Four Great Ways To Give This Season

DNOTreeWebHappiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give ― Ben Carson
For many of us, this time of year revolves around parties, shopping, gifts, and spending time with friends and family. In the quest to find the perfect gift or attend the next party many of us can lose sight of what’s truly important. While we focus on, “Holly, jolly, and bright,” many women see today as just another struggle.
As women, it’s imperative that we work together to create a better world, and in just looking around it’s apparent that there is no shortage of targets that need improvement.**
All the power in the world means nothing unless we use it to help others. I firmly believe that the best focus for helping the world this holiday season is to lift up women and girls. While we are focused on giving, sharing, and caring this season, we need to take the hand of one of our sisters and do what we can to help them along. A huge act or donation of time, treasure, or talent isn’t required to make a difference. Little things add up to a lot.
‘Tis the season to ring that bell, serve that food or deliver those meals, so reach out to help someone else.

  • Shop Smarter – whether it’s buying gifts from a female owned business or looking for ways to support female empowerment through your purchases, you can make your dollars count this season. Look for opportunities to support women in your area. Huffington Post recently rounded up some presents you can give loved ones this season that benefit women around the world.
  • Support A Charity – is there a charity you would like to support? Now is the perfect time to make a donation. A donation to a worthy cause that will directly benefit women and girls is always welcome. Also, in many areas you can “adopt” a family for the holidays and help with the purchase of a holiday meal, necessities, and even wish-list gifts. If you don’t have the means to adopt a family, call the charity and volunteer your time sorting donations, serving meals, or delivering baskets. You can also volunteer your talent by helping them in other ways. Charities value all of the ways we can help them, and all of our donations help them expand the ways they can help others.
  • Mentor – is there a woman in your life that could benefit from a mentor relationship? Could you help her grow in the workplace or community? Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and helping them with their own experience, and through mentoring relationships, helping women step into their own power. The best part is, the benefits of mentoring go both ways. The holidays are the perfect time to reach out and develop a relationship.
  • Reach Out – is there a woman in your life that is suffering this season? Has she recently gone through a loss or divorce? Or maybe she has a schedule that doesn’t permit travel? If there’s a woman in your life that is hurting or lonely, reach out and invite her to lunch, or to celebrate the season with you in some other way. Helping her will not only make you feel better, it will make you grateful for your challenges and opportunities.

It is important, especially during the holidays, to reach out to other women. Each of us needs to support other women everywhere – in our homes, workplace, community, nation, and the world. None of us are as creative, skilled, and powerful as we are together. There is a deep satisfaction and meaning that comes from helping others, so this season, wherever your passion lies, reach out and help make a difference in our world.
** Targets that need improvement: I don’t mean to depress you because of course you already know all this, but just for the record – the majority of women in the world are denied education, freedom from violence, economic security, and a voice in their communities. In fact, equality for many of the world’s women is still firmly set in the Dark Ages. Here in the U.S. poverty continues to be a women’s issue. Nearly six in ten poor adults are women, and nearly six in ten poor children live in families headed by women. Poverty rates are especially high for single mothers, women of color, and elderly women living alone. Women also still earn less than men and are bringing in only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, fill few government leadership roles, occupy less than 20 percent of corporate C-level jobs, and in their “personal time” assume the bulk of the responsibility for household and family chores. In all walks of life, many women struggle for equality, parity, education, and support on a daily basis.

Women Connect to Change the World

Linda Rendleman, Author, Speaker, PhilanthropistLinda Rendleman is excited about where the new women’s movement is going today. Finally, she says, women are discovering who they really are, instead of trying to be what someone else wants them to be. Linda is a shining example of a dedicated woman who took the challenges life gave her and turned them into opportunities.
As a young single mother, Linda realized that she would never have the white picket fence, or greet her husband in pearls and high heels. She used her college skills and built a career supporting women by writing and speaking. But her true mission in life was to support women philanthropically and help them make the world a better place to live.

Early Successes Connecting Women

Linda and a friend published one of the first hometown magazines for women in the country and broadcasted radio and television shows. In 2000, while the Internet was quite new, she started an online business networking company for women, in Indianapolis. Then cancer got the upper hand and she had to give up many things, including her foundation, but she won the battle and wrote her first book five years later.

Women Like Us Foundation

With her first book her dream of philanthropically helping women returned and the Women Like Us Foundation became a reality. The foundation does fundraising, provides volunteers who travel overseas and supports women changing the world. Linda urges everyone working with a women’s charities to check out to see if it might be able to help them further their work.

How Women Like Us Find and Implement Their Passion

leading-women-cover-150Linda’s favorite phrase about women is, “Our stories are singular, but our passions are shared.” That is why she has focused on connecting women and advising and supporting them in her work.
Her chapter in Leading Women comes from her most recent book, Women Like Us Illuminating the World. It’s called, “Poise, The Final Ingredient.” Linda believes that for women to find their passion and take action, they must ultimately discover who they truly are. She describes that process in her chapter and how her own journey led her to write and begin her foundation to support other women’s passion to change the world.

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Reaching Out to Help Returning Women Veterans

Our-House-FoundationWhen Dr. Rita Spilken realized there would be a “human tsunami” of veterans returning from war zones in 2005 who would need help with health issues, especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST), she started the Our House Foundation (OHF). Since then the foundation has served about 600 military personnel and their families.
With the wars continuing, the needs of returning veterans have become widely known and addressed through numerous wounded warrior programs. While OHF continues with counseling and other established programs, the foundation has decided to start a special program called, “The Athena Project” to specifically address the ever-growing aftermath of military sexual assault.
The VA reports that one in three women and one in five men have been sexually assaulted by a comrade in arms. These statistics are followed by another, equally shocking, fact – female veterans have become the fastest growing population of the homeless community throughout the US.

The Athena Project Helps Returning Women Vets Transition Back into Society

Athena Project to support Women VeteransBesides continuing to raise awareness of PTSD and MST, Our House Foundation is focused on raising funds to build a state-of-the-art reintegration facility in the heartland of America. The purpose of the facility is to enable female veterans from around the country to receive the help and treatment they deserve and need.
Through donations, sponsorships and grants, the facility will offer full range of health services and evaluations, neurological testing, individual and family psychotherapy, wellness activities and opportunities for women to learn new skills to accommodate employment opportunities.

From Combat Boots to Heels Life Expo

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Joining Community Forces and Our House Foundation will present a Life Expo at The Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Ave. in Springfield, Missouri.
The 2014 National Champion JROTC all Female Color Guard will kick off the event, followed by numerous speakers about programs for veterans and a demonstration by Harken Kennels of service dogs for service members. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend to find out more about The Athena Project and the numerous ways we can support and honor our women veterans. Click here for the Our House Foundation contact information.

Leading Women Co-Author Writes on “Day Of The Girl Child”

RebeccaTinsley1Leading Woman co-author Rebecca Tinsley recently wrote in the Huffington Post about Mary, a ten-year-old girl in northern Uganda who was not aware the International Day of the Girl Child was October 11. Mary was not celebrating, she was in fact was being assaulted by a man who held her against her will for three days. The plight of Mary is not unusual; instead it reflects the low status of woman and girls in many traditional societies. It also highlights the powerlessness of children, as perceived by those who abuse them with impunity.
Rebecca writes, “The International Day of the Girl Child is on a par with the worthy treaties some world leaders sign and then fail to implement. 190 governments have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Children. Yet, each year three million girls in Africa alone are subject to female genital mutilation. Too many nations also turn a blind eye to the 15 million girls each year – some as young as 5 – forced into early marriage”

Working to Bring Positive Solutions To Heartbreaking Assaults on Girls And Women

A former BBC reporter and human rights activist, Rebecca founded Network for Africa to help survivors of war and genocide rebuild their lives. Network for Africa has schools and clinics in Rwanda and Uganda, and focuses on the survivors of African conflicts left behind by the world after the fighting stops and the humanitarian aid moves on. Ultimately, Network for Africa helps rebuild lives by providing people with access to education, health and the means to support themselves. Tinsley’s group is one of many doing good work in these ravaged areas, and in Huffington Post she mentions several other organizations working to bring positive solutions to heartbreaking assaults on girls and women worldwide.

To Make Long Lasting Change Empower Local Women

Through the years, Tinsley has realized that that the way to make long lasting change is to empower local women rather than simply deliver aid. Her long history of journalistic reporting and philanthropy in Africa have convinced her that cruel traditions that harm women and girls must be changed, and by working together we can change the balance of power that burdens women so unfairly.
Read more at Huffington Post.
Rebecca is one of 20 smart amazing co-authors of our new book, scheduled for release December 5, Leading Women: 20 Successful Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. Rebecca learned about the needs of the survivors of genocide in the refugee camps and told their stories through a powerful novel, When the Stars Fall to Earth, A Novel of Africa.

Articles of Interest:

What Can We Do To Change Men’s Unhelpful Behaviors?
Empowering Women Around The World

Women Redefine Sex, Money and Power

Co-Author Leading Women

Joanna L. Krotz

From women and giving to women entrepreneurship, Joanna L. Krotz has always advocated for change, delivering messages to help women empower themselves through effective use of their power and money. Founder of Muse2Muse Productions and The Woman’s Playbook, Joanna uses multi-media to share successful women’s stories that inspire and educate others.
As a broadcast on iTunes, and soon to become a book, “The Woman’s Playbook” features women entrepreneurs who make their ideas work in the marketplace. The media fosters stereotypical models of successful entrepreneurs along the lines of Silicone Valley’s Mark Zuckerberg. Women entrepreneurs start more businesses than any other segment of the population, yet only 6% of startups make a million dollars. That’s why Joanna advises people to ignore the media hype and focus on their mission.

“Being Equal Doesn’t Mean Being the Same.”

Being equal doesn’t mean being the same is Joanna’s main message. She became impatient with women not reaching equality while working as an editor for numerous magazines. Women and men do not want the same things and have very different work styles. In 2002 she started her own venture, supporting women and showing them how to use their own skills and rely on themselves to fund their future. Her book, The Guide to Intelligent Giving: Make a Difference in the World and in Your Own Life, encouraged women to own their wealth and use it to make fulfilling choices.
In The Woman’s Playbook, Joanna focuses on women’s strengths of multi-tasking and flexibility to show how women fit uniquely into today’s working environment. She points out how more free agents, contractors and people working from several different locations have created more lateral work situations replacing the old hierarchical structure. She says that women work much better with that kind of flexibility than men do, because they are used to more fluid roles and moving back and forth from family to work.
Technology makes it easy for women to try out a new business. Joanna calls it the Goldilocks Syndrome or the “just right job.” A woman may have a successful corporate career, but it may not fit her need to care for her family or fulfill her sense of accomplishment. So she may take on a single client. When or if that works out, she takes the next step. Joanna says for many women, it’s like walking through an open door, rather than making a plan. All it takes is opening up to being in charge of your own financial future.

Stories that Redefine Sex and Power for Women

leading-women-cover-150Joanna and Dr. Nancy discuss Joanna’s chapter in Leading Women, “Redefining Sex and Power: How Women Can Bankroll Change and Fund their Future.” In her chapter, Joanna explains the gender difference about attitudes towards money. Joanna also points out that women react very differently when they are asked to give their time or treasures. Men will give to someone they play golf with knowing the person and the cause, but women are reluctant. When women are in upper management or sit on a board, that corporation usually gets much more involved in charitable activities.

Listen to More Empowering Stories

The Woman’s Playbook, the book is soon to be released. But you can listen anytime to weekly stories of successful women on iTunes. Check out for more information. And you can read more about Joanna and her chapter full of empowering stories intelligent giving advice in Leading Women.


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Empowerment and Healing Through Bonding with a Horse

BraveHearts horse and young clientThe power of the horse to heal the human spirit is a realization made by anyone who has had the privilege to experience the connection with this amazing animal. Dr. Nancy O’Reilly experienced it for herself and recently met and interviewed Meggan Hill-McQueeney, the COO of BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center, located in near Chicago, Illinois.

BraveHearts’ mission is “Bringing hope, joy and unlimited possibilities through the healing power of the horse.”

BraveHearts is the largest equine-assisted program in the country. It helps the greatest numbers of veterans and also serves hundreds of children from two-years-old through adulthood and into hospice care, including various diagnoses, such as autism, paraplegic conditions and a full range of physical and mental health conditions all of which benefit from therapy with horses. Watch this feature from NBC affiliate, Channel 13 on U-Tube.

The Miracle Cure that Started BraveHearts

horse and founder of BraveHearts

Max and Marge Tautkus Gunnar

Marge Tautkus Gunnar attributes her “statistical cure” from ovarian cancer largely to her connection to her beloved Lipizzan stallion, “Max.” One day when she entered his stall, he seemed to ask where she had been. She threw her arms around his neck and he responded by wrapping his neck around hers and squeezing. This powerful emotional bond with Max gave Marge the purpose she needed to survive cancer and, six years later, to enable others to feel the healing and strength she received from Max.
She volunteered at a therapeutic riding center and saw for herself the life-changing effects: children talked for the first time, autistic children became more focused, and how people confined to wheelchairs looked down with confidence from a horse. She felt this was the true reason God had brought beautiful horses into her life and helped her survive a catastrophic illness.
On this act of faith, she founded BraveHearts in 2003, with no property or horses. It became a 501c3, non-profit corporation in 2004 and has grown ever since into the premier riding center, continually searching for more ways to  help people heal, grow, learn and find peace through working with horses.

Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies at BraveHearts

Bravehearts-4When Meggan Hill-McQueeney joined BraveHearts in 2010, she brought with her a Master Level Instructor Certification by the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH). Meggan explains the various benefits of working with a horse in terms of either “hippotherapy”or “therapeutic riding.” Both have similar benefits, but hippotherapy is used by a licensed therapist to help the client improve her ability to function in every day life, while therapeutic riding has more recreational and competitive goals.
Meggan says that a horse provides a multi-dimensional movement: forward to back, side to side and rotational movement that makes it an excellent tool to increase a person’s core strength, control their body, balance and mid-line orientation. It also improves muscle-tone and respiratory function. In fact, riding a horse simulates human ambulation. Even if a person cannot walk, they can develop the muscle tone through riding. Of course, when a rider begins to feel confident on a horse, it increases feelings of independence and self-confidence. Even communication skills can be improved on a horse. Listen to this clip from Meggan’s interview with Dr. Nancy.

Meggan is also a Special Olympics coach and helps Bravehearts host the equine Special Olympics tournament, where mentally challenged participants are able to compete in front of thousands of people every year.

Horse training

Foundation Horsemanship in the Round Pen

Serving Veterans and Their Families

BraveHearts works with VA hospitals from all over the country, providing free therapy to veterans and their families. Veterans benefit from doing everything associated with horses. They work with a horse in a round pen and learn from the horse’s attitude toward them if they are communicating agitation associated with PTSD or some other emotion they aren’t aware of.

Veterans standing horses with BraveHearts and U.S. flags

Veterans Drill Team

There are veteran drill teams that perform in horse shows throughout the country.Even the farm has a calming effect on veterans and their families. BraveHearts hosts retreats for families, carriage riding for those who cannot ride horseback and other services. Many veterans return to Bravehearts as volunteers and work in the barns and do other work to support the work with horses.

Ways to Support Bravehearts

Actress and horse activist Betty White

Betty White visits BraveHearts

Working with horses is therapeutic for both the volunteers and the students. Just one horse takes a lot of support. BraveHearts continues to add horses to their stables and programs to help people heal and develop.
They recently purchased mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management and added proofing a horse to their curriculum. Bringing a horse from a wild state to bridle and saddle provides a learning experience for the horse and the person learning to train it.

BraveHearts Farm

20 acre farm near Harvard, Illinois

Donations to Bravehearts are tax deductible. Visit their website and see the many ways you can help.

Convoy of Hope Increases Women Empowerment in Ethiopia

Ethiopian women in meetingConvoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program in Ethiopia has improved the lives of 1,000 women and their families since it began in 2010. Dr. Nancy is a major sponsor of the Ethiopian program. In February 2014 a group of 20 supporters, family members and staff traveled from Springfield Missouri, the headquarters of Convoy of Hope, to learn about the empowerment program and to meet some participants.

“We opened it up to families this time,” says Convoy of Hope’s Development Director Jaimie Trussell, “so we even had a few kids with us.

At left, women attend a program meeting.


Ethiopian Women in bakery“The folks who attended were interested in our Women’s Empowerment Program, where we give women a means to break the cycle of poverty,” Trussell says. “They get 10 weeks of training and graduate equipped with a skill set, a trade and the capital necessary to thrive as small business owners.”

The next trip is planned for November 18-23, 2014.

At right, women working in a bakery are preparing Ethiopian flat breads and loaves.



Ethiopian WomanRoasts beans“We are not dispensing band-aid solutions or hand outs,” says Trussell. “We are investing in women whom society has overlooked and the dividends are amazing. These women are doing everything in their power to create a brighter future – and they are thriving!”

About 300 women graduated from the program in Ethiopia in 2013. Many of those who become CEO’s of successful small businesses report a new average monthly income of $350. This is 10 times greater than the local average.

At left, a woman roasts coffee beans before brewing and filling cups for visitors.


 Women’s Empowerment Update

Convoy of Hope’s Women Empowerment program currently operates in Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Tanzania where it will be enrolling more women. In 2014 it will expand into the Philippines and El Salvador as well.

Program At-A-Glance

Ethiopian WomenPickLentils• 1,694 women and girls across four countries participated in the program.
• 576 women granted the start up capital they needed to be CEO’s of their own micro-businesses.
• There was a 217% increase in income reported by participants after engaging in Convoy of Hope’s sponsored micro-enterprise activity.
• 81 “Empowered Girls” training sessions were conducted among 970 young women to promote self-esteem and encourage them to stay in school.


Women Around the World Face Tremendous Hardships

Women at HutSmOf the 1.3 billion people living in the most abject poverty, 70 percent of those are women. Despite being brutalized and demeaned, these women keep their families and communities together. With our help, job training and education, these women can gain self esteem and build self-confidence. With these tools, and with micro-loans, many start their own businesses and can give better lives to their children.

These women are smart and resourceful. They are easily able to learn the business activities and how to think like entrepreneurs. With just a little assistance they quickly learn to make decisions that lead to better health, education and finances for themselves and their families.

As Convoy of Hope’s website states, “When women are given the opportunity to generate income, it not only impacts their families, it impacts their country’s economic standing. We help them learn to make strategic, independent life choices by providing training right in their own communities. They work in cooperative savings groups made up of their peers and help each other develop micro businesses to support their families.

For more information, visit the Convoy of Hope website

10,000 Generations

10,000-Generations10,000 Generations of history changed in just ten generations. Read our articles below and get empowered!

Empowered Woman Philanthropist Lady Gaga

Forbes Empowered Woman

Forbes Empowered Woman

What is YOUR path to empowerment?

Media darling Lady Gaga, 27, finally registered on the national screen with camera-friendly stunts like wearing a meat dress. A New York University drop out, she made her money in music. In 2012 Gaga announced the launch of her own non-profit, the Born This Way Foundation, underwritten by the MacArthur Foundation & Harvard. One goal is to create a “braver, kinder school year” for students.

#14 Forbes Power Women

#30 in Money (earned $52 million in 2011)

#1 in Press and Social


Women Philanthropists Change the World

Financial Journalist and Founder of Women's Giving Institute

Joanna Krotz

Author and social activist, Joanna Krotz reports that women business owners give a higher percentage of their income, more often than any other group. Joanna has written two books on philanthropy, Making Philanthropy Count: How Women Are Changing the World and The Guide to Intelligent Giving. She also founded Women’s Giving Institute, an organization committed to educating the donor in all of us.

Joanna says that women are new to philanthropic activities and hesitate to call themselves “philanthropists.” Instead, women say, “I like to give.” With the confidence that comes from acquiring and managing wealth, women are finally evolving into empowered philanthropists that are changing the world. These philanthropists are role models for other women, who are just beginning these missions themselves. However, the tens of millions of dollars that women give is under-reported and largely unrecognized.

Joanna is working on a national survey that records the dollars women give. If you know of one or are working toward this goal yourself, please contact us.

Learn more about it and hear other stories about how and why women share their time, treasure and talent to change the world in this informative conversation.


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