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Bismarck-Mandan Women Leaders Raise Over $23,000 for Community

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BISMARCK – May 15 was a “Day of Giving” for participants of the Center for Technology & Business Women’s Leadership Program. Armed with $100 in seed money each, this group of 19 women was challenged to grow the funds in a philanthropic project of their choice for the Bismarck-Mandan community. They broke off into smaller teams and had eight weeks to find a cause and determine the best way to give back.

On May 15 many of the groups headed out to deliver their surprise donations to a variety of organizations. Recipients included Tracy’s Sanctuary House, Theo Art School, Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bismarck-Mandan, AARC, Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library, Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota, and Backpacks for Kids. In total, the groups gave $23,625.38 in cash donations and in-kind contributions to area organizations. 

From fundraising art classes to connecting with intern programs at the University of Mary, each team took a different approach and used their own unique methods to pay it forward in the community.

Cindy Arnold and Katie Fitzsimmons raised money to purchase discounted dental supplies for the Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile, the program delivers urgently needed dental care to underserved children in their own neighborhoods in western ND. The women compiled 563 complete dental kits - each containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, sticker, and bag as well as hundreds more toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste and over $1400 in cash funds to meet future needs.

Anita Hoffman and Ann Crews Melton discovered an unmet need in the community and started their own unique project that will help staff at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library better assist the homeless and working poor populations that visit the library. The team developed a resource brochure for where and how those in need can find appropriate services, organized training for library staff on how to handle special service requests and initiated a fund to assist in meeting some of those requests.

“This is my favorite part of the program and I’m always so impressed with what the women are able to do for their communities in such a short amount of time.” Stated Deb Eslinger, executive director of Center for Technology & Business. “The participants of the Women’s Leadership Program have already proven to others that they are tremendous leaders and this project just gives them the opportunity to prove that to themselves. Sometimes we don’t realize how capable we are of making a big difference in the lives of others, kudos to these women for going above and beyond!”

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 18 with keynote speaker Missy Ohe, owner of The Ohepen Mind out of Grand Forks. Missy will explore the world of “possibilities” and potential during her keynote. 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.