Letter: Women Are Changing Fundraising Paradigm, Too

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Audrey Alvarado's article ("Clash of Cultures or Learning Opportunity?" Jan. 31) offered some excellent insights on new wealth and the changing fundraising paradigm. Another group of potential funders is women. As women gather personal wealth - through self-employment, rising salaries and inheritance - they are becoming recognized as an increasingly important force in philanthropy.

A new study by the National Foundation For Women Business Owners shows that accomplished women business owners and corporate executives are independent, decisive and generous philanthropists. Fully 74 percent of those surveyed created their personal wealth on their own, and 84 percent make their philanthropic decisions independently - regardless of marital status.

More than half of those surveyed donate $25,000 or more annually to charitable organizations, and 19 percent donate $100,000 or more. These businesswomen are motivated to give organizations that support issues that they are passionate about. In addition, the survey shows that they expect the organizations that they support financially to be well run. It is important for fundraisers to keep in mind that those who participated in this survey are not concerned with garnering recognition for their philanthropy. In fact, 40 percent prefer not to be recognized at all for a "significant" contribution.

The survey, "Philanthropy Among Business Women of Achievement," sponsored by Merrill Lynch, is based on a survey of members of The Committee of 200, an organization of business women who own companies with revenues in excess of $15 million, or manage divisions of U.S. corporations that generate a minimum of $100 million annually.

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