The impact of gender and generation on philanthropy

May 06, 2021

This is the first article in a special series from the staff at the Community Foundation honoring Mother-figures in their lives. By Contributing Editor: Brynne Bartiromo
Marketing & Communication Associate, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to take a moment to share a personal story about someone who has influenced my role as a young woman working in the nonprofit sector, and who helped emphasize the importance of women in philanthropy.

I grew up watching my mother dedicate her time and contribute to organizations that were working to make a difference in our world, and I knew that I wanted to do the same. Growing up, my mother (featured with me in the photograph above) empathized the importance of immersing myself in my community and surrounding myself with people who are dedicated to bettering the world.

She would often say “reach out your hand often for others to better understand how you fit into the world around you. By doing that, you will learn so much about how the world works.” She also shared powerful stories of the many women in her life who intentionally supported other women. When she talked about these things, it always had a big impact on me.

Guided by Influence

Fellow students and I attend a Fairfield University community cleanup service trip

This influence stuck with me as I grew older. During my studies at Fairfield University, I participated in various volunteer opportunities that helped reaffirm the fact that simple actions can have a big impact. Each opportunity helped me to develop new skills, discovering new passions, and learn more about my community and others around me. Now, as a young woman working in the nonprofit sector, it excites me that women are, and have been, creating and leveraging new ways to give back.

In my work at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, I’ve witnessed women – including donors, colleagues, and partners – leverage their own ideas and passions to increase impact. I find it truly inspiring to hear stories and collaborate with women who are strengthening the places we call home.

Reflecting back and looking forward with hope

I, like many other young people, was influenced and embraced the learnings that were passed down by previous generations. The giving behaviors that I had inherited from my mother strongly influence me today. The experiences that she shared, and my own participation working in the nonprofit sector have all reinforced the fact that caring about your community and the people who live in it is meaningful. I’m continuing to learn – first-hand – that women and girls are powerful agents of change, and there are many people and organizations working to help fulfill destinies.

As I reflect back and look forward with hope, my personal perspective is that women are working diligently to uphold those around us. They are leading conversations around giving within their families, passing down their insights to their children, who are in turn, using those learnings to help lead philanthropy in new directions. And I am inspired every day by women who are embracing their power and their ability to make a difference.

At Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, our Fund for Women & Girls invests in sustainable solutions that support the safety, health, and economic security of women and girls across our region. Click here to learn more about how to get involved.