Women in Philanthropy

Melanie Sabelhaus is a woman of many causes and contagious enthusiasm.

Over the course of 30 years, she has dedicated her time and passion to raising millions of dollars for nonprofit groups ranging from Johns Hopkins to the Red Cross to the United Way. (She did all this in addition to launching and taking public Exclusive Interim Properties, a housing company doing business in 60 countries, as well as serving as deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.)

But when several Mackinac Center leaders had the privilege of meeting Sabelhaus at a recent philanthropy seminar in Chicago, her message was not about the nuts and bolts of raising money.

Her message was about the importance of women’s philanthropy to the future of our country.

Consider, she said:

The trend of local and national women’s giving circles, where women pool their resources to make gifts that will have major impact.

Surveys that show the growing influence that women have in their family’s charitable giving decisions.

The growing number of female wealth managers at major corporations, who influence corporate giving.

The growing number of women in key roles at charitable foundations.

The statistics showing that women live longer than men and that the largest gifts typically come through bequests and estates.

“Women of today are passionate, they are committed, they are change agents, and they are leaders,” Sabelhaus said. “Time, talent and treasure — we have it all.”

Her observations made me think of the many women who have been change agents and leaders in their support of the Mackinac Center.

From the women who have donated their time and talent to serve on our board of directors, to the foundation officers who have challenged us to think big, to the small business owners and other women in our President’s Council, we see firsthand the impact of women who make our state and nation a place of greater freedom and opportunity.

Yet we know there are many friends of freedom we haven’t met yet.

Do you have ideas for engaging more people — women and men — in the fight for free markets and limited government? Would you consider hosting a “friendraiser,” sharing IMPACT with your circle of friends or arranging a speaking engagement? Please contact me at shane@mackinac.org or 989-698-1909 so we can share ideas.

Thank you again for all that you do for the cause of freedom. We are truly grateful.