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January 10, 2013

Alumna Janet Robnett Serves as President of the Women’s Gift Alliance

Oregon Law alumna Janet Robnett ’80 currently serves as president of the Women’s Gift Alliance (WGA), a nonprofit organization in North Idaho dedicated to fulfilling the needs of the community. WGA’s mission is to pool the talents and resources of women in Kootenai County to provide meaningful support to a broad range of charitable, cultural and educational projects. 

WGA began in 2004 when 50 women in the county joined together to address the needs of the community using grants. The alliance inspires new and experienced donors by offering women the opportunity to participate in educational forums, direct the grant making process and associate with the nonprofit community.

“Our members are becoming educated philanthropists by taking part in the Grant Committee, reviewing the excellent work of the Grant Committee Members or voting on the pooled grants,” said Robnett.

Each member of WGA contributes $1,050 per year for three consecutive years. From that, nearly half of the money gets distributed through the grant application process. The rest of the money goes to individually designated gifts (IDGs) and the endowment fund. Many of the IDGs end up going to different nonprofits in the area. The pooled grant fund contributes to two large grants given out each year, which totaled $25,000 each in 2012.

“As grantors, we're able to make big gifts that have far greater impact than what most of us would otherwise do —being able to write a check for $25,000, twice, rather than $50 here or $100 there,” Robnett said. One recent grant, given to Hospice of North Idaho, was used to install a specialized hydrotherapy bathtub.

The impact of the grant can take multiple forms including creating new ventures, addressing a significant community need, fostering collaboration or enriching the fabric of the community. The impact of each project is taken into consideration when WGA selects the grant recipients.

WGA currently has more than 100 members and has donated more than $500,000 to different nonprofits.

“As president, I'm just trying to keep the ball rolling,” said Robnett. “I help as much as possible to build awareness of the opportunities through WGA to our members and our nonprofits.”

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