The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation was founded 17 months ago and has grown quickly and garnered momentum from supporters around the country. This blog will serve as a vehicle to periodically pose questions to the founder of the organization, Ginny Carroll, and dialogue about the background and growth of an organization building to change the world. Feel free to post additional questions in the comment section of the blog and we may feature your question in an upcoming post.
The inspiration of the Foundation is articulated on the website (www.circleofsisterhood.org), but what inspires you personally? How do you stay motivated when the needs grow every day?
Every day I wish each person who has volunteered their time to launch this Foundation could stand in my shoes. I am inspired by the number of sorority women who want to be part of the answer. I am so fortunate to have the conversations with individual sorority women, with chapters and associations, and with college and alumnae panhellenics. The number of women I talk to who “were in a sorority in college” see a reason they want to re-engage within their own organizations. Everyone is excited about this collective effort to change the future for girls around the world. Just tonight I got an email message from the president of a national honor society. This movement is crossing all pre-conceived boundaries bringing people together in phenomenal ways. Umbrella groups on college campuses are truly partnering with meaning. The fraternity men are even getting involved in “brothers for sisters” campaigns. We are educated women educating women – people get that on an amazing level. How could I not stay motivated!?
There are always critics and some critics would wonder with so many qualified NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) already established, why re-invent the wheel? What makes the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation unique?
Because this is an effort by sorority women – women who have the wherewithal and passion to empower other women. There are over 5 million of us – that’s one heck of a giving circle! We understand what it means to be educated and we think every girl in the world deserves that chance.
The emphasis for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation is global empowerment and change, with our own domestic problems, why send money overseas?
America’s schools rarely convey an understanding of the 2.7 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 a day. In our first year, we have had a small impact in 7 countries on 4 continents. Our money can make such a significant impact in the developing world where most girls are out of school.
While the primary purpose of the Circle of Sisterhood movement is to end oppressive brutality against women internationally by uplifting them from poverty through education, it is also to expose our donor base to problems within our own borders and education system. With 1 in 5 children in America living in poverty, there is much to be done to ensure children have the tools and resources to achieve quality education. We also plan to support domestic organizations who uplift girls from poverty through education.
What’s in store for the next 17 months?
I’m not exactly sure but I can’t wait!! We will continue to support organizations that remove barriers to education for girls and women as often as we have the means to do so.
We will continue to raise awareness. Today, we have almost 100 campuses supporting our efforts and raising awareness about the global issues affecting women – in many different forms. In the next 17 months, we hope the number of campuses will triple. When all of these sorority communities are helping to educate each other and other students about this cause, the impact will be transforming. Sorority alumnae are starting to get involved. We see this as a great opportunity for alumnae and undergraduates to learn together and give back together. This is a global, humanitarian effort by ALL sorority women. We can change the world!
The catalyst for this movement is the book “Half the Sky” by Kristof and WuDunn. A quote from their book says it all:
One study after another has shown that educating girls is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. Schooling is often a precondition for girls and women to stand up against injustice, and for women to be integrated into the economy. Until women are numerate and literate, it is difficult for them to start businesses or contribute meaningfully to their economies. Half the Sky, pg. 168
It is our responsibility, as educated women, to help other women achieve the same, like our Founders did for us.
In addition to establishing the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, Carroll operates her own consultancy and frequently speaks, coaches and trains on topics surrounding professional skill development, volunteer training, team building and strategic planning. She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and when not traveling, her home is Indianapolis, Indiana, and she is an Alpha Xi Delta.