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Featured group: Holding Our Own, Inc--Circle of Women Philanthropists.

Holding Our Own, Inc. (HOO) has been giving project grants to promote the leadership of women and girls for over two decades. A recent grant was provided to support the Women's Building at 79 Central Avenue in Albany, one of the only Women's Centers in the northeast. A meeting space for groups and organizations, it provides programming by community organizations and housing and support/ administrative functions.

HOO consistently fights for the underdog--women whose efforts are often ignored. Given the political climate where forces are rolling back the social safety net, civil rights, and even freedom of speech, the role of groups like HOO is increasingly important in supporting community-based efforts for women to speak out and act. What some politicians have deemed the 'fight against terrorism', the vast amounts of money this 'fight' consumes leaves women feeling terrified.

HOO fills voids left by government, the private sector, and many other charitable foundations, who often do not see the value of supporting grassroots organizing projects that challenge the status quo.

Activities include providing a base of stable financial support for the Women's Building, creating new philanthropists, educating women donors, and developing a new fund to help women build financial assets. Central to the efforts is recognizing and developing leadership among young women philanthropists.

HOO seeks to increase the power of women to create and access the necessary resources to build strong Capital Region communities. They are "making over the face of philanthropy, " says HOO Co-President Vaneeta Palecanda. "Women of all ages and economic means are philanthropists--we give time, energy and resources as well as money to all sorts of efforts. We will make visible those efforts and leave a legacy for future generations of women and girls in the Capital Region."

"This is my legacy," says Simone Sneed, Circle member and HOO board member. "People dismiss young women as philanthropists because they see us as not having resources. But we have a lot to give and the Circle is one way to do that."

HOO has funded projects such as Restorative Community Justice, Women in Recovery Fellowship Program, Conference for Girls with Disabilities, Nurses with the Flava: Preventative Health Education, Native American Film Festival, and many others. Such projects address institutional and societal barriers faced by women of all ages, and promote community well-being and empowerment through honoring diverse cultural, religious, and ethnic heritages and the unique insights of the 'better half' of the population.

To honor the women who have helped me on my journey, as proprietor of Hudson-Park Therapeutics, a massage and therapy business, I'm contributing to the well being of women in the Capital District by donating a portion of proceeds to HOO through Mother's Day. [See advertisement below]. I want women to take care of themselves--physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Many have pledged to raise funds for HOO. With this announcement, I hope women business owners will think about their philanthropic giving habits. You, too, can have an impact on the projects and services in your community.

For more info, to apply for grants, or to get involved:

Holding Our Own, Inc. 79 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 (518) 462-2871;
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Title Annotation:Albany County News
Author:Roona, Isla
Publication:The Informed Constituent (Albany, NY)
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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