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The New Philanthropists – Donor Profile Featuring Jeninne McGee

By Jeninne McGee, YWCA Minneapolis Donor and Board Member
May 30, 2017
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“I have always been struck by one word in YWCA’s mission. We use the word EMPOWER; not help or support. I feel like that word drives a more powerful outcome. If you really think about that word it is about giving power to a group of people that may not have that today. Help can stop. Support can go away but once empowered, a person can have that forever. Those people are then able to use that power to build communities, families and businesses. It changes the dynamic of our world socially, politically and economically. We are a stronger community when people are empowered.”

How long, and in what ways, have you been involved with YWCA Minneapolis?

My first involvement with YWCA was as a health and wellness member in the early 1990s when I was living downtown. I reconnected with YWCA through the Circle of Women luncheon event four or five years ago. I found the event and the stories from the speakers so moving. Seeing the impact of this work on the lives of women, girls and families was amazing.

How did you come to be a donor? Why did you give to YWCA Minneapolis?

I became a donor after attending Circle of Women at the invitation of a former YWCA Minneapolis board member, Penny Meier. I have included YWCA Minneapolis in my annual giving plan since my first Circle of Women luncheon. About a year after that first lunch I started thinking about what organizations I wanted to include in a legacy giving plan. After reaching out to several organizations and meeting with them to get a really good picture of their mission and contributions to the community, I included YWCA Minneapolis in legacy giving. I feel legacy gifts coupled with annual gifts is a way to ensure a strong future for YWCA Minneapolis.

Why did you decide to chair the Circle of Women Purse Committee?

If you could include a picture of my closet you would know why! I love purses. It is my one super girlie vice. Also, in every board I have been on I have been in financial roles. This was a chance to do something completely different for me. The decision to co-chair was easy once I saw the strength of the committee. These women are AMAZING!

What do you want your gifts to accomplish? Why is that important?

I would like to see girls, women and people of color ready to join a world where their limitless potential is valued.

Part of that is creating that world and the other part is helping people get ready to be successful in that world. I think YWCA Minneapolis addresses both of those things, and I want my gifts to contribute to that.

What would you like to pass on to the next generation, e.g., your children, your nieces and nephews, other children?

I would like to see us create a world where no generation sees themselves as limited by something other than their own ability and aspirations. I would like to see the end of firsts. No more first woman to…first African American to…

Who have been the leaders and mentors in your life’s journey? Why and how have they affected you?

I feel like I take something positive away from almost every person in my life. I have had mentors off and on, but I have grown most by seeing what I can learn from all the people in my life.