulnerable children in Pune, India by advancing educational opportunities, nurturing holistic development, and building healthy, empowered communities. AIC works with two “Denotified Tribe” (DNT) communities, the Waghris and Sikligars. National Geographic recently referred to the DNT as “the biggest human rights crises you’ve never heard of.”

DFW’s $48,700 grant will fund the Trailblazing Girls Project which aims to prepare girls for successful futures and more empowered lives. The primary goals are to improve educational outcomes, encourage self-expression and empowerment, promote eventual economic self-sufficiency and encourage home and community environments that are conducive to success.

Learn More »

Our Conversation with Elizabeth Sholtys, Co-Founder of Ashraya Initiative for Children, is available here.

3 Things You Need to Know about our Featured Grantee

Under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, certain tribes in India were “notified” that they were considered “criminal at birth.” This enabled the police to exercise constant surveillance, causing considerable harassment and hardships to these castes and communities and adversely affecting their lifestyles and sustenance. This was repealed in 1952, and notified tribes were “denotified,” but social stigma still enshrouds them.
Tribal women and girls are at increased risk of domestic and sexual violence, trafficking, poor nutritional and health status, underage marriage, and a myriad of other factors that threaten their wellbeing. Essentially, girls and women in the DNT communities are “the marginalized within the marginalized.”
This project will directly benefit 120 girls and indirectly benefit 845 women and girls.

The Proven Platter- A Quick & Easy Indian Meal
By Linda McElroy, DFW Recipe Curator and Chapter Leader of WA, Seattle-1

Welcome to India. We’ve traveled there before. Flavors from exotic spices perfume every dish. Garlic, ginger and chiles add heat. If you love Indian food but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and techniques, well, I’ve got your back.

Continue Reading

View all recipes from India

Let Girls Learn Grant Teaches Men and Boys about Gender Equality

Last month, we updated you about DFW’s $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education. We also provided information on GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs, one of the approved projects that will be funded through our DFW grant.

Our grant will also fund Men as Partners (MAP) projects, STEM Projects for Girls, and Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls.  This month we discuss MAP projects.

Our Thanks to Outgoing Regional Leader Memory Blodgett

We extend our thanks to retiring Regional Leader Memory Blodgett, who has served as Co-Leader of the Northwest region since May 2015. With work taking much of her time of late, Memory is leaving regional leadership but not her commitment to DFW.

“Over the past year, Memory has been instrumental in developing a highly effective leadership team in our Northwest region,” DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon said. “Working collaboratively with her co-leader, Karen McCune, and their team members, Memory has made the Northwest region stronger than ever
and well-positioned for DFW’s future growth. We look forward to Memory’s ongoing involvement with DFW as her time allows.”

Memory is stepping down effective July 31, but will continue as Co-Leader of the ID, Boise-4 chapter.

“I love Dining for Women,” Memory said. “It has inspired me and given me a real purpose for my life. Being a Regional Leader for this organization has been an honor I will never forget. The experiences I have had – and the wonderful, marvelous women I have met – will always be a treasure I hold dear.”

Karen McCune will continue as Northwest Regional Leader.

Happy 10th Anniversary to the OH, Sylvania-1 Chapter

Congratulations to the OH, Sylvania-1 chapter on 10 years of food, friendship and fundraising! After Mary Toneff saw a segment about DFW on “Good Morning America” in December 2005, she asked three friends if they would commit to a monthly meeting with her. They each began inviting others and there are now 35 women on the chapter’s roster, with about 12 to 15 in attendance each month.

Mary remains the group’s leader. She said the secret to her chapter’s longevity is its easy meeting format. There is no pressure to attend each month or bring anything “fancy” for the potluck. Because many members knew each other prior to joining or have become friends through the meetings, they enjoy having time to catch up.

Mary’s chapter rotates its meetings among members’ homes. The hostess provides a light dinner, with members adding potluck items to the menu. DFW’s flexible meeting format helps leaders structure meetings to best fit the needs of their members, according to Mary. She encourages new chapters to have co-leaders to get the group up and running.

“Share the hosting and program presentations if possible, although it may take a while before others feel comfortable doing it,” she said. “Chapters can ebb and flow, so don’t be disheartened if some months are lower attendance. Encourage members to bring a friend. We’ve found the best way to spread the word of DFW is word-of-mouth.”

Throughout the years, chapter members have participated in a variety of DFW fundraisers, including making and selling scrapbook paper gift boxes, partnering with local greenhouses to donate a percentage of flower vouchers to DFW, and working with retailers to donate a percentage of sales or host ticketed shopping events. The group even hosted a showing of “Girl Rising” at a local theater, with proceeds benefitting DFW.

Volunteer Opportunities Available

Please bookmark our volunteer page for easy access to new and ongoing volunteer opportunities. Current needs include positions on several operational committees:

Grant Selection Committee – This committee is responsible for the in-depth evaluation of DFW grant proposals. The deadline for applications has been extended to August 10th.

Advocacy Committee – The Advocacy Committee is seeking enthusiastic grassroots organizers, educators, writers, researchers, and those with experience in US political systems and international women’s advocacy.

Diversity Committee – The Diversity Committee is looking for people who care deeply about ensuring that the all voices are heard in DFW’s membership and decision-making.

Summit Committee – This committee is responsible for organizing DFW’s next National Summit. At this time, we are considering our options for dates and locations. Volunteers are needed now for several subcommittees dealing with sponsorship, program development, publicity, logistics and more.


Important Links

Take a moment to visit these important links on the DFW website:


DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon had a wonderful visit with the Boise, Idaho chapters in June. The visit began with a welcome barbecue for all chapter leaders and area advisors, held at the home of member June Langton, with the meal prepared by Chef Dave, Northwest Regional Co-Leader Memory Blodgett’s husband. In addition to a breakfast for the planning committee, the visit also included a public event which featured an inspiring talk by Memory on philanthropy and why we give, an overview presentation by Northwest Regional Co-Leader Karen McCune on the history and structure of DFW, and a presentation by Beth Ellen about DFW’s vision and goals for the future. Many heartfelt thanks to the Boise members and leaders for planning and hosting such a wonderful event. Your passion for DFW is contagious!
Happy anniversary to the PA, Abbington-1 chapter which celebrated its eighth anniversary in May. Congratulations and many thanks to leaders Mary Liz Jones and Debbie Britt and members!
The IL, Springfield-3 chapter celebrated its fifth anniversary in June with a dinner and celebration at a member’s farm. One of the founding leaders, Julie Blythe, and three others who were at the chapter’s first meeting attended the celebration. Happy anniversary to Chapter Leader Mary Caroline Mitchell and members!
Congratulations to the NC, Fairview chapter, which held its first meeting on June 20th. Chapter leaders are Britt Allen and Marnie Walsh. Welcome to DFW!
The CA, Rancho Cordova-1 chapter is off to a great start. The group held its first meeting on April 18th and has since held two additional meetings. This diverse group includes three members from Uganda and several members who work in health care. Congratulations to Chapter Leaders Ingrid Rosten and Jeanne Bauer and members. Welcome!
The CO, Greeley-1 chapter and Chapter Leaders Thora Pabst and Kim Gray celebrated four years with DFW in April. Congratulations and many thanks!
Congratulations to the OH, Willoughby Hills-1 chapter on its third anniversary. The chapter is led by Nisha Jain and includes many members who have travelled to countries that are home to DFW grantees. Here’s to many more years to come!


Please send photos of your chapter milestones, meetings or special events to:

Follow DFW on Instagram for program info, recipes, chapter news, and more.

New Chapters Activated

CA, Los Angeles - 2
led by Nora Paller
DC, Washington - 9
led by Yasamin Brown

Chapter Anniversaries

1 Year
FL, Miami - 2
led by Claudia Gallego & Sara Meyer Mercado
2 Years
CT, Brookfield - 2
led by Leslie Sands
MA, Holbrook - 1
led by Kathy Williams
MI, Macomb - 1
led by Brooke Allen
NC, Greensboro - 9
led by Jada Anderson
3 Years
WI, Mequon - 1
led by Patty Frommell
4 Years
CA, Shell Beach - 1
led by Diane Glaser, Sandra Gore Nielsen & Nayree Barnett
FL, Sarasota - 3
led by Carol Buzilow
5 Years
CA, Diamond Springs - 1
led by Patty Wilson
CA, Santa Barbara - 1
led by Peggy Welik
SC, Greenville - 8
led by Bill Stephenson & Crystal and George Maynard
6 Years
AZ, Phoenix - 4
led by Norma Hubele & Mary Hake
8 Years
CA, Agoura - 1
led by Julie Kassan & Marilyn Way
9 Years
NC, Greensboro - 5
led by Shashi Khanna
10 Years
AZ, Phoenix - 1
led by Rita Dickinson
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