LIFTing Up Culver’s Women: New Focus Group Hopes to Offer Local Women a Range of Support

March, 2011
The Board of Directors of the Marshall County Community Foundation has announced the estalblishment of a new permanent endowment fund and the first affinity group associated with the MCCF. An affinity group is a collection of individuals who work together to support a common cause.

Started by 16 Culver-area women, the LIFT Endowment Fund Agremeent was signed during a ceremony on February 25. Known as the LIFT Group, the women hope to use their skills, talent, and friendship to lift other women to success, as LIFT is an acronym for Lending Inspirational Friendship Together.

The LIFT Group is a voluntary association of women who desire to collectively support the advancement of women in the Culver area through mentoring, volunteering, and financial resources. This donor-advised fund will allow the group to support women in the Culver area to succeeed in both their personal and professional lives. The group’s ultimate goal is to help women who can then later join the LIFT Group.

Says member Ginny Munroe, “We thought that if you could gather a group of women who could leverage each of their skill sets and experience, you could help other women in a way that could make a difference. In doing so, that woman you help would be of help to her children — if she has children — and eventually, she would be of help to others. We liked the idea of someone we help joining the group to eventually pay forward the help she received.”

Munroe says members saw a need to “reach women who are on the edge of succeeding themselves or falling through the cracks by providing them specific ways of succeeding and by providing a support system. We talked about how it is easy to write a check when helping others, but it might be so much more powerful an experience if you could couple that financial help with one-on-one interaction with the woman and if you could leverage the group’s experience and skills when doing that. And, we thought it would be the type of experience that could be done through friendship.”

The LIFT Fund is the first affinity endowment fund at MCCF, and President and CEO of MCCF Jennifer S. Maddox is excited to be a member of this new affinity fund, which was inspired by board member Carolyn J. Kline. This fund is the culmination of hard work starting in the fall of 2010.

Munroe explains LIFT may be able to offer financial support to women seeking to continue their education while possibly raising children on their own or while working a full-time job, but “we might also help the woman who needs a support system that extends beyond her own family and friends.”

“We realized that among us,” she adds, “we have various skills. For example, Jennifer has a finance background and can help a woman manage a budget or determine what she needs to do to establish a budget. My background as a business owner might help a woman start her own business or teach her about how to obtain a job and grow with a company or through her education. Our earliest conversations about this lead us to the concept that we could use our skills to help someone who might not have those skills or access to them.”

The MCCF is a public charity with local roots that help great ideas take flight through endowment philanthropy. Its mission is to serve all of Marshall County, its people, and its future through the growth and administration of endowment funding and philanthropy.

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