Women Leading Through Philanthropy in the Northern California Coastal Region
The Tiffany Circle is a community of women leaders who advance the American Red Cross mission through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure by engaging women locally, nationally and internationally.
Join us as we shine a light on our members with a look into what inspired them to join the Tiffany Circle and what drives their commitment to the American Red Cross
A new way of thinking about philanthropy during the pandemic inspired her to adopt a “giving while living” philosophy.
“The combination of providing assistance (to home fire victims) and working toward preventing fires was the concrete effort I was looking for.”
A “Giving While Living” philosophy supports Home Fire Campaign
Linda adopted a new way of thinking about her philanthropy during the pandemic and shifted to a “giving while living” philosophy. This led her to make a live-saving investment in the Home Fire Campaign.
How did you first become involved with the Red Cross? I’ve been aware of the Red Cross since I was a child when my mother would donate blood regularly and bake cookies for blood drives. I learned more when a local office provided training (e.g. CPR, emergency planning for evacuating the home in a fire, etc.) to my Girl Scout troop. Beginning in the late 80’s, I began to learn that Red Cross was about more than just blood drives and, when I could afford it, I began making donations supporting RC efforts in specific disasters like hurricanes and fires.
What part of the Red Cross mission are you most passionate about and why?
What has always impressed me most is the constant presence of the RC when people are affected by fires and other disasters. I began to learn more about this as the frequency of CA wildfires began to grow years ago and I wanted to support that. As time went on, I became even more impressed as I also saw that constant presence worldwide.
Can you share how the pandemic shifted your philanthropic priorities?
Before COVID, my donation efforts were pretty random. As I learned more about the financial demands on organizations like the Red Cross to manage a budget that relied mostly on donations and now to provide PPE in order to do what they’ve always done, I came to two realizations. The first was that my “plan” – if you could call it that – to carry on as I was and then leave the majority of my estate to charity wasn’t good enough. I guess COVID was the push needed for me to come to this, so I shifted my thinking to what some call “giving while living.” The second was that I needed a real plan and so needed to learn more about both the organizations I already supported and about new ones. The result was that I needed to take on what I now think of as a new part time job.
May is a special month for the Red Cross as it is when we conduct our National Sound the Alarm campaign. You recently made a generous investment to support our Home Fire program. Can you share what inspired you to support this area of our work?
This shift led me to go looking for organizations and activities where I could help to make real and concrete change. In talking with Sarah, I learned more about the home fire support that Red Cross provides in my area and around the nation and what it costs to do this. It seemed an obvious place to start. The provision of stipends to folks who lose their homes due to home fires as well as the installation of smoke alarms and education about fire prevention has to be backed by funds that can be hard to come by. This need will always be there and the Red Cross is always there to help. The combination of providing assistance and working toward preventing fires was the concrete effort I was looking for.
As a valued member of our Tiffany Circle, what advice would you give to other young working women and/or female philanthropists?
I’d say that the first thing to do is learn more about the areas and efforts you care about. For me this meant going beyond reading material on websites and in reports to looking for people to talk with. Find contacts in your local area and just ask questions. I learned so much more than I’d known before from just chatting with contacts, not just about the work that is done, but also about the difficulties of budgeting when the budget depends on something as unpredictable as donations. And I was offered opportunities to direct my donations to areas I hadn’t known about before as well as ways to participate such as supporting challenge grants.
Because of these discussions, I found myself drawn to places where I could make ongoing commitments that these organizations could count on. So I’d say to others, go looking for an effort that appeals to you, reach out and learn as much as you can, and make a short term commitment you can afford either to an organization or just in your own planning. Then see what happens.
Join a community of like-minded philanthropists representing a wide range of business sectors who share a mutual respect and passion for the American Red Cross mission.
Opportunities to participate in hands-on experiences in your community, including disaster preparedness activities, blood drives, and more.
Invitations to local and national events including the Women’s Leadership Summit at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C. This national event offers members the opportunity to hone their philanthropic leadership through educational and inspirational sessions with prominent speakers. Members meet fellow philanthropists from around the world and share Red Cross stories and best practices.
Access to a local monthly newsletter which includes an insider perspective on Red Cross programs and news. Also enjoy access to The Source, a website featuring member profiles, events, members-only content, and more.
Helpful links on learning more and becoming a member of our region’s Tiffany Circle
Meet our Tiffany Circle co-chairs
Learn more about Nisha Baxi and Megan Erk and what excites them most about the future of Red Cross and our Tiffany Circle.