Support our 13th Month Annual Appeal, learn about Sub-Saharan Africa, and check out the special DFW collection of bags from Mercado Global.
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Our 13th Month Annual Appeal
Make Some Good News!

By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women President

Did you know that YOU are MAKING good news?

Since 1990, extreme poverty has been reduced by 50 percent.  Take that in for a moment. Dining for Women has been here for 13 of those years - you are part of something big!  If you ever doubted that you are changing the world, doubt no more.


Our Featured Grantee for October:
The Tandana Foundation

The mission of The Tandana Foundation is to:
  • empower individuals of various cultural backgrounds with an increased awareness of the world, other cultures and themselves, and with an expanded sense of their possibilities;
  • promote positive, caring interactions between people of different backgrounds and encourage consideration and lessening of global inequalities;
  • promote respect and responsibility toward one's self, all people and the Earth.
The term Tandana comes from a Kichwa (a Quechuan language native to Ecuador, Colombia and Peru) root meaning “to gather together” or “to unite”, and this represents the spirit of the Foundation’s work.
DFW’s featured grant of $47,980 over two years will provide literacy and numeracy classes as well as training in association management, democratic governance and leadership so that women can achieve self-sufficiency and fulfill their potential as leaders in their communities.

Learn More »

Our Conversation with Anna Taft, Founding Director of The Tandana Foundation, is available here.

3 Things You Need to Know about our Featured Grantee

The female literacy rate in Mali is less than 30 percent, and it is much lower in the rural area of Bandiagara Circle where The Tandana Foundation operates. Without literacy and numeracy skills, women must rely on others for help with basic tasks, such as making telephone calls and weighing their products to sell.
The Women LEAP (Literacy, Empowerment, Awareness, Possibilities) Project will provide literacy classes, help with the creation of women’s associations to enhance governing and leadership skills, and fund income-generating projects. It will directly benefit 1,300 and indirectly benefit 9,900 women and girls over two years.
In Mali, Tandana has bolstered women’s empowerment in 34 villages via education and training. It has also collaborated on many community infrastructure projects, including six wells, two grain banks, three cotton banks, and four gardens.

Our Sustained Grantee for October:
Fistula Foundation

The Fistula Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of and funding for fistula repair, prevention and educational programs worldwide. DFW has supported this organization several times, including as a featured grantee in 2008 and 2011, and now as a sustained grantee for 2015 – 2017. This sustained grant provides $20,000 per year for fistula surgeries, including pre- and post-operative care, to 45 women per year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2015), Guinea (2016) and South Sudan (2017). This surgery dramatically improves the quality of life for affected women. Here are just two of the women whose lives have been changed by DFW’s grant:
Lubaba Abebe, 25, is from Jimma, Lemu Genet in Ethiopia. She spent four days in labor which resulted in stillbirth, fistula, septicemia and bleeding. She and her husband had been desperate for help, which she received at Hamlin Fistula Hospital thanks to the Fistula Foundation and DFW’s grant. Lubaba’s successful surgery transformed her life!
Ambisie Nure, 23, endured four days of extended labor before her father eventually took her to the local health center. There, her baby was stillborn, and she developed a fistula that left her incontinent of urine. Local missionaries facilitated her transport to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital where she stayed for 26 days. At the end of her stay, she was no longer incontinent and able to smile again!

The Proven Platter- Tilapia in Coconut Lime Sauce
By Linda McElroy, DFW Recipe Curator and Chapter Leader of WA, Seattle-1

We are off to Mali this month, located in West Africa, in support of The Tandana Foundation. Their Women LEAP program provides literacy and numeracy training, as well as democratic governance and leadership skills.
Often, the program we are supporting will send us recipes that are rooted in their culture. This month we received a very detailed recipe called “Recipe for Toh (Oro Dja), Traditional Food of the Dogon People,” by Jemima Tembiné.

Continue Reading

View all recipes from Mali

Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals

By Dr. Veena Khandke, DFW Director of Grants and Partnerships

Recently, Dining for Women’s Board reaffirmed our commitment to the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the next nine months, a number of DFW featured grantees are from the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa. This offers DFW members the opportunity to learn about individual challenges faced by individual countries and communities in the vast region. This blog provides an overview of Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the UN’s SDGs.

Continue Reading

Leadership Changes in Our Southeast Region

We are grateful for the long-time service of retiring Southeast Regional Co-Leader Kira Walker. After more than four years as a Regional Leader, Kira is stepping down but will continue as a Mentor for Georgia as well as Co-Leader of the GA, Atlanta-1 chapter.
One of Kira’s favorite memories is meeting all the other DFW Regional Leaders at the first-ever Regional Leader retreat in Chicago a few years ago. “It was great getting to know each other and learning from each other. We are like family --  cemented by our love of DFW's mission, and caring deeply for each and every woman in the world,” she said.

“Kira brings love and energy to everything she does,” DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon said. “DFW has been so lucky to have her as part of our leadership team and we are better for it.”
Helen Borland continues as Southeast Regional Co-Leader and joining her is Terri Abraham. Terri has been a DFW member for more than five years and served as co-leader of the GA, Marietta-1 chapter for much of that time.
“When I first learned of DFW, I was impressed with the mission of empowering women and girls to improve their lives and communities,” Terri said. “The benefits I've received from DFW have been a great surprise. Where else can you get an education, have fun, eat well and make the world a better place all at the same time?”
Terri is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has more than 30 years of consulting experience working with medical clinics, hospitals, mental health centers, home health care agencies, software companies and investment firms. She is the founder and CEO of the Marietta West Cobb Counseling Center. A strong believer in giving back to the community, Terri has served on the boards of non-profit and advocacy organizations.

Read Regional Leader Bios

SC, Simpsonville-1 Celebrates 10 Years of Service

Founding Chapter Leader Gretchen Johnson and members of the SC, Simpsonville-1 chapter recently celebrated 10 years of food, friendship and giving recently. Gretchen is retiring and moving from Greenville, and the chapter is retiring along with her, but throughout the years the group has kept their meetings low-key and flexible. Members rotated hosting duties, with Gretchen presenting information about the featured grantee.
The group began after Gretchen read about DFW in her local newspaper. In addition to regular meetings, the chapter has participated in a community yard sale with other local chapters in support of DFW.
For new chapter leaders, Gretchen said one of the keys to success is sharing the workload. “Don’t try to do it all yourself,” she said. “Make it fun.”
We congratulate the chapter on 10 years of dedicated service and wish Gretchen all the best as she starts this new season of her life!

Portland Chapter Celebrates 100th Meeting

By Patricia Andersson, Co-Leader for the OR, Portland-2 chapter
There was a lot to celebrate for our Portland-2 chapter in August. After meeting for over 8½ years, we realized that we had hit our 100th meeting! Our August meeting also occurred at our favorite place, Wendy Swanson’s floating home on the Willamette River. Wendy, a past co-leader of our chapter, will be moving out of her lovely home this fall, so it was our last chance to enjoy her big deck right on top of the water. And the other “100” we were aware of, if not celebrating, was the 100-degree temperature that night! But the beauty of the setting and the river breeze more than made up for the discomfort of the high heat.
Also cause for celebration was my 10th anniversary of being a Chapter Leader. Originally having started a chapter in Corvallis, OR in August 2006, I later moved to Portland and started another DFW chapter there – now the oldest of the 13 chapters that are currently meeting in the greater Portland area.
Since that first meeting in January 2009, our Portland-2 chapter has raised nearly $70,000 for DFW and the 100 grantees that we’ve learned about and supported. With a mailing list of over 400, there’s been a lot of folks who have participated in our dinners over the years! We love our ever-changing group and we love DFW, and are looking forward to at least another 100 more meetings to come!

New Grant Cycle Opens

Our new grant cycle -- for featured grants that will be awarded for the second half of 2017 -- opens Oct. 1. Organizations that meet our criteria can submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) online via our application page from Oct. 1 to 24. Information on the grant criteria is available online. We know that many of our members have connections with potential grantees. Please share this information with them so we can continue to support wonderful organizations that are changing the lives of women and girls around the world.

Support DFW with Your Holiday Shopping

Before you start your holiday shopping, consider making a global impact by purchasing gifts from one of DFW’s cause marketing partners. Our partners give back in a myriad of ways. First, they offer products that are crafted by artisans who receive a fair wage for their work. Second, if you purchase through our cause marketing links, a portion of the proceeds from each sale comes back to support DFW.
This month, take a look at the fair trade jewelry offered by Women’s Peace Collection. Each item in this online, fair-trade store speaks to the hopeful vision that women’s hands are a force for peace. Owned by Sue Fish, a DFW member in Great Barrington, MA, the site sells jewelry, scarves, bags and more made by women from around the world who are rebuilding their lives in the shadows of war, civil strife or crippling poverty. All of the products are handcrafted, sustainable and will help empower women entrepreneurs. Dining for Women will receive 10 percent of the regular price of items purchased through this link.

New Cause Marketing Partner: Mercado Global

Mercado Global (MG), a DFW reserve grantee in 2015, empowers rural indigenous Mayan women in Guatemala to break the cycle of poverty by connecting them to international markets, fostering sustainable livelihoods and pioneering a socially-responsible business model within the fashion industry. MG has designed a collection of hand-woven bags specifically for Dining for Women. The DFW logo will be embroidered on the outside of each bag, and DFW will receive 20% of the proceeds from sales through this designated link.   

Members are also encouraged to host a trunk show and 20 percent of proceeds will benefit DFW! Contact to receive an invitation template and everything you will need for your event. Please plan your trunk show at least five weeks in advance.

NEW Volunteer Opportunity:
Finance Committee Advisory Member

The DFW Board of Directors is seeking individuals willing to serve as volunteer Finance Committee Advisory Members. Board committee advisory members must be nominated and approved by the DFW Board.  Terms are for two years, commencing at the annual meeting of the Board of Directors, and may be renewed. The deadline to apply is November 1st.
Visit the Volunteer page on our website for more information on experience and background required for this position, as well as how to apply.

Important Links

Grantee Updates -- Stove Team International

DFW is known throughout the international organizational community as a funder that works collaboratively with our grantee partners.  Not only is this consistent with our values, it is necessary when working in communities that may have unpredictable challenges – natural disasters, war or imminent danger, disease, or economic instability.  DFW is committed to helping grantee partners implement their projects, as close to originally proposed, to ensure that the grant is used in the most effective way possible to support women and girls.
StoveTeam International (STI) promotes the local production of safe, affordable, fuel-efficient cook stoves in the developing world. In August 2013, STI was awarded a $42,312 featured grant for a stove project in Oaxaca, Mexico. This project required STI to partner with Rotary organizations in the US and Mexico that would provide the funding to build an Ecocina stove factory. The DFW grant to STI was to be used for the promotion and sale of the stoves produced in this factory.
STI’s collaboration with Rotary organizations failed and, in spite of strong efforts by STI for two and a half years, the factory was never built. STI and DFW worked together continuously to problem-solve the challenges they were facing since 2013. STI turned in a proposal for Ecocina stove promotion in Honduras in July 2016 to redirect the grant money awarded to them. This time STI is not relying on a local factory to produce the stoves; instead they are using a major part of DFW grant money to purchase the stoves. The remainder of the grant is for pre-test and post-test surveys on usage and distribution and outreach.
DFW has approved this proposal, and activities on this grant will commence in November 2016. This project will improve the lives of 390 women and their families who are forced to cook over open fires and suffer the myriad impacts, including lung, heart, eye and skin diseases, debilitating burns and hernias, by providing alternative, fuel-efficient and safe cooking technologies.

International Day of the Girl Child is October 11

The three Marin County, CA chapters (San Anselmo-1, Tiburon-1 and Corte Madera-1) are holding an event on Oct. 9th entitled "Celebrate The Girl" in honor of International Day of the Girl Child. Mothers, daughters and women of all ages are invited to hear inspiring stories of girls in the developing world whose lives have been transformed, and to savor recipes from their countries. A representative from Nepal Youth Foundation, a past DFW grantee, will talk about the practice of Kamlari and DFW's role in helping to change the laws in Nepal and to support the education of rescued Kamlari girls.
For more info on this event, please call 415-482-7795 or email


Happy seventh anniversary to the GA, Augusta-2 chapter, led by Dana Gates and Cynthia Miller!
Congratulations to the SC, Greenville-8 chapter on five years together. The group is led Bill Stephenson and Crystal and George Maynard.
The WI, Mequon-1 chapter celebrated its third anniversary in August. The Chapter Leader is Patty Frommell. The group has a 35 member roster with an average of 18 attendees per meeting.


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

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

Grantee Reports Posted

The MI, West Bloomfield-1 chapter, along with Chapter Leaders Sharona Shapiro and Lea Luger, proved that DFW meetings don’t need a dining room. The group’s August attendees took to the water to enjoy their time together.
The WA, Spokane-3 chapter, led by Cherie Beckstrom, kicked off its second year together with an outdoor gathering in August, welcoming three new members.
Happy second anniversary to the MA, Pittsfield-1 chapter. The chapter’s leaders are Michele Krieg Bauer and Jan Zimbler.
Karin Suskin, Co-Leader of the NY, Ithaca-1 chapter, had the unique opportunity to witness a DFW grant in action when she visited Tanzania and the African People and Wildlife Fund. Karin, along with her husband, met with Mama Helena (featured in the DFW video) in her village and had a rich conversation, through an interpreter, about the women in the project, her role and the beekeeping project itself. “I have never felt so proud of being a Dining for Women chapter member as during this visit,” Karin said.

New Chapters Activated

CO, Longmont – 1
led by Elaine Enarson
NC, Durham – 4
led by April Xayavong

Chapter Anniversaries

1 Year
CA, Livermore - 1
led by Sally Blaze
CA, San Jose - 10
led by Debbie Huynh
CA, Ventura - 1
led by Irene Sanders
FL, Melbourne - 2
led by Lisa Dougherty & Laurie Saunders
MA, Great Barrington - 2
led by led by Leslye Heilig & Bernadette Brusco
NY, Rhinebeck - 1
led by Grace Levine
OH, Peebles - 1
led by Sylvia Lieb
TN, Loudon - 1
led by Dee Lilley & Lori Rorstad
WA, Mukilteo - 1
led by Toni Stockton
WA, Seattle - 8
led by Peg Maas
2 Years
CO, Stapleton - 1
led by Karen Gladstone & Kay Taylor
DE, Wilmington - 3
led by Elaine Butterfoss & Bea Mercatante
MD, Silver Spring - 2
led by Anne Conlan & Mary Tull
NY, Lancaster - 1
led by Cassidy Dwan & Marna Metcalf
OR, Talent - 1
led by Marcia Weatherell & Ethel Ann Ackerman
SC, Indian Land - 2
led by Sharon Barasch
3 Years
MN, Plymouth - 1
led by Leslee Jaeger
NY, Cazenovia - 1
led by Gretchen Lipp
VA, Alexandria - 3
led by Nancy Ault & Sherry Schiller
4 Years
AZ, Chandler - 1
led by Staci Blunt & Kathrine Blomquist
CT, Salisbury - 1
led by Rita Delgado
DE, Newark - 2
led by Kate Regan
DE, Wilmington - 1
led by Barbara Bason & Dana Jefferson
OR, Portland - 10
led by Betty Friedman & Susan Schradle
PA, Philadelphia - 7
led by Adia Garrick
SC, Indian Land - 1
led by Jane Harvey & Jan Ginger
5 Years
AL, Decatur - 1
led by Christy Lamb & Carolyn Dobson
CA, Merced - 1
led by Jane Guerra & Karen Arnold
NC, Raleigh - 3
led by Gracey Vaughn & Alexandra Collins
PA, Philadelphia - 4
led by Ann Mintz & Betsy Teutsch
6 Years
OR, Portland - 3
led by Stephanie Sussman & Karen McCune
OR, Portland - 4
led by Leslie Mills
TX, Seguin - 1
led by Whitney Bischoff
VA, Richmond - 3
led by Sally Donald & Robyn Dail
7 Years
AK, Anchorage - 1
led by Kelly Hurd & Sara Huff
9 Years
NY, Ithaca - 1
led by Karin Suskin & Karen Baum
OH, Cincinnati - 2
led by Karen Whitney
VA, Herndon - 1
led by Sheila Hanz
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