In 2004, a group of local women began working with the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation on an exciting program to support the health care needs of area women and children and to celebrate the growing presence and impact of women as philanthropists. Six months later, WISH (Women Investing in Samaritan Health) was born.
WISH features two major components:
A Women’s Giving Circle, to which members contribute $500 annually to a fund housed with the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. The contributions are pooled with other giving circle members. Ten percent of the total is set aside in a permanently restricted endowment, and the remaining 90 percent is allocated annually to hospital-based programs and projects supporting women and children’s health. As the endowment grows, the earnings can be used to augment the amount available for grants each year.
An annual education and celebration event, where women learn more about philanthropy and investing, as well as about health issues affecting women and children. They will also meet the recipients of the grants funded by the WISH Giving Circle.
Today’s women are playing unprecedented roles in business, society and philanthropy. Since 1974, the number of women working outside the home has doubled, to 60 million. Women-owned businesses account for 38 percent of all U.S. businesses and contribute $1.6 trillion to the national economy. Women purchase half of all new vehicles, comprise 40 percent of all business travelers and finance 80 percent of all luxury and family travel. And, because women generally live longer than men, they will be in charge of much of the $41 to $136 trillion expected to transfer to the next generation over the next 50 years.
In terms of women as philanthropists, research has found that women are more likely to look for opportunities that allow for more direct participation and involvement in their giving decisions. In addition, many women are looking for information on how to sharpen their philanthropic skills and focus their giving for the greatest impact.
The WISH Giving Circle
Women’s Giving Circles are well-suited to the unique giving patterns of women, and have been growing in national popularity in recent years. Similar to investment clubs, giving circles provide members with the opportunity to pool their funds, learn about the funding choices available and collectively decide how the funds are best used.
In the case of the WISH giving circle, members evaluate proposals for enhancing the health care of local women and children. A steering committee provides the initial screening of the proposals and makes recommendations to the general membership prior to the annual vote.
The annual timeline for the giving circle begins each spring, when the previous year’s grants are announced and giving circle members are invited to renew their annual commitment of $500. Membership recruitment continues into the summer. In the early fall, requests for proposals are circulated to hospital-based staff and physicians, who may collaborate with other community agencies on their funding request. The proposals are reviewed by steering committee members, who may conduct site visits and/or personal interviews to learn more about the programs. The funding recommendations are then sent to giving circle members for a vote in the first quarter of the new year.
The Annual Educational Event and Celebration
Each spring, WISH members and their guests gather to meet the grant recipients and learn more about their role as investors and philanthropists. They will also learn about health issues affecting women and children. The annual WISH event is designed to educate, empower and inspire.
Please Join Us!
WISH membership is open to women and men interested in supporting women’s and children’s health in our community. The annual membership fee is $500, and is fully tax-deductible as a contribution to the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation.
For more information, contact the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation at (541) 768-6129.
WISH Steering Committee
Beth Ray, Chair