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Did you know that today is International Women’s Day  and an official holiday in 27 countries? While we don’t officially observe International Women’s Day in the U.S., we do observe the achievements of women during the entire month of March, which is designated as Women’s History Month both here and in the United Kingdom.

 Women have played an important role in United Way’s mission since our founding. In 1887, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, along with a priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s problems.  They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred. In fact, they created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Now 125 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.  And women are playing a critical role in that work.

 For example, members of United Way of Central Maryland’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) are advocates, mentors, fundraisers, donors and volunteers.  More than 2,400 WLC volunteers devote considerable time and expertise in support of United Way's mission.  This year the WLC is launching a volunteer reading program to help meet United Way’s goals in education.  The WLC has sent a “request for support” application to nonprofit organizations and others that offer volunteer reading opportunities with children.  WLC volunteers will identify the strongest reading programs in need of volunteers and then will recruit and match volunteers to agencies based on the volunteers’ and the organizations’ interests and needs.

Women have long volunteered to make their communities, their country and indeed the world a better place.  Here's to the inpired dservice they provide, on International Women's Day and throughout the year!