SHE is an Active Advocate. SHE is a Phenomenal Philanthropist. SHE is Barb Collins, our SHEro!
Barb Collins has 35 years of experience in nonprofit management, strategic development, and board governance and innovation. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in Gerontology (a multidisciplinary study of aging), Barb began her career in management and public relations for a retirement community in Blacksburg, Virginia. Ensuing positions took her north to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where roles in resource development and alumni relations at William Mitchell College of Law and St. Norbert College gave her extensive experience organizing, managing, and working with boards and nonprofits. A life altering trip through Tanzania lit a flame within Barb to serve in a more impactful way. Barb was determined to find a way to show that one individual could reach across the ocean and make a difference in the lives of others.
In 1993, after moving her family to Greenville, a causal invitation to a potluck dinner celebrating her neighbor Marsha Wallace’s birthday started a movement that is changing the way the world works. Fueled by their joint passion, Barb and Marsha founded Dining for Women from their dining room tables. Dining for Women is the world’s largest educational giving circle, dedicated to transforming lives and eradicating poverty among women and girls living in the developing world. Their philanthropic model is proving that small contributions and individual actions, aggregated together, can make a deep and transformational impact in the lives of both the giver and receiver.
With over four hundred chapters and 8,000 members spread throughout the U.S., Dining for Women celebrates the power of the individual to see an injustice and act to change it. Since the first chapter meeting in 2013, over $7 million has been raised, funding 214 projects, in 142 organizations, in more than 40 countries. Last year they celebrated the launch of an inaugural collaborative partnership with a $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps “Let Girls Learn” initiative, funding 39 projects in 23 countries, breaking down barriers to educate 2,416 girls.
In 2014, Barb was named an Everyday Freedom Hero by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. After many years serving as chair of the Dining for Women Board of Director’s, Barb continues to serve on the Board, chairs the Resource Development Committee, and sits on the Grants and Partnership Oversight Committee. In 2015, she earned her Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Board Chairs through BoardSource. As Co-Founder of Dining for Women, Barb frequently speaks and serves as ambassador for the organization.
Barb still lives in Greenville, with her husband Greg, a Siberian Husky named Annie, and a feisty cat named Phoenix. Barb is a member of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church. Her older daughter (Nora) is a banker in Charlotte, while her younger daughter, (Jeanette) works in marketing and management in Jacksonville. Barb’s mom, Jo, recently moved in with her, adding a welcomed generation to the household. Barb is currently writing her father’s memoir, A Book of Hope in a Turbulent World, which she hopes to publish by December.