Through the Ages, Women Make Things Happen
Written by Mary Taylor | March 2023
This Women’s History Month, Save the Children is celebrating with a reimagined portrait of our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, rendered in vivid, living color by artist Sam Rodriguez. And wow. It compels attention, capturing one woman and the qualities that fueled her passion to protect the rights of children worldwide.
I see softness and steel behind that gaze, as well as her compassion, her fearlessness, her fire, her determination.
In this new depiction, I also see a throughline from Eglantyne’s legacy to the many inspiring women who continue to drive change for children and create spaces for equal opportunity.
Philanthropy is among the spheres where women are claiming space and taking charge. Over the past three years, I’ve been privileged to serve as a liaison to a remarkable women’s philanthropic network at Save the Children – 100 Strong.
It began as a kernel of an idea at an intimate luncheon hosted by Peg McGetrick in November 2017 with a small group of women that included Save the Children Trustees Gabriela Hearst, renowned fashion designer, and the late Cokie Roberts, a distinguished journalist known for her work with ABC News and NPR.
The late Cokie Roberts during a Save the Children trip to Vietnam.
They were inspired to come together as women and as philanthropists to unite their efforts for kids. Joined by fellow Trustee Catherine Oppenheimer, they went on to found 100 Strong a few months later with just a handful of members. Fast-forward to 2023, the group has grown to a membership of 54 and has sparked a sister network in the United Kingdom.
While these women bring diverse passions and experiences, they share Eglantyne’s commitment to making a difference in the world. Through their connection with one another, the women of 100 Strong find strength and the resolve to stay hopeful, surrounded by others who are pushing for change.
They recognize their power, individually and collectively, to have a significant impact. Research shows they’re in good company. According to the IRS women make up 47% of this country’s top wealth holders, and these women control nearly $5 trillion in assets. What’s more, women give a greater percentage of their wealth to charity than men.
Part of what makes 100 Strong so successful is the opportunities it affords women to explore ideas that heighten their knowledge and further Save the Children’s work. They have participated in discussions with important thought leaders about issues affecting children – with Nobel Laureate in Economics Esther Duflo, for example, about innovative measures to alleviate poverty; and most recently, with Ambassador Cindy McCain, who will take the helm in April as head of the UN World Food Program, about strategies for tackling global hunger.
Standing: Former Save the Children President & CEO Carolyn Miles and 100 Strong co-Chair/Save the Children Trustee Peg McGetrick. Seated, left to right: Nancy Taussig, Cokie Roberts and Trustee Debra Fine.
In addition to advancing humanitarian efforts through their philanthropy, 100 Strong members engage in ways that are personal and deeply meaningful, including as one-on-one mentors to up-and-coming women leaders at Save the Children – the brainchild of 100 Strong co-Chair Peg McGetrick, brought to life by 100 Strong member Dr. Diana Kirschner, a psychologist and mentoring expert. In this way, 100 Strong members are helping to expand the leadership capabilities of women staff working all over the world, so that these “rising stars” in places like Afghanistan, Uganda and the rural United States can be even more effective in their work with children and families.
And certainly seeing is believing for 100 Strong. Most members have visited the programs they support to experience the work in action and are eager to do so as often as possible. Members look forward to visiting programs in rural America later this year and in Sierra Leone in early 2024 to see firsthand an initiative they launched in 2021 to fight child marriage in the country.
100 Strong member and Save the Children Trustee Corinne Basler joined a trip to Sierra Leone in February 2023.
100 Strong has coalesced at a critical time. The worst global hunger crisis in modern history is claiming thousands of lives each day. One hundred million of our fellow human beings have been forcibly displaced worldwide, due to conflict and climate-driven disasters. Around 12 million girls are married every year, 2 million before their 15th birthday.
Now more than ever, the world needs the collective power of women to spur transformative change. Inspired and ready – like our bold founder a century ago – 100 Strong has stepped up to meet the moment.
To become a member or to learn more about 100 STRONG, please contact:
Senior Advisor, Individual Philanthropy
One Hundred Strong Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Network
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