Women helping women. That was the inspiration 24 years ago for a group of visionary friends — a collection of community, business and non-profit leaders in Delaware — who formed the Fund for Women. As of 2017, the Fund for Women (FFW) has given $2,5 million to programs related to the education, health, wellness and empowerment of girls and women in our state.
UBS Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor Ginger Ward is being recognized for her involvement with the FFW, an advocate challenging the next generation of philanthropically-minded women to support the mission of the organization.
On Wednesday, October 11th, at a breakfast at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, Ward will receive the Fund for Women’s First Founder Award for her “integrity, community leadership, and Delaware philanthropy.” And Judy Hoopes will posthumously receive the Legacy Award for being a First Founder of FFW. The networking event is open to the public.
On the eve of the special breakfast, TSD asked Ward to share her thoughts about serving her community and supporting girls and women in Delaware.
Town Square Delaware: Congratulations on your nomination to receive the first Founder Award presented by the Fund for Women. Please tell us why you were selected for this honor.
Ginger Ward: The Philanthropy award of the Fund for Women is intended to honor a woman in our community who has been involved both philanthropically and in a hands on manner with the community.
The women who have won this award in the past have been extremely active in making Delaware a better place to live.
For my part, I am involved with several non-profits at the board level and have a passion for impacting the lives of the people in our community. Currently, I serve as the chair of the Board of Directors of the Delaware Center for Justice. This organization is near and dear to my heart, as it seeks to work on legislative issues of justice, advocate for justice reinvention, serve victims of crime as well as provide programming to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals into the community. We also run programs aimed at reducing gun violence.
While I have been involved with DCJ the longest of any Delaware nonprofit, I have also served on the advisory council of the Fund for Women initially chairing the “Next Million” campaign — a goal that we achieved this summer!
In addition, I have recently joined the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation Board of Directors and look forward to being a part of that vibrant organization which is bringing the arts to the school and the community in Sussex County.
While I never feel that there is never enough time to do all of the things that are important in our community, I do try to be involved where I can.
TSD: When the founders came up with the 1,000 women x $1,000 = $1,000,000 endowment, did they have any idea how the concept would be received or if they could even reach their ambitious goal?
Ward: The original founders came up with the 1,000 women giving $1,000 about 24 years ago. At the time, it was a HUGE goal and the first founders will tell you that it seemed like a real stretch. About four years ago, I joined the Advisory Board with the goal of hitting that “Next Million” or 2,000 founders by our 25th anniversary in 2018. We hit that this year, and now we’re looking to have 2,018 founders by 2018! That would be more than double the original goal in just 25 years.
TSD: Asking friends to donate isn’t always easy. What’s your approach to being a part of a successful fundraising campaign?
Ward: I think what makes the FFW an easy ask is that in today’s dollars, $1,000 isn’t as much as it was 25 years ago. It is also easy to make your contribution on an annual or quarterly basis to make $1000 total contribution doable.
That said, I think what makes FFW a great way to contribute is that we are providing approximately $15,000 per year to multiple organizations serving women and girls in our state. These grants make certain programs and tools available where they would not be. For most of us, it’s a great way to have an extended impact with our charitable giving — and do so in perpetuity through the endowment.
TSD: The Fund for Women has helped a number of organizations that provide critical services in our community. Why do you feel it is important to earmark giving to women’s programs?
Ward: Twenty-four years ago, our founders felt that programming for women and girls was typically underfunded. Unfortunately, that remains true today. It’s a way that we as women (and men) can offer a hand up to the women and girls in our community.
TSD: Tell us more about yourself. How did you end up living in the First State, and what are some of your favorite Delaware memories of 2017?
Ward: My work as a financial advisor brought us to Delaware. Karissa and I have lived all over the country and have found a wonderful home in Delaware. One of the great advantages of living in Delaware is the proximity to the beach from our Wilmington home. We love spending summers in Sussex! I’ve also gotten involved in the Freeman Stage at Bayside first as a sponsor of the stage and recently as a board member for the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. I love being part of bringing the arts to school children and to the community as a whole through the stage.