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International Women’s Day Annual fundraising lunch, Melbourne

8 March 2019 Words Monica Brown Pics Anita Pahor

Always an energy fuelled day for SWL, the international women’s day (IWD) annual fundraiser lunch is a heightened day of emotion, commitment and respect.  IWD is a day of celebration, of empowerment and of community, giving us an opportunity to reflect and review our journey and that of the great women before us.  It is also a day that is growing in popularity and interestingly, if you have a moment google 'male feminist’ - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  It was beautiful to see so many men at our lunch, giving their support and sharing the joy of the day with us equally.

But this poignant day is a day that embodies the values of giving.  We respect all those that gave of themselves to make our road easier and we do so by 'giving on'.  For SWL it is a day of fundraising and whilst most of our activities are educational, fun and fund-raising through growing our cohort, IWD is an important financial day in our calendar.  It is a day of giving and giving can only exist when we receive.  

It is only the second year in Melbourne for this event and it is with great pleasure I say well done ladies, we gave: our hearts, our homes, our time and our dollars and we smashed it.  

La Trobe Financial most generously gave us a fabulous lunch for a second year, thank you Member Caterina Nesci for such a beautifully organised lunch.

Our Chair Anita Pahor introduced SWL and the days proceedings to a room of engaged members and guests.  Table names were titled with our the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross with a few extra SWL significant words of meaning thrown in as our numbers are growing. 

Judy Slatyer CEO of  Australian Red Cross told of exciting new developments within the international organisation. 

On that day of all days, listening to those stories and seeing in action what giving means I was pretty overwhelmed. I had the great fun and honour of introducing the raffle and auction prizes. Real talk -  many donate to charitable organisations through various companies, aligning brands.  It’s a good way to tell a community of high earning individuals that you are similarly minded.  Corporations give and there is a potential return.  However observing our lunch, I witnessed giving in its rawest form.  People gave their hearts, our prizes were all personal, every single one.  Each had an element of individual love and care that was beyond a simple donation.  Even Yuge Bromley joined us to explain why she and David donated their painting.  Members gave their homes, their time and their personal care for the prize winners. 

Before the lunch even started a number of members and supporters got the fundraising giving spirit started by donating ahead of the event!

I felt humbled by watching what a circle of giving really means.  I stood in a room of women who have the biggest hearts of any organisation I have ever known and I was honoured to be an SWL member.  By giving to the East Indonesian community, we learnt and they gave us so much back.  By our giving to the Red Cross, what we enable them to achieve beyond our projects gives back to our world.  By giving through fundraising we shared love and laughter on that day and, because we were united in giving we experienced the immediate gift of joy in return.   It is a continuum, and endless circle that has no end and yet I wondered why this act of giving yields such a huge unbalanced return.

So to all of us that participated that day and everyday GIVE ON.  For the love and the joy and the happiness GIVE ON.  For everyone’s time, effort, money and kindness contributed there is no need for thanks just GIVE ON, because it grows and comes back in so many beautiful wonderful ways. Like a boomerang I guess, it only comes back when you throw it out there.

“ I have found that among other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” Maya Angelou