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'Dining For Women' Allocates Dinner Funds To Needy Women, Girls

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First Posted: 03/12/2012 12:48 pm Updated: 03/24/2012 1:08 pm

When Marsha Wallace invited 20 friends over for dinner almost a decade ago, the Greenville, S.C., woman didn't know what it would grow into.

She and her friends raised more than $700 that night, which inspired Wallace to start Dining for Women, an organization that gathers friends to "dine in" once a month, donating the money they would have spent "dining out" to different nonprofits that support women and girls, MSNBC.com reports.

"The average donation, nationwide, is about $32, so it's not a lot" Cari Class, a member of Dining for Women, told the news source, "but when everybody does that it turns into $42,000."

Dining for Women now has 8,000 members in more than 38 states meeting monthly to raise money for a different grassroots nonprofit.

And as its membership grows, so does its impact: So far the national network has donated $1.5 million to charities -- about $20,000 to $40,000 each month, according to Syracuse.com.

Organizations in Sudan, Rwanda, Vietnam and Haiti are just a few of the many that have benefitted from these women dining in each month, according to the website, but members might say the empowerment is two-sided.

"I learn a lot," Jennifer Moyen-Logan, a Dining for Women Chapter leader, told the MSNBC.com. "I learn an incredible amount. It expands my life, that's the thing."

To find a local chapter of Dining for Women, or to start your own, click here.

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Filed by Emily Heinz  |