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North Hills Monthly

Inspired Women Paying it Forward through Collective Giving

Sep 30, 2015 02:37PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch
While the new trend in fundraising today is crowdfunding/crowdsourcing through online sites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring, there’s an impersonal and possibly untrustworthy side to it. So it’s a nice change of pace to learn about a local women’s networking group, Inspired Women Paying it Forward, which strives to empower and support women by funding nonprofits benefitting women and girls, both locally and around the globe.

“This is a cause that is so near to my heart,” explained founder and owner Debra Dion Krischke. “There are too many women who often don’t have a voice when it comes to their relationships, their lives or their futures, so I wanted to create a means to help them. We’ve simply created a space for women who have more in their lives to take action on behalf of women who have less. And networking with other like-minded women is a bonus for attendees!”

How It Works
“Women are typically big-hearted, but between work life and family life, they’re really short on free time,” explained Dion Krischke. “Some are also pressed to write out one big check for their passion, so I’ve found that hosting one-hour events on a quarterly basis is the most efficient and effective way to have a collective impact while being mindful of everyone’s time and money.”

Members attend the events in Cranberry with the intention of growing their businesses, while also getting to nominate a charity that will benefit women and girls. During the evening, any member hoping to ‘win’ for their charity gets her name placed into a hat, and three names are picked. All three women are then invited up in front of the group to speak for five minutes to appeal for their charity. Once the presentations are complete, the group votes, and when the winning charity is announced, each member writes a check for $100 made out directly to that organization.

Since its inception earlier this year, Inspired Women Paying it Forward has donated close to $5,000 to two deserving charities; one local and one a women’s school in a remote part of Kenya. After each meeting, members may stay for dinner, at their own expense, and take advantage of networking opportunities. There is no need to RSVP for the events, and while current chapter members are committed to building the quarterly meetings to 100-plus women in attendance, the only financial commitment for any expense, ever, is $400 per year, of which 100 percent goes directly to the selected nonprofits.

“By doing this organically, we have the potential of creating a huge impact for women’s initiatives by raising up to $10,000 per quarter in a sustainable fashion,” Dion Krischke said, adding that she has more than 25 years of experience in producing special events for lesser-funded women’s initiatives that address tough issues such as domestic violence and human trafficking, and in providing educational opportunities for women and girls around the world. “Everything that I have done in the past has brought me to this. No-frills fundraising at its best! This is just my way of paying it forward.”

To join, learn more, or to start an Inspired Women Paying it Forward chapter in your area, visit or call 724-935-6100.