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    Ojai Women’s Fund – Spring Edition

    One of the core missions of the Ojai Women’s Fund is to inspire and educate women of all backgrounds to become leaders in philanthropy. The benefit of having a rich tapestry of backgrounds is that it brings different viewpoints to our voting circle discussions, making them more robust and our decisions better reasoned. This is certainly true of including younger generations, whose perspectives often differ from their mothers’ and grandmothers’ viewpoints because—simply by virtue of their age—their influences and sources of information are different.

    With our membership drive approaching, we are highlighting four intergenerational groups—mothers, daughters, and granddaughters—with three different approaches to including younger generations.

    From L to R, Judith Hale Norris, Maya Norrris, Aubrei Norris

    The Tribe of Ten

    Judith Hale Norris, our OWF Chair, has been the Tribe of Ten’s group leader since 2016. Judy loves the dynamic of the group coming together collectively to vote each year for their top nonprofits. Judy shared her enthusiasm for the collective philanthropy model with her daughter-in-love Aubrei Norris and granddaughter Maya Norris and invited them to join the Tribe of Ten. They joined in 2018 when Maya was 12 years old and look forward each year to studying and voting on their favorite non-profits. “I am so grateful that Aubrei and Maya embrace my life long goal of volunteering and giving back to the community. We are inspired by the work of the Ojai Valley nonprofits and delighted that our family can help OWF support their efforts with grants,” says Judy.

    From L to R, Marirose Evenden and Karen Evenden

    Individual Voting Members Marirose and Karen Evenden

    It has been a joy for me to have my granddaughter Marirose Evenden as a member of the Ojai Women’s Fund. I sponsored her as a member throughout her high school years while she was growing up in the small town of Haines Alaska.  Now, a freshman at Cal Poly in SLO she continues her OWF membership.

    Why is her membership important for both of us?  I believe it has provided many discussion opportunities for us, all fostering our grandmother/granddaughter relationship.  We now recognize that each of us sincerely wants to listen and learn from one another, as we grow to better understand our home communities, our personal values, and our love.

    From L to R, Cole Everett, Tiarzha Taylor (OWF Co-Chair), Khara Taylor, Ava Everett (OWF Member), Anya Taylor, Karys Everett (OWF Member), Danny Everett, and in front is Sonia Madden

    Eclectic Motley Crew

    Sonia Madden, Tiarzha Taylor, Ava Everett and Karys Everett have been intergenerational members of the Eclectic Motley Crew since 2017. Sonia (Tiarzha’s Mom), and Ava and Karys (Tiarzha’s daughters), have been members of the Ojai Women’s Fund for four years, with Ava joining at 9 years old and Karys joining at 13 years old. Each year Grandmother Sonia, daughter Tiarzha, and granddaughters Ava and Karys review the grantee information sent to members, discuss each grantee, and then each cast their separate votes in each category which are then added to the Eclectic Motely Crew members’s votes as part of the final group tally. “I find the time we spend together as a family as members of OWF so enriching,” says Tiarzha. “While I was growing up in Alaska, my mother was always an active community member. For her to continue that legacy in Ojai and model the rewards of philanthropy for Karys and Ava is an incredible gift to us all.”

    From L to R, Aimee Mendoza, Roz Demaria, Andria Mendoza, Camille Mendoza

    Ojai Roots

    Roz Demaria, our current Membership Co-chair moved to Ojai in 1972.  She has been a Member of OWF since its beginning. She was a member of the Grants Committee and then was asked to co-chair the Membership Committee in 2019.  Roz encouraged her daughter Aimee Mendoza, a teacher at Meiners Oaks Elementary, to join in 2019.  When they had lively discussions about the grant recipients, her granddaughters, Andria and Camille expressed interest in supporting the amazing non-profits in the town they grew up in. The girls both followed their mom in the teaching profession—Andria works for OUSD and Camille is employed by VUSD. They are eager to join their grandmother and mother this year in OWF and their group will be called “Ojai Roots”. Even though both granddaughters live in Ventura, they are eager to honor and support their roots in Ojai where they were born because, as Roz puts it, “Our three generations are so grateful for our special town of Ojai.”

    Four different groups. Three different models. In two instances, the younger generations joined existing giving circles. In another, grandmother and granddaughter are individual members who meet to discuss the ballot before voting and have added a new dimension to their relationship in the process. In the third model, a new giving circle is being formed. While the members of these groups are family members, that does not need to be the case. We hope that these examples have given you some ideas and inspiration for planting and tending the seeds of philanthropy among younger generations and, in the process, open new avenues for sharing and bonding. Let Cecilia or Susan know if you have an intergenerational group of your own and we will be delighted to include your story in a future issue. ([email protected][email protected])
    Whether you are a “charter” member of Ojai Women’s Fund (OWF), an incoming member, new to it all, or somewhere in between, it really is beneficial for all of us to review the ins and outs of how our organization functions.

    To begin, Ojai Women’s Fund, established in 2016, is a membership-based organization of women founded on the age-old giving circle format: a participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money to a pooled fund. These groups then decide together where to give these monies away, i.e., to local organizations that do good works. Money collected in a calendar year is given away in that same calendar year. In 2020, we had 374 members and 45 giving circles.

    OWF has given a total of $419,000 in grants thus far: 47 grants to 33 non-profits serving Ojai Valley, with some non-profits receiving more than one grant. All grants go to non-profits serving the Ojai Valley community. In order to address the wide needs of the community, OWF has established five categories of grants: Art, Education, Environment, Health, and Social Services.

    Any woman interested in joining OWF may do so by joining a donor group with a $100 contribution. Although a donor may contribute more than that amount, the ultimate total for each group must equal $1000 or more. Donor groups are allowed one vote each for the five categories of grants. Another way to become a member is to contribute the entire $1000, which allows that individual the same voting privileges as a donor group.

    So, who keeps track of these groups and their donations? OWF depends heavily on that indispensable volunteer who is willing to take on the role of Group Leader. Her responsibilities include keeping accurate contact information for the members in her group, reminding them of the timelines for donating, and communicating closely with the Membership Committee Chairperson and the Group Liaison. The Group Liaison is a member who acts as a go between the Group Leaders and the Membership Committee, addressing problems that may arise during the funding period.

    Roz Demaria is chairperson of the Membership Committee, 805 907-5672, email [email protected]. Continuing in the role of Liaison is Gayle Whitaker, 949 836-8143 or email [email protected].

    Our membership kickoff this year is June 1st, for renewals and new members. If you are renewing your membership or joining for the first time, you may visit You may either fill out the information online, or if you are more comfortable with sending in a check, download the form, fill it out and send it with your check to Ojai Women’s Fund, PO Box 310, Ojai, CA 93024. Friends and family members interested in becoming a part of OWF may also register online or through the mail. We are optimistic that we will be as successful this year as we have in the years past.  Our membership period ends September 18th.

    We will meet in person this year for the presentation of the nominees for the prospective grants at the Ojai Art Center on September 30th. Voting begins on October 1st and ends on October 13th. Our annual gala to honor the 2021 OWF grant recipients will be at the Women’s Club on December 9th.

    This year, for so many special reasons, we hope you will join again in continuing to make OWF the success it has come to be. We look forward to seeing each of you personally (no more Zoom!) and renewing our wonderful friendships!

    Volunteers are the backbone of any community program, and the volunteers of the Ojai Women’s Fund (OWF) are some of the best in Ojai. If you’d like to meet new people, make a few new friends, and become involved in a worthwhile cause, email  fill out our contact form to discuss volunteer opportunities.

    Here are some of the ways you can make a difference:

    The OWF Grants Committee would like to extend an opportunity to our membership to join one of our one of Grants Research Teams Committee: Arts, Health, Education, Environment, and Social Services. We have only a few committee spaces remaining and encourage you to email either Jeanne Fuller at: [email protected] or Catherine Meek at: [email protected] as soon as possible if interested. This is a wonderful way to engage with the worthy non-profit organizations in our valley as well as participating with some exceptional women on the research teams!

    The OWF Marketing and Communications committee would love your unique talent and craft in the following areas:

    Social Media: Are you a social media savvy woman? We would be delighted if you could volunteer your time and expertise to create content and help manage our social media accounts and build member engagement online.

    Graphic Design and Photography: Have an eye for design and composition? Your time and talent would be greatly appreciated in building our images and graphic design library.

    Tech Support: Are you an OWF woman who would like to volunteer to support and back up tech? Your efforts would be greatly appreciated.

    To be eligible to vote, renew your membership or join before September 18. Click this button to join today
    Editors: Cecilia Starin and Susan Weaver
    Communications & Marketing Co-Chairs
    Copyright © 2020 Ojai Women’s Fund, All rights reserved.
    You are a member or have expressed interest in joining the groupOur mailing address is:
    Ojai Women’s Fund
    P.O. Box 310
    Ojai, CA  93024

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