Going strong since 2012, the Madison County Women’s Giving continues to better the community with donations. The group met last Thursday evening and chose the American Legion to receive funds from this quarter. 

After the evening’s checks were tallied, donations came to approximately $6,400.

According to the American Legion, the funds will be used for building renovations although it has not yet been determined exactly which ones yet.

Giving Circle continues to grow

Women’s Giving Circle group’s membership has grown to 126 local ladies who gather quarterly to “promote the dignity, equality and opportunity of women in Madison County” with charitable donations. The first public meeting was held back in 2012 with an initial membership of 47 women.

History of giving

According to organizers, the Giving Circle is a great way to get actively involved in not only bettering the local community, but the entire county as well. In its inaugural year, the Women’s Giving Circle raised a total of $10,250. Those numbers have continued to grow each year, doubling by 2015 with donations for that year equaling $19,525. Since its inception, circle members have provided $126,600 to local groups and organizations, “enhancing the dignity and opportunity” of the women and children of Madison County.

Many different organizations have received support from the Giving Circle over the years. Some of these are CRISP, Winterset Art Center, Winterset Skate Park, Wildwood Hills Ranch, and Friends of Winterset Library. The only requirements are that it has to help Madison County’s women and children and it has to be a worthy community project.

After the first three years, the Giving Circle’s separate endowment fund reached $10,000. The executive committee may grant, yearly, five percent of the proceeds to a non-profit organization. Qualifying non-profits must have a fiscal sponsor/agent.


A member is classified as a woman with Madison County affiliation or ties who commits to giving $200 per year towards the projects voted on by majority vote. This commitment is $50 paid, by check, at each of the quarterly meetings. Voting rights to choose which group receives funds are given to members in good standing. 

The group meets quarterly at the Sports Page in Winterset. During its meetings, members listen to pitches made by local civic organizations and non-profits who hope to be on the receiving end of the donations. Pitches are four minutes in length and afterwards, there is a four-minute Q & A session. The project that generates the most votes by circle members is the project that receives the funds. Members of the Giving Circle can hear from three groups during the quarterly meeting. 

At each meeting, three different organizations can make a four minute pitch followed by a Q&A of the same length. Occasionally, the Giving Circle will write more than one check per quarter. Even if an organization does not receive a check that evening, they still feel as if they have been supported.

If there are more than three groups who wish to petition to make their pitch, then three names are chosen out of a hat. A fourth group is then usually given one minute of pitch time and one minute of Q & A time. 

Sometimes giving circle members are moved to write more than one check for the evening – and often organizations that present at the meetings, but do not get the final donation vote, still feel some form of support, whether moral or financial.

There are no restrictions on what is considered a worthy community project. As long as it benefits the women and children of Madison County and surrounding areas, Giving Circle members will take it into consideration. Each quarterly meeting welcomes new project suggestions and discussions.

Circle members also encourage other women to take an interest in the community and invite them to attend a meeting.

“Bring your original ideas to our quarterly meetings ... tell your friends and co-workers about the wonderful work we’ve been doing and invite them to join us.”

The next quarterly meeting is set for June 25 at the Sports Page Meeting Room at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on how to become a member or how to have your civic group or non-profit have the chance to make a pitch to the Women’s Giving Circle, contact Ester Mae Cox via email at missestermae@gmail.com or by calling 515-462-6798.                    

Women’s Giving Circle charitable donations 

2012 Giving Total $10,250

2013 Giving Total $11,415

2014 Giving Total $17,265

2015 Giving Total $19,525

2016 Giving Total $20,685

2017 Giving Total $22,150

2018 Giving Total $24,910

2019 Giving Total to date $6,400

Grand total to date$126,600