Honored by: Martha Taylor
Sondra Shaw Hardy is a pioneer in the women’s philanthropy movement in the U.S. and worldwide. For more than forty years, she has been a leader in advancing women’s philanthropy. She is co-founder of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, now part of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. WPI studies gender dynamics in philanthropy and helps advance women philanthropists through research and education.
Sondra authored or co-authored seven award winning books related to women’s philanthropy. She formed one of the nation’s first women’s giving circles in Traverse City, Michigan. She has worked tirelessly fulfilling her dream of every U.S. city having a women’s giving circle. Taking the giving circle concept worldwide, Sondra established Women’s Giving Circles International (WGCI) in 2018. Its mission is to unite women through collaborative giving efforts and create a more sustainable and compassionate world.
Now in her mid 80’s, Sondra has become an inspiration for all to work over a lifetime to increase philanthropic activism for positive social change and improve the common good.
In honoring Sondra, Martha Taylor said, “When Sondra and I met in 1991, we immediately bonded around women’s philanthropy and envisioned its potential. Throughout our long time founding WPI and writing books, my respect and admiration for Sondra grew and we became close friends. Not only is she an inspiration in her professional work, but she is a devoted and loving mother and grandmother. Sondra has been a blessing in my life and the lives of women around the world.
In the first five years of its existence, WPI was housed at the UW-Madison and School of Human Ecology. Thus it is appropriate and meaningful that Sondra is part of the In Her Honor initiative at the UW-Madison.”