BWGC Connect | February Newsletter
Message from the Chair
Happy New Year!  I recently heard that February is the new time of year to set New Year's Resolutions.  I had given up on them many years ago but one wise woman said, "You must take the time to review your goals, just Keep It Simple." With that, this year's goal is Membership- connecting, growing, and the impact that growth will have on empowering girls in STEM.  

Thank you to the Networking and Communications Committee for hosting our Grantee Celebration this week. They have great events planned for the year so be sure to save the dates. Our goal is to reach 70 members this year and award over $70K in grants. Be sure to bring a friend!
Thank you to our Membership Committee for welcoming many new members to our mission and already committed to our 2019 grant pool. A welcome coffee for new members is scheduled for February 22 nd . All are welcome to attend. Also, a reminder to all that our membership renewal cycle has changed, see below.
Last but not least, a thank you for your continued support and commitment to the work we do together. I’m excited to celebrate 5 Years of Empowering Young Women  with you this year, all year!  

Hope you're personal New Year's Resolutions are just that simple too.
Tanya La Force
2019 Chair
One of the primary goals of the BWGC is to invest in innovative programs that empower girls and young women in Northern Virginia. Below are some BWGC program and investment highlights.
Space of Her Own

The amazing team at SOHO put together this video of how we have helped them and shared an inspiring glimpse in to the work that they teaching and mentoring young girls in STEM. The purpose of this grant is to provide fun and engaging STEM projects to vulnerable 5th grade girls in Alexandria, serving 12 girls with the SOHO-Del Ray program, and 12 with SOHO-West End. This grant will also provide STEM-related activities for up to 90 girls during grades 6-8 with the SOHO Club.
Introduction to RESET
The grant will help to provide computer science, coding, physical science, and other STEM programs to Girl Scouts in Northern Virginia. Programs will enable Girl Scouts to achieve their STEM merit and leadership badges.
FILES Program Wesley Housing Development
Funding will provide a creative outlet for low-income minority middle and high school girls to express themselves while learning advanced technological skills through film-making.
Introduction to Trails for Youth
Funding will support the Girls Rolling and Learning STEM (GRLS) program. This weekly club will use bicycles and physical activity to introduce and educate STEM principles to primarily at-risk girls in grades 5-8. While working on and riding bikes, girls will learn concepts such as hydraulics, ratios, resistance, balance, energy and movement all while getting exercise.
Trails for Youth Presentation
Grantee Needs | Other Ways to Help
  • Space of Her Own (SOHO) - mentors needed to attend a meeting one night a week from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The program takes place during the school year and runs September through June of the following year. The minimum commitment is 12 months. Volunteers needed for Room Transformation reveal n April/May and Community Celebration end of school year.
  • Trails for Youth - volunteers needed to share career experience while engaging in hands-on educational activities designed for 5th-8th grade girls. New program held at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. Bike donations also accepted.
  • RESET - volunteers experienced with cyber, AI and robotics are needed to help young girls Think Like a Programmer. Also program sites needed with access to labs, innovative space, computers.
  • Wesley Housing Development Corporation - volunteers needed to help with FILES - Filmmaking Innovative Leadership Entrepreneurship and STEM after-school program helping young girls research topics and produce films for annual Film Fest. Centers are located in Fairfax and Arlington.

Please contact Ashleigh Dorfman or Kathy Renzetti, Capacity Building and Engagement Co-Chairs to learn more about engaging with our 2018-2019 Grantees.

The BWGC connects meaningfully with members and grantees. From the Raise the Region Gala with the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, to our BWGC events - connecting matters. The Network and Education Committee hosted our 2019 Grantee Celebration at Apple Federal Credit Union on February 5th, 2019. We had fantastic attendance and look forward to our upcoming events, read on for more details.
Check Out the New BWGC LinkedIn & Facebook Pages

In order for BWGC Members and prospective members to stay connected, and to share news about upcoming BWGC events and other important developments involving young women and STEM, we have launched new “Public” LinkedIn and FaceBook pages.  

We have made our current FaceBook Group page “Private” and continue to use it as a private group /forum for BWGC Members to share important news, network and connect.

We have added a LinkedIn company page - this means you can add BWGC to your LinkedIn profile as Experience. Click here to see an example o r see the image below. This also allows BWGC to post content to the company page and make it very easy for everyone to share.
Thanks to Jen Dalton, Co-Chair of the BWGC Communications Committee for setting this up! Click the Links below to join them.
2019 Grantee Celebration
On February 5th the BWGC held our annual celebration of grantees at the Apple Federal Credit Union in Fairfax Corner. Over 30 guests participated in a fun evening of socializing, networking, and hearing from each of our grantees.
Monthly New Member Coffee
Please join us at the CFNOVA Office located at 2940 Hunter Mill Rd Suite 201, Oakton, VA 22124 (703-917-2600) on the last Friday of every month at 8:30 am to welcome New Members to the BWGC. This will be a great forum to welcome new members on a monthly basis and get their insight on why they joined and what’s most important to them, and provide new members with the opportunity to get to know the BWGC Leadership Team and other active BWGC Members and learn how they can get more involved.

February New Member Coffee - Pinning Ceremony
Our first New Member Coffee will take place on Friday February 22nd at 8:30 am at the CFNOVA Office, and will include a Pinning Ceremony for all of our newest Members from over the last year who have not yet received their BWGC pin (if you have not received your pin and are not included on the list below, please let us know so you can be added to the list).

February 22, 2019
8:30 - 9:30 am
Community Foundation for Northern Virginia Office
2940 Hunter Mill Road
Suite 201
Oakton, VA 22124

This event will honor our newest members who have joined over the last year. All BWGC members are invited. This is an event that will recur monthly on the last Friday of each month. Call (703) 917-2600 to RSVP.

Winter Pop-Up - Bunco Night
March 14, 2019
7:00-10:00 PM
Home of BWGC Member Faith Boettger

April Education Event: STEM - Let’s Talk Middle Skill Jobs
Thank you in advance to Judy Redpath for hosting us in April as we have a robust panel on STEM and jobs.

April 30, 2019 
6:00-8:00 PM
Hosted by Vista Wealth Strategies
First Floor Meeting Room
12020 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20191
The BWGC inspires others to join the power of collective philanthropy. An individual gift of $1,000 to any organization is helpful but our collective grants have impact! As we closed out 5 years of grant making, our goal was to grow this year's pool to over $55,000 and we did it! We ended the year with over $58,000 to invest. Thanks to our new and renewing members for getting us there! Our new goal for 2019 is to get to 70 members and provide over $70,000 in grants to our next grantees.
W e Welcome our Newest Members into the 2019 Grant Pool

Victoria Dietz
Leslie Dupree Culman
Susan Dykstra
Sue Fajer
Cherylyn LeBon
Dianne Nolin
Cynthia O'Kane
Lynn Westine

Thank you to our Members
who have already renewed into the 2019 Grant Pool

Tanya La Force
Kim Luu-Tu
Erin Norman
Stefanie Zeldin Sigel
Change- Membership Renewal Cycle- Now June

As we announced last summer, since the BWGC was formed 5 years ago, members have renewed on the anniversary of the month in which they first joined. While this has resulted in regular donations and renewals throughout the year, it has been cumbersome and time intensive for the CFNOVA staff and BWGC Membership Committee to track and administer. Last year, BWGC Leadership polled 11 other regional giving circles and found that 9 of them have one short, defined annual renewal period.
After much review and discussion, the BWGC Steering Committee voted to change to an annual renewal cycle. The benefits are great for both staff and members. No longer will you worry about missing your renewal email or misplacing the link to renew. The new renewal month for all members will now be June. Members who would normally renew from October 2018 through May 2019 can hold off until June 2019. There will be no change for members who are on a monthly or quarterly payment schedule, only that your full membership must be paid by the grant pool close date.
We will continue to welcome new members to join in any month within the grant year that closes on September 30. After a new member’s first year in a grant pool, their renewal will align with the rest of the membership in June. The goal is to have all members renew by June 30th in order to better plan for our grant pool and focus our efforts on growing our membership and investment impact.
If you would like to join the Membership Committee and be part of our exciting growth, please contact BWGC Membership Committee Co-Chairs Melinda Merk (202-271-2727) or Marlissa Hudson (703-822-1947).
TEDx Tysons | Eileen Ellsworth, President & CEO CFNOVA, BWGC Member
Eileen Speaks at TEDx Tysons
Why do people give? We often tell ourselves it is because we want to help – to meet the need of others. In her gripping talk, Eileen Ellsworth shares a collection of eye-opening stories that reveal a new insight — that perhaps our desire to give comes from a primal
need to connect and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

I am pleased to share that I am moving my law practice and joining McCandlish Lillard as a Principal starting 3/1/19. McCandlish is a full service boutique firm with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg, with various practice areas including business/IT law, civil litigation, commercial real estate and land use development, family law, and estates and trusts and elder law: .
This diverse group of attorneys will allow me to more fully serve my clients’ needs and diversify my estates and trusts and tax practice, while still retaining the personal service of a boutique firm.

Melinda Merk, JD, LLM, CFP®
cell: 202-271-2727

Have news to share?
We want to celebrate you!
The mission of the Business Women’s Giving Circle is to invest in innovative programs that empower girls and young women in Northern Virginia, connect meaningfully with members and grantees, and inspire others to join the power of collective philanthropy.

The vision of the Business Women’s Giving Circle is a community where all young women are empowered to make lasting impact through our legacy of collective philanthropy.

The Business Women's Giving Circle brings together engaged women who want to support positive change for girls and young women in our community. Launched in 2014 by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the Business Women's Giving Circle (BWGC) invests in innovative programs, connects meaningfully with members and grantees, and inspires others to join the power of collective philanthropy. 

BWGC has awarded over $230,500 to organizations providing exciting experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Leadership and Entrepreneurship with measurable impact on the lives of over 1,300 girls and young women in Northern Virginia.

Learn more at