11/11/2014 03:05 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2015

Giving Thanks

On November 15, thousands of people across the globe will celebrate National Philanthropy Day (NPD) by putting their "love of mankind" into action through deed and giving. In communities everywhere, this day is set aside to officially recognize the importance of philanthropy to both the recipient and the giver. And it is no wonder to me that November was chosen for this celebration of "voluntary action for the public good." Philanthropy is often grounded in gratitude and thankfulness from those who can give as well as in gratitude and thankfulness from those who will receive.

As President of Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) I see this gratitude every day. CFW helps women in the Chicago community who struggle; our grantees are on the frontlines making philanthropy tangible by giving the women in our community the tools, support and skills to realize that they can take care of themselves and their families. Our grantees -- including, among others, Chicago Women in Trades, Chicago Women's Health Center, Jane Addams Resource Corporation, and Rape Victim Advocates -- are grateful for CFW's support and that gratefulness is magnified many times over by those who receive support from our grantees. I know this fact based on the number of women who have received support from our grantees and who, in turn, dedicate their lives to helping others.

Tawnee is one such woman, who has transformed her life from drugs and incarceration, to being a mother and a success story. Thanks to the Jane Addams Resource Center, Tawnee is a career welder. She now serves as a mentor to other trainees at the Resource Center. Tawnee is only one among many.

I also see the other side of philanthropic gratitude. This year our 29th Annual Luncheon was an overwhelming success in giving. Both our mayor and our governor came to celebrate with us. This year's luncheon was our highest grossing with over $1.2 million raised. Men and, particularly, women showed their gratitude by giving over $175,000 on the day of the luncheon allowing us to meet a $125,000 giving match.

This gratitude in action by and for women is no surprise. Research about single, baby boom-aged women and giving from the Women's Philanthropy Institute has found that "[e]ven though women, in general, earn less than men, have less money in retirement, and outlive their spouses," they are still more likely to give charitably than men. Women are grateful.

I urge you, in November, as always, please think of the women in your life with gratitude and thanks because I know they will be thinking of you. I also urge you to reach out this month and put the word philanthropy into action for those women who struggle in your community; they too are thinking of their families and community.