International Women’s Day is about raising awareness around persisting gender inequities all over the globe. As a feminist agency that works with hundreds of women girls and gender diverse individuals each year, we see up close just how far we as a society have to go to reach gender equity.
And that’s why we do the work we do. Our mission is to give voice to the needs of cis and trans women and girls, non-binary and two-spirit individuals through innovative and responsive programs, services and advocacy. With no core funding to make this work possible, we rely heavily on grants and the generosity of community members.
International Women’s Day is also a day to celebrate the wins that have brought us as close as we are to gender equity. So, today, we want to highlight one of our very own wins, and that is our partnership with Phidon Pens.
Mano and Baldeep Duggal, owners of Phidon Pens, are two community members who saw the work we do, who believed in it and who wanted to help us do more by becoming monthly donors.
Monthly giving is one of the most effective and generous ways to help us make long plans for the future of our work. It helps us ensure sustainability by providing ongoing support to our programs and the people who benefit from them. Monthly giving allows us to focus on supporting participants and investing in the long-term health of our programming by lessoning the burdens of financial insecurity. For some donors, becoming a monthly supporter is a natural extension of their passion to support others and create systemic change.
“I honestly think that, first of all, it really begins with meeting [YWCA Cambridge CEO] Kim [Decker] and all of the staff at YWCA,” said Mano.
“I think Baldeep and I have tried to build community here at Phidon. It’s about slowly expanding ourselves outside our little store.”
The two entrepreneurs have been long-time supporters of YWCA Cambridge’s work to end gender-based violence. They’ve donated countless items to our programs, Mano has volunteered on a fundraising committee, and they’re always asking how else they can support us.
As for what made Mano and Baldeep take the step to become monthly donors to our work? It was watching the Netflix show, The Maid, Mano said.
“It really struck a chord with me and I thought, ‘I can’t just sit here and watch a show and not do anything.’ I can’t change everyone’s situation, but I’m hoping we can make a difference in one woman’s life. So that was the starting point. We thought, ok, we did a little bit before, but we need to do more.
Mano and Baldeep’s generous donation to our Small Steps to Success program helps us provide women living with gender-based violence and limited support networks with the opportunity to access outreach services, life skills and pre-employment training, and further connect with needed community support to live a life free of violence. This work is critical to ensuring that no woman living with violence in our community stands alone.
“Just knowing that our help can help women get on their feet – from violence, from abuse, all those angles, I felt it was really important that we made a difference even in one person’s life.”
If you would like to learn more about how you can support a woman and her family right now, visit our website at www.ywcacambridge.ca/