Mentors for All

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I would take this time to highlight some amazing teachers making a difference all over the world.  Today I want to share about the United Ways Women of Philanthropy Fund. Last week I attended their 10th Annual Women’s Philanthropy Fund Breakfast in Orange County, California.

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This groups mission is to be the most powerful voice of philanthropy for women in Orange County.  Since the Women’s Philanthropy Fund Breakfast began in 2004, the breakfast recognizes the power of women philanthropists and, to date, has raised more than $1.4 million for local programs. Through a unique grant process aimed to achieve the strongest impact, with advisement from Women’s Philanthropy Fund members, proceeds from the breakfast help to build self-sufficient lives by supporting basic needs programs, education programs, and financial stability programs for women and girls.

This years keynote speaker was social entrepreneur Connie K. Duckworth who founded ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari.  She began her journey in 2004 to empower destitute women weavers in rural Afghanistan and now serves pro bono as Chairman and CEO.

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As a mother of 4, Ms. Duckworth had me at hello.  Her story inspired me so much that I could have jumped on a plane that morning to Afghanistan.  Starting with 30 weavers, ARZU has transformed into a learning laboratory for holistic grassroots economic development—today employing some 700 women, providing access to education and basic healthcare, seeding multiple micro-business start-ups, building community centers, pre-schools and parks, and creating award-winning fair-labor rugs—all in a country ranked as “the world’s worst place to be a woman.”  Enjoy more in this LA Times article.

In addition to designing rugs, Duckworth has created Peace Cord®, hand-woven bracelets.  What a great gift for your girlfriends or daughters, all while supporting the empowerment of other women.

Ms. Duckworth retired in 2001 as a Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, the first woman to be named a sales and trading partner in the firm’s history.  For the past decade, she has focused her business lens in many roles as a corporate director, published author, activist, angel-investor, humanitarian, and blogger.  She is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership, advocacy, social impact, innovation and global presence and is the happily married mother of four.  Ms. Duckworth holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from the University of Texas.

I salute you Ms. Duckworth- keep on inspiring, teaching and guiding all of us!

 

 

 

 

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