By Bob Morris, president, Community Foundation of Greenville
As we approach Mother’s Day weekend, I want to preview a major milestone for the Community Foundation of Greenville and Greenville Women Giving. With its annual awards May 14, GWG will have distributed over $6,000,000 in grants to more than 80 local nonprofit agencies. This remarkable group of women established Greenville Women Giving as a special initiative of the Community Foundation of Greenville in 2006.
GWG is transforming our county. It is connecting an army of informed, compassionate, and generous women. These members experience philanthropy as a personal commitment of high purpose and demonstrated impact. It is remarkable to think that some mothers and grandmothers of current members did not have the right to vote or the opportunity to attend college.
Greenville Women Giving strives to increase its membership, leverage its grants, and focus on its organizing principle of “one woman, one vote.” At the same time, it is moving toward long-term sustainability by establishing an endowment fund at the Community Foundation. Several supporters have included the GWG Endowment Fund as a beneficiary of their estates. Planned gifts such as IRA account designations, gifts by will or trust, and gifts of appreciated stock are being made to ensure the growth of its endowment.
An easy and meaningful way to seed the GWG Endowment Fund is to make a gift in honor of a “SHEro” in your life. A SHEro can be a mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, or daughter — it can be any woman who has encouraged and inspired you. I have chosen to honor my daughter, Dr. Gwendolyn “Wynne” B. Morris, by making a gift the past two years as part of the SHEro campaign. Wynne graduated from Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina and is a first-year resident in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Health System.
Wynne comes from a long line of accomplished women. Her great-grandmother Bettie Stephens Lide was a Baptist missionary in China. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1922. My mother, Dr. Mary Lide Morris, was one of three women in her medical school class. She was a radiologist, raised four sons, and served as a trustee of Wake Forest University. My daughter, like so many other girls and women in 2019, stands on the shoulders of many people who fought to make sure that the fabric of our country is stronger and brighter by being inclusive.
The successes of Greenville Women Giving and the Community Foundation of Greenville have been underwritten by generous gifts and bequests from men and women alike who believe philanthropy can create the community we envision. One donor who brings this full-circle is Jean Harris Knight. In the early years of GWG, the Community Foundation used a portion of her unrestricted bequest to provide matching grants to support membership growth. Her impact has been multiplied many times over by members who have taken full advantage of the matching gifts, and today GWG is a large, energized, successful collection of women philanthropists.
Please join me in honoring the SHEro in your life by making a gift to support the GWG Endowment Fund. To learn more, visit greenvillewomengiving.com.