Inner Circle - A community of support
Pat explains that it was in fact her friend Bev who encouraged her to join the Inner Circle. “I made many lasting friendships through my volunteer work with the YWCA,” says Pat. “Joining the Inner Circle was a way for me to connect with old friends and support the work of an organization that I dearly believe in.”
Formed in 1990, the YWCA Inner Circle is a group of women and men who donate $500 or more annually to the YWCA. “I’ve been a member for the better part of 10 years and it’s exciting to see more people involved,” states Mary Macdonald, a 64-year-old retiree. Indeed, the group has grown from the 18 original members to a group of over 260 dedicated donors today. Collectively they have raised over $1.7 million to support women, children and families at critical turning points in their lives.
A YWCA board member for five years, 27-year-old Suji Moon became involved with the Inner Circle when she saw an opportunity to bring the YWCA’s message to a more diverse audience. “I felt that the Inner Circle was a place where I could make the biggest impact,” Suji explains. Now in her third year of serving on the Inner Circle Committee, Suji says her goal of “growing the circle” is materializing. The Inner Circle is expanding to include more young men and women who are new donors and other new members who have given to the YWCA in different ways throughout their lifetime.
Suji, Mary and ten other YWCA Inner Circle Committee members work with YWCA staff to nurture the Inner Circle by organizing five annual events. Every event features a different YWCA program and includes program participants as guest speakers. “Inner Circle events recognize members for their commitment to the YWCA and show them how their valuable contributions touch the lives of women, children and families in need,” explains Fund Development Director Brenda Wadella. Members are encouraged to invite friends to the events, sharing with them the opportunity to learn about the YWCA and become Inner Circle members themselves.
Both Mary and Suji believe that contributing to the YWCA mirrors their personal beliefs, and the annual donations to the YWCA Inner Circle are critical to supporting YWCA programs that do not qualify for government or foundation funding. Mary acknowledges that becoming an annual donor is a big step. “When I initially joined the Inner Circle, I was a mother and $500 a year was a significant contribution. But I had been involved with the YWCA for some time and I trusted their ability to convert Inner Circle donations into meaningful and well-managed community investments.” At just over $1 a day, becoming an Inner Circle member is an affordable way to support YWCA programs and services.
Mary smiles when she explains that one of her duties is to phone each new member to thank them for joining. “Often times, I just leave a message. Occasionally, however, I reach a new member in person and have a heartfelt conversation.” Both Mary and Suji feel that it is this personal connection that draws in new members who are in search of a meaningful way to engage in their community.
Learn more about joining the Inner Circle.