Gene Tempel, president of the Indiana University Foundation, has announced the founding of the first Women's Philanthropy Council at Indiana University. Convened by the IU Foundation's Board of Directors, the Council's mission is to lead fundraising and engagement efforts that inspire women to give of their time, talent, and resources to Indiana University, and to develop women leaders in philanthropy.
According to Tempel, "The Women's Philanthropy Council is an outgrowth of fifteen years of research and engagement that included the Foundation's Colloquium for Women and the Academy for Women initiatives.
"With the establishment of this council," said Tempel, "we aspire to create a national model for innovative programs that engage women in philanthropy and volunteerism in higher education. Given the outstanding leadership of the council, and the demonstrated commitment of its members to a high level of philanthropic support for the university, I am convinced we can do it."
The founding chair of the Women's Philanthropy Council is Dale Ellen Leff, and the founding honorary chair is Laurie Burns McRobbie, First Lady of Indiana University, an active university advocate and community leader. Leff is an IU Foundation board member who was instrumental in formulating earlier programs to encourage women to give and volunteer for the university.
"The time has come for a high-level, university-wide initiative at Indiana University such as the Women's Philanthropy Council," said Leff. Citing research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, Leff said, "Women are no longer a niche audience – they are the audience, according to Witter and Chen in the book The She Spot." Our intention is that this council will guide women's philanthropic initiatives for the university, educate women about philanthropy and their philanthropic choices, and engage more women, and men, in volunteer leadership positions across the university and on all campuses."
"Women's leadership is a vibrant and strong thread woven into the history of Indiana University," said JT. Forbes, executive director of the Indiana University Alumni Association. "We are pleased to join our arms and minds with the IU Foundation and the Women's Philanthropy Council to develop even more opportunities for alumnae engagement and support of Indiana University."
Research shows that women are more charitable than men, said Tempel. Fifty-six percent of Indiana University students, and 44 percent of IU alumni, are women. Women hold 51 percent of all management, professional, and related positions in the U.S, and control 51.3 percent of the country's private wealth.
"Research also shows that women have different philanthropic and leadership behaviors than men," said Dr. Debra Mesch, director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute. "Because they are socialized differently and often work in the business world as well as run a household, women multitask, care give, and lead. Perhaps because of this socialization, women give and volunteer more than men – a fact that research clearly supports.
"Women are also an increasingly strong economic force," Mesch added. "Income and education are key predictors of philanthropic behavior, and women have increasing access to both. Women earn 60 percent of advanced degrees in this country, and control about $4.3 trillion of $5.9 trillion in consumer spending. They make 83 percent of all purchases in the U.S., including 62 percent of new car purchases and 90 percent of food purchases. Women make 80 percent of healthcare decisions.
"The Women's Philanthropy Council has all the ingredients for an effective run," said Mesch. "It has strong leadership from a dedicated group of highly engaged volunteer female leaders, a knowledgeable and experienced staff, and a commitment from the IU Foundation to allocate needed financial and human resources to ground this effort in research, ensuring the program's success."
In addition to other major philanthropic and volunteer commitments at Indiana University, Women's Philanthropy Council members pledge $10,000 per term to support areas of their choice at Indiana University. A portion of gifts may be directed by Council members to fund special projects through an application process.