Interview with Meryl Glassman, Development Director, and Maureen Winkler-Belger, Foundation Relations Officer
Dignity Matters (DM) currently serves 10,000 women and girls monthly and is often the only reliable source of menstrual products and underwear for the population it supports. By working through organizations that already know the needs of this group and having earned their trust, DM removes an additional barrier for the women and girls it serves.
Can you share a story about how DM’s work has impacted an individual, family, or community?
Maureen recounted a story of a single father with teenage daughters who received a variety of services from Family Aid Boston. While he was grateful for the food, housing, and other help, he said the most important things he collected each month were the free menstrual products that were provided by DM, which helped his daughters stay in school and participate fully in life. While most people think about women when they contemplate the necessity and value of menstrual products, men also appreciate the important role these items play. No federal or state programs (SNAP or WIC) currently cover the high cost of sanitary products.
What is the most gratifying part of your work? Is there an example that stands out for you?
Although Meryl previously worked in development for bigger companies, she loves the impact that DM has on the many people it serves. Women comprise roughly half the world population and deal with menstruation. Because DM is the largest nonprofit in Massachusetts with period poverty as its singular mission, the work matters. Meryl noted, “The small but mighty force of the DM team knows that if they aren’t raising more money so they can buy more sanitary products and undergarments, who will?”
Both Meryl and Maureen feel a sense of urgency and desire to work hard each day to make the lives of girls and women easier and to help them live with dignity and peace of mind.
Has DM has grown since its founding in 2016?
DM has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2016. As you can see below, the increase in the number of items distributed has been truly explosive.
How has TPC’s grant helped during the pandemic?
DM has received two consecutive grants from TPC, with the funds providing essential services during the pandemic. The first grant funded the acquisition of more warehouse space at its Framingham location where products could be stored, sorted, and distributed. The need for sanitary products and undergarments skyrocketed during Covid and DM delivered. Its programming and distribution grew by 33% in 2021 and provided over 1,897,000 menstrual care items.
The second grant helped fill a staffing position, the Program Outreach Manager, who in responsible for overseeing all volunteers. Although it is hard to imagine given the number of products distributed, DM has only 3.5 full-time equivalents, so volunteers comprise most of its workforce. During the pandemic, volunteers basically stopped coming so the new position made possible by TPC’s grant offered stable and reliable support to the organization.
DM literally would not have been able to expand its distribution to meet the needs of so many women and girls without the two TPC grants.
How can TPC members support DM’s work?
There are basically three ways to help DM.
- Forward/share news to spread the word about DM.
- Support/spread the news about upcoming Mother’s Day Campaign.
- Host a donation drive.
- Donate products/give via Amazon Wish List.
- Lobby for the “I AM” Bill.
- Volunteer directly.
- 75% of items distributed are donated so cash/stock gifts are essential.
- Please consider support upcoming Mother’s Day Campaign (runs from April 8 to May 1).
- Our Virtual Auction will be held in September with the goal of raising $45,000.
Please consider being a sponsor or auction item donor.