Over the last month, we’ve been featuring supporters from all over the country who were drawn to the Circle of Sisterhood because of its Founder, Ginny Carroll, and the book that inspired her, Half the Sky. For Nicole Hughes, CofS’s longest donor, it was hard to read the book straight through because many of the stories were painful to read.
“I knew that if I felt this way just reading these stories – I couldn’t bear to imagine what it’s like for women to live through injustices like forced prostitution, gender-based violence and maternal mortality – that I must work to be part of the global solution,” Nicole said. “Reading Half the Sky opened my eyes to so many levels of injustice against women across the globe that I wanted to be part of an organization that would work to support women and work to change the world for the better for girls and women.”
Nicole started off as a small donor because she knew that ALL gifts make a difference in developing countries. She has continued to support CofS throughout the years and she volunteers her time as well. Nicole went on the first school build trek to Senegal in 2013 when CofS began its school build program and has volunteered to serve as a facilitator on two additional treks to Nicaragua and Malawi. She enjoyed working alongside the people of those communities and spending time learning about their culture. Standing with them to break ground on facilities that would educate and empower girls and boys for generations has been life-changing experiences.
In addition to giving her time and treasure, Nicole also volunteers when CofS attends collegiate regional conferences to spread the word about CofS to the campus partners.
“It’s clear when talking with sorority women that they are passionate about the organization and eager to be involved and make a difference,” Nicole said. “It’s a great accomplishment to have an organization that has multiple generations of women involved in giving, leading, and educating others on the issues.”
She enjoys watching how CofS brings young women together to make the world a better place for girls and women.
“It is my hope that visibility to the issues which women face in the developing world – access to healthcare, education, autonomy to make life decisions – will resonate with college women and alumnae in a way that will compel them to engage in lifelong work to solve these issues across the globe,” Nicole said. “ I hope they will fiercely protect and fight for them.”
As CofS approaches its Day of Giving on Wednesday, Nicole is looking forward to commemorating all that CofS has accomplished, as well as seeing what lofty goals are being set for the next several years. In an effort to hit those goals, Nicole encourages people to take part in a match donation program or do what she does with her company’s Paycheck Withdrawal Program. Because CofS is a 501c(3), her employer deducts a gift with every paycheck. This year’s virtual anniversary celebration provides a great reason to donate to CofS.
“When we first started shutting down in March, one of my first thoughts was about the communities I lived with on Treks because all three communities lack sanitation infrastructure (running clean water, garbage removal, sewer treatment),” Nicole said. “I worry every day about how COVID is affecting places in the world where it’s difficult to distance and where access to medical treatment requires a multiple mile walk.” And with so many girls projected not to return to the classroom because of this pandemic, Nicole feels this need to support CofS is as important as ever.
Nicole will continue to give to CofS, especially during this difficult time, and we hope you will join her, the board of trustees, staff, volunteers, and donors in donating on CofS’ Day of Giving September 30th. You can donate here. We also invite our entire Circle to be part of the 10th Anniversary virtual celebration featuring best-selling author Sheryl WuDunn, by clicking here to receive the official invite to this Zoom event on September 30th at 7pm ET.
As CofS shares more stories like Nicole’s leading up to its Day of Giving, be sure to join the conversation by telling us if you prefer to give back with your time, talent, or treasure. Be sure to tag CofS on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, as well as use #BeHerHero to come together as we work to open doors to opportunity through education.