Giving Together Wisely

Brian Treece photo
Brian Treece - President & CEO of The Community Foundation

For 15 years, a group of philanthropic women called Handbags That Help in our community has been investing in significant community projects to build strong families in Hancock County. This month Handbags surpassed the $620,000 awarded mark. This group tends to be behind the scenes as a funder and supporter. But because of the anniversary and milestone, we wanted to make sure the group was acknowledged for its role in approving the quality of life for all in Hancock County.

What happens when women who care about their community gather with the intention to invest?

In 2007, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation’s former president Barb Deerhake brought her idea for a women’s group of investors to local leaders. Together they formed a more concrete vision of women powerfully pooling their funds to make a significant impact. They invited 100 women to invest in, and be a part of, the group.

How does a giving circle make a difference?

Handbags That Help members invest in membership annually. Membership dues are combined and then granted out to the community. Members spend the year learning about the needs and hearing from local nonprofits before voting where to invest their dollars. They learn together, vote together and give together.

In 2007-2008, the first 159 members granted $54,000 to the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Habitat for Humanity Findlay/Hancock County and Camp Fire Northwest Ohio. Handbags That Help members have continued this tradition for 15 years, granting over $620,000 to 30 local nonprofits.

Who is Handbags That Help?

There is a variety of members across generations from mothers and daughters, retirees, entrepreneurs, young professionals and so many more. Each woman in the room is surrounded by like-minded women who care about the community and is doing something about it. The meetings are where the magic happens. Beginning with networking to connect, exchange ideas, and make things happen for you and the community. Each meeting’s featured speaker is a woman from the community who demonstrates success in her field and is a figure in philanthropy.

Why become a member of Handbags That Help?

You can be a part of making a significant, positive impact by helping build strong families in our community. Families are the foundation of our community. This is best demonstrated by Josie, who received a new roof as the result of a Handbags grant to the Habitat for Humanity critical repair program. Josie had given the last of her savings to a repairman who never returned. Because of Handbags' investment in the Habitat program, Josie received a new roof and thanked the Handbags That Help members for, “Doing for those, which they cannot do for themselves.” That is why Handbags That Help does the work they do.

You’re invited to find out more about Handbags That Help at the Sip & Social on Saturday, April 30 at the Wine Merchant from 1-3 p.m., or visit this page: Handbags That Help.

This editorial was originally printed in The Courier Friday, April 29, 2022.