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Fargo Area Women Leaders Raise Over $20,000 for Community

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Fargo – November 2 was a “Day of Giving” for participants of the Center for Technology & Business Women’s Leadership Program (WLP) in the Greater Fargo Area. Armed with $100 in seed money each, the group of 17 women was challenged to grow the funds in a philanthropic project of their choice for their local community. They broke off into smaller teams and had eight weeks to find a cause and determine the best way to give back. 

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. On November 2 the groups headed out to deliver their surprise donations to a variety of organizations. 

YWCA Cass County Emergency Shelter, Red River Children's Advocacy Center, Sanford Children's Hospital, Red River Dance, Red River Valley Dress for Success, and the Jeremiah Program were all recipients of cash and in-kind donations through the WLP philanthropy project.

Three groups chose the YWCA Cass County Emergency Shelter and each group focused on a different area of need for the shelter. One group chose to purchase items for the YWCA's December Unique Boutique holiday store, another collected homegood donations for individuals moving out of the shelter and into their own places, and the third group raised financial donations to help cover the $43 cost of sheltering one woman and child for a night. WLP group members also donated their time as volunteers at the shelter.

Teams working with the Red River Children's Advocacy Center and Sanford Children's Hospital decided on collecting gas and restaurant cards for families of individuals being served by each organization. The gift cards will help ease any extra burdens on families traveling from outside the area.

Amanda Torok and Charlotte Rusch raised donations for Red River Dance, a non-profit dance studio that is looking to expand. They offer scholarships to students that would otherwise non be able to afford dance classes.

Sabrina Cogger and Melissa Tortorice collected both clothing and monetary donations to support Red River Valley Dress for Success which provides interview coaching and a week's worth of professional clothing for work to women working towards economic independence.

The team of Kate Holten and Dayna Del Val commissioned a piece of art from local artist Andrea Qual that was auctioned off at an event to benefit the Jeremiah Program on Nov. 10 to raise funds for the program. The piece of art was ultimately donated back to the Jeremiah Program for display by the winning bidder.

Each project brought awareness and much needed financial support to local organizations and those they serve. In total, the groups gave $21382.46 in cash donations and in-kind contributions to area organizations so far. 

“Since 2012, the Women’s Leadership Program has raised over $227,000 of cash and in-kind donations for communities in North Dakota. Our goal is to inspire participants to realize that giving back can be done in multiple ways and that working together they can accomplish alot in a short period of time.” Stated Deb Eslinger, executive director of Center for Technology & Business. “The project is introduced as a ‘philanthropy challenge’ and each of these women have met and exceeded the expectations of the challenge, they work on these projects with the passion and commitment of true leaders and are shining examples of what each of us can do when we’re willing to address a challenge head on.”

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 December 14 featuring keynote speaker Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart. The public is invited to attend and can purchase tickets to the luncheon at www.trainingnd.com 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.

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