About Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy

Did you know that women have been part of NC State since the university’s earliest days? At least two (Ellen McGuire and Sue Carroll) were on staff within a year of doors opening to students in October 1889. By 1901, Margaret Burke had enrolled as the first woman student, and Adeline Stevens became the first woman faculty member in 1902, kicking off a series of “firsts.”

We’re proud of the milestones and accomplishments that followed as, over the decades, our Pack of women has grown. During the 2019-20 academic year, for the first time, the incoming class included more female students than male.

Our Founding

We believe Wolfpack women are poised to do even greater things and make even more of a difference at our university and in our world.

That’s why, in October 2018, at the invitation and leadership of Ann Goodnight and Susan Woodson, a volunteer group came together to dream about a new initiative to transform women’s philanthropy at NC State. University staff members, supported by Chancellor Randy Woodson and Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Brian Sischo, earlier had explored and identified a clear challenge and desire to boost women’s philanthropy.

We’re excited to provide a hub of connection and influence; position more women to serve on leadership boards; bring together generations of alumnae, students and faculty from all disciplines to learn from one another; spread the word about and celebrate Wolfpack women making their marks; educate the public about university needs and the impact of philanthropy; and more.

NC State already has a core of women who are philanthropic and influential leaders in advancing its mission and strategic goals. Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy builds on that foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does this group exist?

Women are the fastest growing philanthropy group with wealth, influence and commitment to leading change. There are more than 100 data points from research indicating that gender matters in philanthropy – women have different motivations and giving patterns. NC State wants to engage women in ways that acknowledge their preferences to maximize commitment of women’s untapped time, talent, treasure, ties and testimony to the university. The chancellor and the vice chancellor for University Advancement are committed to supporting our work. While we have no governing or decision-making role, we are fortunate to be part of a university ecosystem keen to collaborate and we hope to be a powerful source of influence. Increasing the engagement of women as donors, volunteers and advocates is a tremendous opportunity for our university. Our group also brings together a wide range of women encompassing alumnae, friends of the university, staff members and more.

How did this group get started?

Following a first meeting in autumn 2018, and with initial guidance from Karin George and Susan Pettyjohn from Washburn and McGoldrick about the overall picture of women’s philanthropy, some 40 women completed thoughtful research into similar efforts across the country; learned what’s already in place through NC State’s colleges and other units; and shared their thoughts at large visioning sessions and smaller gatherings. A Steering Committee – a subgroup of this larger working group — continued to refine the resulting ideas, goals, strategies, structure, leadership roles and other details. In June 2020, Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy transitioned to its formal leadership structure.

What are your key objectives?

We have identified three initial areas of focus:

  1. Engagement and Recognition: Build a sustainable, engaged network of women who will help secure the future of NC State.
  2. Leadership and Advocacy: Gain support for and implement plans with key university boards to increase women representation.
  3. Philanthropic Development: Grow the amount of financial contributions by women to the university.

What does this group do?

We have exciting plans! In many ways, we don’t reinvent the wheel but tap into the many activities already taking place across campus, bringing them to our network’s attention. We are involved in major events such as Day of Giving and Pack Appreciation Day. Our group holds meetings that also highlight areas of NC State, with a tour of the JC Raulston Arboretum and a discussion panel at the Entrepreneurship Garage, for example. We want to educate women both about the amazing things happening at NC State and about the importance of philanthropy and its impact. We want to educate various stakeholders about the importance of a holistic fundraising and engagement culture that embraces the diversity and strength of our Wolfpack.

Why should a woman get involved with Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy?

While women have always had a role at NC State, the university was more predominantly male in its historic culture. But the number of female students has grown steadily; the 2019-20 incoming class was the first to have a higher percentage of women than men. Nearly 40% of our living NC State alumni are women. Our group believes it is important that women see themselves in our leadership, philanthropy and engagement. Participants in Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy are leading a charge to make that happen. This group offers incredible chances for networking, or netweaving, mentoring, education and development. Participants will get insider peeks, learn more about NC State and philanthropy, and have chances to connect and engage with leading volunteers, senior staff, top faculty and students. Our group bridges disciplines, areas of the university and generations. There is strength in the Pack, when it comes to collective impact. We embrace a wide range of women and paths of involvement at NC State – and we have fun together.