The act of giving is very personal as we want to donate to organizations where we are passionate about their mission and purpose. For the Legacy Foundation, we have been fortunate to have so many IWF members who have generously donated through the years. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the stories of seven of our fellow IWF NorCal donors, who were also featured in our 2017 Annual Report. We hope you will enjoy reading their personal stories of “Why I Give."
Karen was a Founding Member of the Women’s Forum when it started in New York 39 years ago. At that point in Karen’s career, the Forum provided an intimate network of women leaders across the spectrum of business and the professions, education, non-profits and the arts, as well as writers and other thought leaders. Initially there were about 60 members and Karen describes its purpose was as much about being an old-fashioned support group as it was about networking... offering companionship, support and friendship for those women who found it hauntingly lonely as they moved into leadership positions at the top. In 2006, Karen, then retired, moved to San Francisco and immediately connected with the IWF NorCal community where she was welcomed with open arms and built lifelong friendships. “IWF sustains me in inexplicable ways.” Her appreciation of IWF NorCal, and particularly for the current work of Legacy, reflects her personal values of giving back and paying it forward through Legacy’s mission of identifying and helping organizations that help girls and women become successful.
Van was given the “gift of Legacy’s touch” through connecting with mentors and business colleagues as an IWF Fellow. These members took Van under their wings and mentored her during a critical time of her career. IWF helped Van “look ahead and helped decode what to expect in my career.” Today, she stays connected with her IWF mentors and all of her Fellows classmates. Prior to meeting IWF women, Van states that many of her interactions with other women were highly competitive. She found IWF women comfortable in their own skin and generous to other women. What inspires Van to give to Legacy is the “generosity of time” given to her through the years by IWF members and her desire to pay it forward. In her words, “The coaching I’ve received from IWF women has been supportive but direct. This advice led me to combine my vocation and avocation, which unleashed my career trajectory.”
Toni is one of the early leaders in IWF NorCal. At a time when there were very few women business executives, Toni and her women colleagues met for coffee to exchange ideas and provide support for each other. Ultimately, this group became Women’s Forum West, the predecessor to IWF NorCal. When the Legacy Foundation launched, Toni met the IWF fellows sponsored by Legacy and became inspired watching the young women professionals launching their careers. She has been an avid supporter of the Legacy Foundation and would like to see the Foundation focus on the challenging issues facing many women and girls in our communities, such as immigration and women “dreamers.” In her words, “Legacy is very worthy of support” and she encourages Legacy to persevere with its mission in these chaotic times of change.
Today, Judy’s connections with IWF NorCal remain steadfast and strong. Even though she currently lives in Oregon, she remains an IWF NorCal member and maintains her lifelong friendship with many of our members. Growing up in a small, agricultural community, Judy’s family never questioned that they needed to be an active part of the community. No matter where she lives, she is a participant in the local community—always giving back. She is excited about the current focus of Legacy—the Partnership Project started by Barbara Creed and Sue Sprunk. Judy is passionate about helping young women, saying “the earlier a girl learns the important skills, tools and to believe in herself, this will set the pattern of success for her life. We must challenge them to explore and understand the diversity of options before them.”
After joining IWF NorCal a few years ago, Loretta immediately sensed that IWF was a special group of women. In her words, “The friendships you see in IWF are longtime friendships—you can see the bonds. Being new, everyone has been so welcoming. It’s beyond business; these are personal friendships which I haven’t seen before in other organizations.” Loretta became immediately involved with the Legacy Foundation as a Year Up mentor and found that experience to be very rewarding. “It really showed that Legacy made a difference in the lives of these women. Legacy helps people connect and build relationships. I feel that good relationships are essential to success. For me, it’s all about building relationships and making other people’s lives better.”
Beth’s experience as an IWF Fellow created the foundation of her passion for IWF and the Legacy Foundation. Today, she remains connected with her Fellows classmates, keeping in touch regularly and meeting annually. Beth says, “There are many organizations you can get involved with, but IWF is special. Among my Fellows group, there are amazing women. There is so much diversity—across cultures and careers which range from entrepreneurs to family businesses. Through the years, we have shared life’s journey, not just our careers.” As a result, the Legacy Foundation has a special place in Beth’s heart. “We want to open up the Legacy experience to everyone—we must always be willing to give a hand, hold it out and help others.”
"Legacy is something we can be proud of." — Rebecca Barfknecht
Rebecca has been an active and visible IWF NorCal leader and currently serves on the IWF Global Board. Her first IWF experience began as an IWF Fellow. At the time, with a successful career in IT, Rebecca was comfortable working in male-dominated organizations and was not looking to join a women’s organization. As a Fellow, Rebecca realized what was missing in her life: having female professional colleagues who ultimately became “my friends, for life.” Rebecca believes this is what makes IWF so special and now has the opportunity to give back, through Legacy. In her words, “Legacy is something we can be proud of” and sees the future of Legacy as “even better.”