As Red Cross enters its 100th year in the Tennessee Region and its 10th Year for the Tennessee Region’s Tiffany Circle, it is only fitting we take a glimpse at this major milestone for Red Cross through the eyes of one very important community leader and philanthropic individual…Barbara Bovender.
Barbara has enjoyed working with the Red Cross Tiffany Circle locally, nationally and internationally for the past ten years. In a recent one on one conversation with her, she describes how she was drawn to the work with the Red Cross. Learn more about this impressive individual that has continued to give of her Time, Talent and Treasure to support the mission of the Red Cross!
How did you come to be involved with the Red Cross?
“It started almost ten years ago when Betsy Wills visited to discuss the founding of Nashville’s Red Cross Tiffany Circle Chapter.***”The Tiffany Circle is a network of philanthropic women engaged in support of the Mission of the Red Cross launched by Bonnie McElveen Hunter, Chairman of the Red Cross Board of Governors and Melanie Sablelhaus. Nashville was one of the founding 8 Tiffany Circle chapters in the U.S. Today there are over 60 chapters.
“The Nashville area Red Cross CEO at that time asked Betsy to be involved and assist with founding this new individual giving concept as she was certainly one that could see the vision and execute with her experience in marketing and community involvement. As Betsy and I discussed this exciting new opportunity…it only took about three minutes before I said YES! Betsy knowing about my nursing back ground gave me a biography of Clara Barton, which I still have today.”
“As a former Registered Nurse with a personality as a caregiver, it seemed like a natural calling. I certainly knew of Florence Nightingale and had heard of Clara Barton from my early days in nursing school…as both were heroines of mine from a very young age.
My nursing career certainly taught me the importance of preparation. As a nurse working in coastal areas, you have to be prepared for all kinds of disasters, including hurricanes. It was at that moment in discussion with Betsy, I realized the Red Cross and my passion for nursing had the same basic mission—Helping Others in Need.”
What did and do you see as the goals for the Tiffany Circle?
“As the Tiffany Circle developed, our goals were to find like-minded women who share the same passion and mission for the Red Cross. Certainly, it is all about networking and sharing your Time, Talent and Treasure with the Red Cross because of the important work they do in the face of disaster and the other lines of Red Cross Service. Programs are built to sustain and grow our membership. There is strong leadership from Red Cross Corporate Headquarters in Washington DC which provides a stable organization any volunteer would be proud to be associated with. We work to engage women, develop relationships, and hopefully cultivate lifetime volunteers and donors by touching the heart AND leading by example in what we do. We acknowledge, thank, and honor our members and donors!!”
What separates the Tiffany Circle from other non-profit organizations which promote women in philanthropy?
"The Red Cross Tiffany Circle is a women’s individual giving society supporting the mission of a 150 year old humanitarian international organization which is first responder to individuals at their darkest hours of need.”
What is a misperception of the Red Cross and/or its Tiffany Circle?
“Many think the American Red Cross is funded by the Federal Government. That is the furtherest thing from the truth. The Red Cross is not supported by the Federal Government and receives NO Funding in support of its mission. All donations come from individuals, corporations, and grants”.
Any last thoughts would you like to share with others?
“If I had $1 million to donate to a local nonprofit, I would give it to the American Red Cross because of the amazing humanitarian work they do for people in their greatest time of need.”
Barbara devotes her time to being a wife, mother, grandmother and volunteering. Her other involvements are serving on the boards of TPAC, the Nashville Opera, Cheekwood, and Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center. Her service and advocacy for worthy causes can be found at home and abroad. She is a Trustee of the American Museum in Great Britain, a Benefactor to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International World Fellowship, and is a Churchill Society member.
Both North Carolina natives, Barbara and her husband, Jack, of 50 years have lived in Tennessee since their corporate “gypsy” days when Hospital Corporation of America led them to Nashville in 1987. Their son Richard and his wife Sara and their three children also live in Nashville.
As a founding Tiffany Circle member in the United States and Great Britain, the Red Cross is proud to have Barbara Bovender leading the torch in encouraging women in philanthropy.