As part of our Supporter Spotlight, Women for Women International is spotlighting members of our global community who are dedicated to our mission. We spoke with Kara Alaimo, a Communications professor and Solidarity Network member, about what inspires her to support Women for Women International and how she brought women together to help women across the globe.
I want my daughters to grow up in a world where it’s a given that women lead, and that women support one another.
I applied to be part of the Solidarity Network after I had my first daughter when I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a mother and not be able to take care of my child. It makes me think about how important it is to help the mothers out there who are struggling to take care of their own families. When I think about the world that I want my daughters to grow up in, it’s one in which every woman has opportunities.
In the meantime, since we certainly don’t live in that kind of world, it’s important for women who are privileged to use our opportunities to help women who aren’t as fortunate. We know that women are the most vulnerable in societies, and we also know that supporting a mother is one of the best ways to ensure that her children succeed.
A powerful element of the organization’s model is giving women the skills to succeed. The way women find power through these programs is inspiring. I’ve heard in my letters from my sisters over the years that they’ve learned skills to help their families and support themselves and improve their communities.
I co-organized [fundraising] events for Women for Women International with another woman, Arianna DiCicco. She, like me, is passionate about issues affecting women. Women for Women International is all about women supporting each other, so I really appreciated her help, particularly at a time when I had a young child and a book deadline and I was rather overwhelmed. It goes to show how we can support one another in informal ways. Even though Ariana wasn’t officially a part of the Solidarity Network, she was instrumental in helping me organize the event, spread the word, and get people to it. I believe she signed up to support Women for Women International through me and this event.
For the event, I approached a woman’s clothing store called Purdy Girl in 2019, and the store agreed to donate 20% of sales on December 12th to Women for Women International. We invited shoppers to come for wine and cheese, a discount on merchandise, and a free gift with purchases over $50. If you’re a member of the Solidarity Network, this is a really interesting model of event to consider; I was able to raise money for Women for Women International while generating publicity for a local business—creating a win-win for everyone involved.
The second event I did was on March 7th at a bar called Phebe’s, just before the pandemic shut New York City down. We offered people tickets for two drinks that could be purchased at the door, and a portion of those sales went to the organization. The bar generously allowed me to approach people who didn’t know about the event and offer them drink tickets and a chance to support a cause. It allowed me to meet people who had never heard about Women for Women International and talk about the organization and the opportunity to sponsor sisters.
There are few other ways that you can invest your money so successfully—or with such great results— than with a monthly donation to sponsor a sister through Women for Women International. It’s remarkable that you’re actually able to change a woman or family’s life by helping them learn the skills they need to support themselves.
There are so many different ways to get involved. I’ve had a great experience being a donor, and I know that sponsoring a sister is something that works for many people but not for others. There are other ways to make a difference, whether it’s getting involved in the Solidarity Network, or something as simple as spreading the word to other women who might be able to donate.
All of us feel extremely overwhelmed if we look at problems like poverty in the aggregate, and I don’t know how I can as one person can solve some of these massive global challenges. What I love about being involved with Women for Women International is that I can have an impact on one woman’s life. What’s meant the most to me as a donor all these years is feeling like, in some small way, I’m helping other women.