May 5 was a “Day of Giving” for participants of the Center for Technology & Business Women’s Leadership Program. Armed with $100 in seed money each, this group of 19 women was challenged to grow the funds in a philanthropic project of their choice for the Bismarck-Mandan community. They broke off into smaller teams and had seven weeks to find a cause and determine the best way to give back.
On May 5 the groups headed out to deliver their surprise donations to a variety of organizations. Recipients included Tracy’s Sanctuary House, Carrie’s Kids, Missouri Valley Family YMCA Parkinson’s Wellness Program, Hope Manor, Morton Mandan Public Library, Designer Genes, Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue, Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue, and Welcome House. In total, the groups gave $36,856.27 in cash donations and in-kind contributions to area organizations.
With a variety of causes and individual skillsets, each team took a different approach and used their own unique methods to pay it forward in the community. From a “Whiskers and Wine” adoption event and trivia fundraisers to pet photos, shoe drives and partnerships with local restaurants, each project brought awareness and much needed financial support to local organizations and those they serve.
Nicole Perreault and Rachel Ripplinger raised funds through corporate “jeans days” to support Tracy’s Sanctuary House, a temporary home for families with loved ones hospitalized far from home. The non-profit was established by the family of Tracy Rittel after a tragic car accident in 2004 left her family 200 miles from home needing time and a private place to grieve and make arrangements after losing their loved one. Tracy’s daughter, Kelsey, was one of those family members and is a 2015 graduate of the Women’s Leadership Program. The money raised by Nicole and Rachel will help with replacing windows in the house as well as to update the website for Tracy’s Sanctuary to begin accepting online donations.
In addition to raising direct cash donations, Bethany Stockdill and Tonya Holmstrom collected in-kind donations of new exercise equipment and sporting goods for the Parkinson’s Wellness Program at the Missouri Valley Family YWCA. The free group exercise classes help individuals with Parkinson’s to focus on small, controlled arm and leg movements to counteract symptoms of the disease. The women got to experience a class first hand and met with participants to better understand their needs and how they could help.
“Since 2012, the Women’s Leadership Program has raised over $200,000 of cash and in-kind donations for the Bismarck Mandan communities. I’m extremely proud and impressed with what the women are able to do for their communities in such a short amount of time.” Stated Deb Eslinger, executive director of Center for Technology & Business. “The project is introduced as a ‘philanthropy challenge’ and each of these women have met and exceeded the expectations of the challenge, they work on these projects with the passion and commitment of true leaders and are shining examples of what each of us can do when we’re willing to address a challenge head on.”
The Women’s Leadership Program is a six month program dedicated to expanding the professional, personal, community and health leadership skills for women of all ages. The program will wrap up with a luncheon and graduation ceremony on June 16. The public is invited to attend and can purchase tickets to the luncheon at www.trainingnd.com or call 701-223-0707.
Center for Technology & Business serves as the women’s business center for North Dakota and grows North Dakota’s economy by helping small business owners succeed through training, technology and business development. Their programming develops leaders, builds rural communities and mentors women business owners.