Winter 2020
WIL News & Updates
Message from the President

Dear Members and Friends of WIL,

Our committees have been hard at work bringing you interesting programs, researching financial institutions in Central America to partner with for microfinance, vetting empowerment grant applicants, serving the refugee community, exploring diverse ways of raising funds and marketing WIL’s message. As a WIL member you can participate on many levels. You can be part of the action by volunteering on committees, travel with WIL women to developing countries, take a local cultural trip or attend one of our educational programs presented throughout the year. All these opportunities are available to our members in addition to supporting our mission through donations.

Soon our annual appeal will be launched on Women’s International Day, March 8 th because we strongly believe in their mission “An Equal World is an Enabled World”. WIL believes the best way to accomplish this is to lift women out of poverty through microfinance and grants. So please consider a generous donation when you receive your letter. Donating is easy either online at or by mailing a check in the envelope provided with your letter.

Finally, I would like to welcome our Advisory Board Members who recently joined the WIL leadership team:

Madeleine Champion
Carolyn Fendelman
Lori Greenwalt
Judy Kornfeld
Adele Lindenmeyr
Mary Osbakken
Margaret Sandler
Bryna Scott
Anne VanLent

I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming WIL program, local trip or committee meeting. Feel free to reach out to me at any time at with any questions or feedback about WIL.

Nancy Alter
Five WIL members have just returned from Africa where they visited LEWA and met with women who have been the beneficiaries of one of WIL's microfinance programs.
Be Part of the WIL Decision Making Process
by Joining WIL’s New Giving Circle

WIL leadership is excited to announce the formation of a GIVING CIRCLE as part of our Empowerment Grants calendar. A Giving Circle is form of participatory philanthropy where a group comes together and pools their funds to support a cause. For WIL, this will be both a fund-raising opportunity and a friend-raising opportunity. Please think about whether you have any friends or associates who have shown interest in what WIL does buy are not necessarily interested in diving in. The Giving Circle is a way for them to make a minor time commitment and learn more about the causes we support.

The Empowerment Grants committee has been hard at work reviewing applications from over fifty organizations and will choose 10 NGO’s to receive between $1,000.00 and $1,500.00 each. There are always a few of the grant applicants who rise above the rest and have sustainable worthwhile projects that require more funding than we can provide through our normal budget allocations. That is where the Giving Circle comes in. Members and non-members will have the opportunity to join the giving circle and become a WIL Super Donor. Our goal is to raise $5,000.00 through Giving Circle membership donations. 
On May 14 th Giving Circle Members will listen to presentations and vote on which project will get the extra funding. Details on how to become a WIL Super Donor and Participate in the Giving Circle are as follows:

WIL members can join at a $300.00 level with voting rights.
Non-members can join at the $500.00 level with voting rights and their donations include WIL membership.
Members may attend the event without voting for $35.00.

The event takes place on May 14 th from 5:00 – 7:30 PM at Independence Live!, 1919 Market Street. Light fare and wine will be served

For more information and questions. Please contact AnnaMaria DiDio at
Welcome New Members

Please join us in welcoming these women who have joined WIL over the past few months:

Barrie DuBois
Maritza Martinez
Krista Reichard
Aliah Molczan
Marianne Ruby
April 2 Program

Street Child
Thursday, April 2, 2020
5:00 - 7:30 pm

at Independence Live!
1919 Market Street, Philadelphia 
WIL shines a spotlight on global education on Thursday, April 2 at 5 PM at Independence LIVE (1919 Market Street) with a presentation by Anna Bowden, CEO of Street Child USA, an organization that has transformed the lives of children in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nepal and Nigeria by offering low cost, sustainable solutions to ensure that every child has a chance to go to school and learn.

Believing that education is a fundamental human right and the surest pathway to a life free from poverty, Street Child works in the world’s poorest places to ensure that every child has a chance for a brighter future. These are children who are excluded form the education system because they are living in poverty in the world’s toughest parts of the world, or because they live in places where the system has collapsed, such as rural villages, refugee camps or disaster areas. Projects focus on a combination of education, child protection and livelihood support to address the social, economic and structural issues that underpin the education crisis. In the last decade Street Child has helped over 250,000 children to go to school and empowered over 22,000 families to set up businesses through income generation opportunities.
Previously Head of Fundraising for Ronald McDonald House Charities in the UK, Anna Bowden has also worked as a communications and development specialist for both UK and US nonprofit organizations, and as a journalist for a national UK media. As the US CEO of Street Child, she is focused on making education accessible to the world’s most vulnerable children.
Anna Bowden of Street Child
Experience Africa | KENYA through the WIL Travel Book Club

Extending our discussion of women lifting themselves and others into places they could only imagine, the WIL Travel Book Club is taking our virtual journey to Africa … KENYA, through the pages of our second selection:  Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain. 

Circling the Sun , a work of historical fiction, chronicles the life of Beryl Markham, raised in British East Africa ("before Kenya was Kenya"), and who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

To complement our virtual journey, the WIL TRAVEL BOOK CLUB is pleased to bring together WIL members at-large with WIL members who made February’s trip to Kenya.  We expect an interesting discussion comparing Kenya of the early 20 th century to the Kenya of today, 100 years later. 

Date:   March 18, 2020
Time:  7-9pm
Special Focus:  Hear insights from WIL members who joined the Kenya trip, and how their experiences in Kenya relate to what Beryl experienced in the early 20 th century.

Cost:  $0 for WIL members and their guests

Location:  in the City, to be communicated to RSVP attendees
Space is limited to ensure all attendees can participate in the discussion.

Circling the Sun is available on AMAZON.COM . Check it out, and join our March 18th WIL Travel Book Club discussion.
Future of Microfinance – Trends and Challenges Addressed at European Microfinance Week

The Center for Financial Inclusion, a trade organization and thought leader in the microfinance industry, held a week-long conference on microfinance in November 2019. Here is a summary of some of the latest trends identified at the meeting,

Climate Change was a featured topic aimed at understanding the critical role the financial inclusion sector plays at strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities to the effects of climate change. Presentations included:
  • Models that address financing in communities prone to natural disaster, specifically evaluating post disaster recovery lending using climate index and digital weather forecasting and risk modelling technologies for early warning systems that allow local humanitarian actors to immediately and safely deliver cash prior to a disaster
  • Policies that the financial inclusion sector should develop to strengthen the resilience of the sector itself and its clients in the face of climate-related risks
  • Use of geo and agri-based data to improve access to finance for agricultural micro businesses; for example, using agronomic machine learning, remote sensing and mobile phones to deliver credit, farm inputs, and advice to farmers.
Additional topics addressed at the program include:
  • Understanding the financial ecosystem for displaced persons and refugees
  • Child labor and unsafe work practices - emerging tool that aims at integrating mitigation measures in women’s economic empowerment programs
  • Gender inclusion – leveraging technology to address the gender gap that continues to exist in financial systems
  • Education – how new innovative practices utilized by the financial inclusion sector to support access to quality of education have evolved over the past years with different tools in different markets
  • Energy - presentation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition's work on innovative models in financing clean cookstoves; and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association's new consumer protection code and self-assessment tool for solar PayGo companies

The Conference also examined new microfinance models and policies applicable to all topics
  • Social outcomes data – for designing MFI products; for investees to measure their impact and for providers and investors to measure their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals through a list of micro-level indicators for SDG Targets
  • Ethical banking – distinction between microfinance and ethical banking; the financial instruments available for the promotion of the ethical banking sector; and challenges ethical banking still faces to move the sector forward.
  • Financial cooperatives – pros and cons of financial cooperatives that enhance inclusion but pose challenges for investors.
  • Cyber security – a necessity of digital financial inclusion, regulatory frameworks, industry guidance and supervisory processes need to be developed with scarce resources and expertise.
  • Savings in Africa – how to achieve the right product-service mix for low income investors based on factors of usability, affordability, accessibility and sustainability.
  • Digital transformation of microfinance through impact investing - how impact investors and donors best support the microfinance sector on the increasing pressure they face to digitalize operations.
  • Consumer protection – how far should a lender go to ensure responsible client choices in microlending.

Additional information about the Conference and these topics are available at: .