Jeanne C. Tedrow, President & CEO, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
While March in North Carolina may be known for “March Madness,” the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits calls attention to Women’s History Month to highlight achievements and contributions made by women across a variety of fields. We especially celebrate the women in our communities and those working in nonprofits whose missions are to empower women.
March will also be remembered for years to come as the month our world changed. We may forever remember what we were doing when shutdowns were announced, that all who could should work from home, and maintain social distance from others, even family members who did not live in our household. We will remember the discussions and necessity of the 3 W’s – wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands.
In this month of Women’s History, let’s recognize the role that women have played in responding to this crisis. Women make up the majority of the direct social service workforce and according to the Center’s 2020 statewide survey of how the pandemic has impacted nonprofits, 63% of respondents were from women-led organizations. We thank all these women for their critical role during this crisis as health care workers, educators, child care providers, food service workers, and mothers juggling their jobs and coordinating activities for their children’s education. These are the women we lift up, celebrate, and recognize as they are often our unsung heroes.
Natasha Davis, former executive director of QENO (Quality Enhancements for Nonprofit Organizations), a nonprofit capacity building organization in Wilmington, shared her perspective from years of experience working with women in the nonprofit workforce. “Women are often more equipped to be resilient, instinctually adaptive, situationally able to manage crises, and multi-task in the face of multiple competing work and familial demands. Historically, these skills have been necessary to a women's survival and success. I have personally observed and experienced situations where women and their ideas have been invisible and unrecognized for the great work they are doing. Organizations that have a more diverse workforce that includes women at all levels are more successful and more productive.”
When we think of organizations that have had an impact on women in our communities, YWCAs are one that arises with their mission to empower women and eradicate racism. “The YWCA works to elevate the voices of all women and the contributions they make every day during Women’s History Month and throughout the year," says Dr. Pamela Palmer, interim president and CEO of YWCA Greensboro. "Like many direct service organizations, many of their workers have not had the benefit of sheltering at home or working remotely during this pandemic. Like many other nonprofits across the state, providing the essential services and supports of food, shelter, transportation and family support, these workers have been on the front lines. It is timely to recognize the value of women working in the nonprofit sector for the contributions they bring to care for so many in our communities.”
The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits salutes the many women on the front lines and across all our nonprofit organizations – thank you for your service to our sector! We invite other nonprofit leaders to look around and across your organizations and truly recognize and celebrate the many roles that women play in supporting our nonprofits, our families, and our communities.
Check out the positive work of some women-led and women-empowering organizations around the state.