5th Mar 2018

Left to right, Laura Seebohm (Changing Lives), Sandra King and Fiona Cruickshank (Community Foundation)

On Friday 2 March 2018, in spite of snow and difficult conditions, over 220 women from the North East’s private, public and voluntary sectors joined in solidarity to celebrate Women in Philanthropy with the Community Foundation. The event was sponsored by Rathbone Investment Management and the Crowne Plaza – Newcastle Stephenson Quarter.

Established as the premier networking lunch in recognition of International Women’s Day, the Community Foundation and its guests raised over £10,000 for the Women’s Fund, including a crowd raised grant of £2,000 to regional charity Changing Lives, for its ‘Being, becoming, belonging’ project tackling sexual exploitation of women in the North East.

“We are strong women and we are not going to let a bit of snow spoil our lunch are we?” said Sandra King, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Community Foundation and compere of the event. Setting a resilient tone for the afternoon, guests met to recognise the importance of women in philanthropy and the impact that this had had on life in North East England.

Sandra added: “As part of the centenary of Women’s Suffrage it is important to remember the roots behind this movement and the role of philanthropy, an area where women had some control, and could give their time organising activities and volunteer.”

“This coming together preceded the suffragette movement and may well have played a part in empowering them to take that next step. Today we ask you to take that next step as a member of modern day society."

Fiona Cruickshank, Chair of the Community Foundation echoed these sentiments and added, “We need more philanthropists and activists of change and ask you to pledge your support for local women through the Women’s Fund or to give time through the TrusteeMatch initiative at the Community Foundation. Together, we can change the world on our doorstep.”

In an open plea for support, Laura Seebohm, Operational Director at Changing Lives, spoke passionately about how the charity supports victims of sexual exploitation with its three-step programme “Being, becoming, belonging”.

Project workers, Luisa Alvarez and Laura McIntyre explained how they are helping victims of sexual exploitation lead strong and independent lives: “It builds up that positive trust and relationship that they’ve never had before, in order to say ‘Do you know what? I’m ready to make some changes and address some of my emotional and mental health concerns.”.

Over the course of the afternoon, over £10,000 was successfully raised for the Women’s Fund, with a special grant of £2,000 raised at the event for Changing Lives to continue their project and help more women in need. “We all look out for each other” said Luisa in summary of Changing Lives, an ethos held firmly by guests of the lunch.

Introducing Changing Lives, a beneficiary of the Women's Fund

To pledge your support for Women’s Fund this International Women’s Day visit http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/givingandphilanthropy/collective-giving/womens-fund/

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