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Bismarck-Mandan Women Leaders Raise Over $17,000 for Community

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BISMARCK – Armed with $100 in seed money each, 20 women from the Center for Technology & Business Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) were given six weeks to see how much of an impact they could make on the local community through a Philanthropic Project.  

On May 4 the groups ventured out to deliver the results of their projects, including cash and in-kind donations, to a variety of organizations.

This is the sixth year for the Women’s Leadership Program and on a unique twist of events this year, two WLP alumni were on the receiving end of the project for 2017. Dana Hager with the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation and Brandi Jude, founder of Invisible Innocence, both had the chance to see the Philanthropic Project from a new point of view as their organizations were chosen for projects by participants. Both were incredibly grateful to be chosen and noted that the experience of having the project come full circle back to them was inspiring and humbling.

With a variety of causes and individual skillsets, each team took a different approach and used their own unique methods to pay it forward in the community. From Art and Lemonade fundraisers to food and book drives and corporate jeans days, each project brought awareness and much needed financial support to local organizations and those they serve.

Amanda Moen and Lacie Baumgartner raised funds for Furry Friends Rockin' Rescue, ultimately securing enough funds to spay or neuter 25 pets and ease the financial burden of placing them in forever homes. The rescue was founded in 2015 by a group of Bismarck Animal Impound volunteers to alleviate overcrowding.

Amber Sandness and Marie Bittner held a silent auction and bowling tournament to raise money for pediatric cancer research through Fishin’ for the Cure. The organization’s dream is to one day have a world where no child has to suffer from the painstaking battle of pediatric cancer.

Additional recipients included Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center, Sacred Pipe Resource Center, Theo Art School, Bis-Man Reel and Rec Club’s Take a Kid Fishing, Ministry on the Margins, and Central Dakota Humane Society. In total, the groups gave $17,181.03 in cash donations and in-kind contributions to area organizations plus many volunteer hours in addition to helping raise awareness for the causes.

Since 2012, the Women’s Leadership Program has raised over $245,000 of cash and in-kind donations for the Bismarck Mandan communities. “I’m always so impressed with what the women are able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.” Stated Deb Eslinger, executive director of Center for Technology & Business. “When we first introduce the project each year some participants are hesitant as they’ve never done something like this before but the personal transformations for them by the end of the six weeks is always remarkable.”

The Women’s Leadership Program is a six month program dedicated to expanding the professional, personal, community and health leadership skills for women of all ages. The program will wrap up with a luncheon and graduation ceremony on June 16. The public is invited to attend and can purchase tickets to the luncheon at or call 701-223-0707.

Center for Technology & Business serves as the women’s business center for North Dakota and grows North Dakota’s economy by helping small business owners succeed through training, technology and business development. Their programming develops leaders, builds rural communities and mentors women business owners.