In Focus: Women Who Give

October 20, 2017

On October 19th, the Community Foundation was pleased to host Hali Lee, Tuhina De O’Connor, and more than 50 fundholders and friends for an in-depth conversation on the increased role women play in driving American philanthropy.

Mariner Wealth Advisors, our co-hosts for the event, provided the venue, with Managing Partner Bob DiQuollo stressing the importance of professional advisors being in tune with this trend.

According to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, when women drive charitable decisions, a household gains greater satisfaction from that giving. The increase in happiness is, in fact, positively correlated to the percentage of household income given to charity.

The Institute also found that changes in giving habits affect men and women differently, with single women and married couples increasing their household’s satisfaction more per amount of income donated.

For Hali Lee, the findings were hardly surprising. As the founder of the Asian Women Giving Circle, the nation’s first and largest group philanthropic vehicle for Asian American women, Lee has seen how philanthropy can not only bring women together, but also galvanize them to seek social change.

“We see, day in and day out, the meaningful ways that women come together to make grants that support communities in need and social justice,” said Lee. “By both respecting the diversity of views that members of a giving circle bring to the party, and by underscoring the shared values that all members hold dear, women can join together as formidable forces for good.”

Tuhina De O’Connor, whose career in philanthropy includes senior leadership roles at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Robin Hood Foundation, finds that more connects us than divides us in our aspirations to make a difference.

“Working with families and foundations, as well as with our own giving circle, which has been making grants for over 10 years, I’ve had the chance to observe how people put their values into action,” said De O’Connor. “People come to their philanthropy for different reasons, but when they work together, the impact is awe-inspiring.”

Lee and O’Connor are the founders of Faces of Giving, whose mission is to democratize philanthropy across race and class and enable more people to give to things they most care about.

We at the Community Foundation are grateful to everyone who attended this important conversation, and to our friends and partners at Mariner Wealth Advisors.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey works with philanthropic women to drive change in their communities on a daily basis. To learn more about our work, contact Margarethe Laurenzi at or 973-267-5533.