December 2021 Newsletter

The Link

December 2021

Reflections from Barbara Gaskin, Co-President

As my two-year term draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the TPC community for the honor of serving as President and Co-President. TPC is led and supported by a team of very talented women who make all that we accomplish possible. I’d like to thank the Board, Committee Chairs, and all the women who participate on committees and grant teams and volunteer so consistently for our grantees. Your ongoing commitment and involvement has been encouraging and inspiring. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you. 

The theme that emerged for me over the last two years has been “Out of challenges, opportunities arise.” Professionally and personally, it has been a difficult couple of years for everyone. But let’s take a moment to reflect on all that WE, collectively, have accomplished.

  • WE adapted to the online COVID world, leading to more robust meeting attendance with more geographically broad and diverse participants. The creative and powerful videos used at our Grants Award event were captivating. And all this with no traffic jams.  
  • WE launched the DEI spotlight, created the Statement of Solidarity, and led more than 50% of our members through the Racial Equity Challenge, deepening our understanding of structural racism. The impact of this initiative extends far beyond TPC, with numerous members extending the Challenge to their places of employment, book groups, churches, temples, and other nonprofits and community foundations with whom they are affiliated. We have much more to do but we have come a long way in our efforts to embed DEI throughout TPC.
  • WE developed, approved, and began to implement a new three-year strategic plan.
  • WE changed the structure of Board committees and the President’s role to a shared leadership model to ensure sustainability and minimize burnout.
  • WE revised our grants application process, carefully reviewing and questioning each step with an eye toward adhering to Trust-Based Philanthropy principles. The next challenge is to determine how to finance and issue multi-year grants.
  • WE launched the new TPC membership investment structure, opening the door to a more diverse, equitable TPC community. The success of this new structure is evident: we have gained many new members at every level, lapsed members have rejoined, and many members have increased their giving level. Happily, we are poised to potentially exceed our grant pool target. 

Next year will bring more exciting changes and new initiatives…I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings! Thank you again for your support and commitment and best wishes for a joyful holiday season. 


TPC Officers, Board of Directors, Resources

The TPC Board gathered in November for its Annual Meeting, which is focused largely on presenting and electing a slate of vetted candidates for Officer and Board of Director positions. Officers of the Corporation, who serve one-year terms beginning in January, include Co-President (2), Treasurer, and Clerk. We are pleased to announce that Bridget Dunn is returning for a second term as Co-President and will be joined by Leslie Levenson in that role; Cathy Konicki will serve a second term as Treasurer, and Cheryl Wakeham will serve a third term as clerk. Barbara Gaskin, who served as President in 2020 and Co-President in 2021, will continue to serve on the Board, completing her second three-year term in 2023. The Board will bid a fond farewell to Susan Benford, who served two consecutive three-years terms, most notably successfully guiding TPC as President for four years. Also stepping off the Board are Jennifer Angarita (a new baby and a new city) and Taurean Green (a new job and a new city). Each of these women contributed significantly to TPC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative and we are grateful for their service and dedication.

We are excited to welcome four new Board members – Valerie Godwhani, Kelsea Médard, Clare Rager, and Annemieke (Mieke) Rice – who will begin their terms in January. Each of these women has been involved with TPC via committee work and are looking forward to contributing to future initiatives. Please take a few minutes to meet these accomplished young women by reading their bios.

Finally, we have made several updates to the Members Only section of the website including a “Why We Do What We Do” section, which offers brief summaries of topics spanning our Liaison program to Governance. We have also added Committee Charter documents and our updated Bylaws. We hope you find this information helpful.


Membership Update

We are closing in on the end of our fiscal year, which will determine the size of our grantmaking pool. If you have not already done so, please renew today, recruit a new member, or consider an additional donation directly to the grant pool.


Grant Season Kicks Off!

‘Tis the season! TPC’s grant season is underway. Nonprofit organizations have begun submitting Letters of Intent and over the next several weeks our Eligibility Screeners will be reviewing them for distribution to grant teams. Amanda Klein is busy finalizing grant team assignments and trainings are being scheduled for this month and next for team leaders; grant teams will begin to meet in early January. If you signed up for a grant team, keep an eye out for your team assignment email over the next few weeks. Thanks to everyone who is investing time and energy in this exciting and important TPC grant review process. If you have any questions about the process, please email Amanda.

Upcoming Education and Volunteer Events

Have you ever missed one of our Dialogues and wished you’d been there? Many are recorded and available to view under “Past Virtual Events” on our website. Coming soon is “Why Is Citizenship Important?” with Dr. Mitra Shavarini, Executive Director of Project Citizenship, and “The Systemic Struggle for Food and Housing,” a conversation between Linda Zimmerman, Executive Director of Neighbors in Need, and Yesenia Gil, Executive Director of Bread & Roses Housing. Our next Dialogue will be held in February…stay tuned for details.

Help Wanted: Looking for a new way to get involved with TPC? The Education Committee needs one or two women to lead a Book Club this spring. We have a book list to choose from and will guide you through the specifics of hosting a virtual discussion. Please contact Osa Osagie or Jenny Morrison if you are interested in learning more.

Volunteer Opportunities! TPC members continue to shine as volunteer opportunities with our grantees arise. Please see the Member Impact section below for current opportunities to support our grantees.

Grantee Impact: Bread & Roses Housing

Liaisons: Valerie Godwhani and Mary Laplante

The mission of Bread & Roses Housing is to enable low-resource families who otherwise could not afford to buy a home to become first-time homeowners, lifting themselves and future generations of their family out of poverty by creating and preserving access to affordable housing units in the Greater Lawrence area. (Read more…)

Member Impact: Dignity Matters + Two

Did you know that lack of menstrual products can cause women to miss work or school? These items are rarely donated and cannot be purchased with food stamps. Twelve TPC members recently spent a morning packaging and sorting feminine products and bras for grantee Dignity Matters. One TPC member even decided to join DM’s personalized package delivery team!

Space is still available to volunteer for this important work on Thursday, January 27 from 10:00 to noon. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Leslie Levenson to sign up or receive more details.

Looking for other ways to help? Neighbors in Need operates 9 food pantries in the Greater Lawrence area, helping to meet the food needs of 850 families each week. Volunteers are needed at the Lawrence Warehouse to assemble food pantry bags for distribution. Sign up to volunteer on your own or look for a TPC volunteer day after the holidays.

RESPOND partners with individuals, families, and communities to end the serious public health issue of domestic violence. Please consider purchasing items from RESPOND’s Amazon Holiday Wishes List.

DEI Spotlight
Diversity | Equity | Inclusion

End of year giving, often kicking off with Giving Tuesday campaigns and culminating in year-end appeals, is an expected part of the giving cycle for donors and fundraisers alike. Statistics suggest that nearly 31% of annual giving occurs in December with 12% of all giving happening in the last 3 days of the year (Nonprofit Tech for Good), and about a quarter of nonprofits raise between 26-50% of their annual budgets from their year-end ask (Nonprofit Hub).

In the last 2 years, changes to fundraising-as-usual have been forced by COVID-19, the necessity and urgency of applying both a social and racial justice lens to work that hadn’t previously benefited from these perspectives, and a growing recognition of the role of fundraising and philanthropy in the nonprofit world.

During this time, ideas on how this fundraising might evolve, and whether the as-is approach, including Giving Tuesday and year-end asks, have gained more widespread attention. One such example is Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF), which has its roots in conversations from 2015, became a 501c3 in 2018, and celebrated its 1-year anniversary in August 2021.

CCF’s core principles align with TPC’s in a few ways: for TPC a renewed focus on equity and social justice, a value for the collective and collaborative, time valued as much as money, and donors (in TPC’s case members) as partners. To find out more about CCF, please visit their website.

Want to share feedback, ideas, or resources? Please email us directly at:

The Philanthropy Connection’s mission is to inspire and enable a community of women to learn, grow, and engage in collective giving to support nonprofit organizations that address systemic inequities impacting individuals and families within the greater Boston area.

Phone: 617-544-7812

TPC members include all women who identify as cisgender, transgender, agender, gender queer, and femme. TPC welcomes everyone for whom “woman” is a meaningful identifier or experience.

TPC qualifies as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) for US tax purposes. Our EIN is #46-0665444.