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Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy give back, together

(L to R) Elin Gabriel and Gayle Lanier

A new volunteer group with a strong engineering presence gives women who have ties to NC State a way to connect to giving opportunities campus-wide — and connect with one another. Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy (WWiP) has a stated mission of building a sustainable, engaged network of diverse women committed to NC State through their leadership, philanthropy and influence.

Comprising alumnae and friends of the University, along with a staff support team and the direct support of Chancellor Randy Woodson and Vice-Chancellor for University Advancement Brian Sischo, WWiP spans ages, disciplines and careers. Its immediate goals include recognizing and celebrating contributions by women to the University, increasing the number of women serving on University boards and educating women about exciting events, accomplishments and needs across campus, along with ways they can provide financial support or get involved.

So far, the group has supported NC State’s annual Day of Giving and highlighted the University’s Women’s Center and its Women’s Center Survivor Fund, as well as helped produce a congratulatory graduation video coordinated by the Alumni Association for spring commencement and a Pack Appreciation Day video for students during Red and White Week. The group’s leaders have begun visiting volunteer boards across campus to advocate for a culture that intentionally embraces a range of experiences, perspectives and backgrounds. And in March, they hosted their first live virtual event: “Women Making a Difference.”

WWiP’s nine-member leadership council includes six alumnae from STEM fields; four of them are accomplished COE graduates. Elin Gabriel, ChE ’85, is the group’s chair and Gayle Lanier, IE ’82, its vice chair. They are joined by Barbara Mulkey, CE ’77, ’83; and Anna Sullivan, CE ’83.

While the group has no official role or decision-making authority, its members hope to serve as influencers, advocates, mentors and role models. They view their effort as particularly important because nearly 40 percent of NC State’s living alumni are women. And the 2019-20 incoming class was the first to include a higher percentage of women students than men; this year, 50.3 percent of incoming students identify as female.

In general, women are the fastest growing philanthropy group with wealth, influence and commitment to leading change, Gabriel said. Women now hold an estimated 40 percent of global wealth and over 50 percent of U.S. wealth, heavily influence much of family spending and tend to give more to nonprofits than men.

She noted that more than 100 data points from recent research indicate that gender makes a difference in the philanthropy decision process — one size doesn’t fit all, of course, but women’s motivations and patterns for giving demonstrate unique trends. Traditionally, however, men often have been the focus of institutions’ volunteer leadership groups, and of donor conversations and appeals. Understanding and appealing to women specifically is an important opportunity for the University.

“Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy is dedicated to providing opportunities for women’s giving, engagement, influence and leadership at NC State,” said Gabriel, who, like Lanier and Mulkey, is a Distinguished Alumna of the College of Engineering. “We aim to accomplish this by applying the latest research about women’s philanthropy and engagement. We want to educate women both about the amazing things happening at NC State and about the importance of philanthropy and its impact.”

Return to contents or download the Spring / Summer 2021 NC State Engineering magazine (PDF, 52.0 MB).

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