From Generation to Generation

From Generation to Generation

In our first five years, Women4given has tripled – from 17 to 52 members – by the grace of God and word of mouth. You have shared the joy of collective giving with friends, and your friends have brought along other friends.

Our goal for the 2015-2016 grant year is to grow inter-generationally! We invite you to bring along your mother or stepmother, your daughters or granddaughters – in addition to your sisters and friends.

We are excited to announce a special Mother-Daughter Membership this renewal season. For the discounted rate of $600, a current member may add her mother or daughter as a new member of Women4given.* Each woman will enjoy the full rights and privileges of membership, including serving and, of course, voting on grant recipients.

The Mother-Daughter Membership rate is available only this grant year 2015-2016, so be sure to gather your loved ones for the season kick-off at 6:30 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 22 at Fairview Heights Public Library to take advantage of this $130 discount! Or join now by mail.

marsha and daughters“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:3-4

*Additional mothers and/or daughters may be added at the discounted rate of $235 each.


Leading Women – Five-Year Flashback

Leading Women – Five-Year Flashback

In our brief history, we’ve been blessed with capable and generous leaders. These women include educators, executives, mothers, nurses, retirees, and others who volunteer their time and talent with open, giving hearts.

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Marsha, fall 2014 program

Marsha Heffner, current president of the board of directors, has worn many hats over the past five years. She helped establish W4G, then served as the first chair of Volunteer Services, laying the groundwork for a relationship with the girls we sponsor at Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis. She then joined the board as a voting member and will finish her term as president at the end of 2015.

She is married to Chris Heffner, and they have two grown daughters, Lindsey and Jackie. She also dotes on her dog, Bentley, and cat, Mister Sophia.

I mention these details because Marsha’s such a serene, unassuming person you might not know these things. Still waters run deep, however, and she has a gift for leading with a strong vision balanced by personal humility and deep faith in God.

Here, she offers her reasons for giving to Women4given:

I was recently asked the question, “Why should I give money to Women4given as opposed to just giving it directly to the charity? After all, the money goes to the same place.”

I have several reasons:
One: I can directly see the impact from my money. For example, I could give $365 to CAC’s general fund, but it would blend in with all the other donations. However, pooled with other W4G members I can see the library we funded and observe children reading quietly in that library any time I visit.

Two: I have learned to be a responsible philanthropist. I used to blindly write checks to charities and organizations, but now I know how to look at their 990 tax forms and research how they spend their donations.

Three: I have broadened my awareness of local charities as well as international organizations. For example, I didn’t know Fontebella (a home for young expectant mothers) was literally down the street from me. I had never heard of KIVA (loans for women to start their own businesses in other countries).

Last but not least, I have developed relationships with other members and truly enjoy serving alongside them! I think that is money well spent … or should I say granted!

cac girls party at marsha's
Christine, Marsha, Essence, Jamiah, Jalyn, & Jerrica


Thanks, Marsha, for your wise and conscientious leadership of Women4Given.


Founders’ Reunion – Five-Year Flashback

Founders’ Reunion – Five-Year Flashback

In February 2010, a group of women gathered in Kathy O’Dell’s living room to hear her proposal for a new organization called a giving circle. O’Dell’s idea would include women from a variety of churches and Christian denominations united around a two-fold mission: to inspire generosity and to show Christ’s love by serving women and children.

Without the enthusiasm and support of these fifteen women, Women4given may not have come to fruition.

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Founding members at the Women4given Launch Event, February 2011. Clockwise from top left: Mary Ann Turner, Christine Kirchoff, Ann Duncan, Wendy Smith, Valerie Thaxton.

The founding “Class of 2010″ includes: Lisa Camp, Deborah Clark, Emily Climaco, Ann Duncan, Marsha Heffner, Gail Johnson, Christine Kirchoff, Heidi Klein, Kathy O’Dell, Mim Phillips, Jenny Schroeder, Wendy Smith, Valerie Thaxton, Mary Ann Turner, and Gail Witter.

bethlehem coffee
Thanks a latte!


On the five-year anniversary this month, Women4given’s current Board of Directors held a reunion at The Coffeehouse in O’Fallon, Illinois, to honor and thank these founders for their invaluable contribution.

As one woman remarked, “It’s a God thing,” and we are deeply grateful for God’s blessing on our first five years.

So let’s raise our lattes to the next five years of serving and giving — together!

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Founding members, from left: Marsha Heffner with a youngster at the Christian Activity Center, Kathy O’Dell, Emily Climaco