50 women voting on how we spend $100,000

Become a Member of the Designed For Joy Giving Circle


Designed For Joy Founding Giving Circle members
Melanie Freshour, Shanon Baggett, Bernette Stivers, Malinda Stevenson, Cari Combs, Ruth Payne, Rachel Withers, Erin Treece, Tomiko Lane, Terri Cabot, Shana Overdorf, Taralyn Farrell, Abigail Roush, Stephanie Akerman, Alison Edwards, Beverly Dudley, Cathy Vogt, Kathi Prancan, Cristina Butler. Yvonne Veach, Melissa Buscher, Sabina Beri, April Blanks

50 women. $100,000.

Where you put your money is important- to you and your community.

Presented by....
We are looking for a sponsor who is excited about founding a very profitable and impactful project. Learn more about sponsoring by emailing us here!

Designed For Joy’s Founding Giving Circle invites 50+ women to launch a $100,000 fundraising goal in 12 months. A new service group for women wanting to make an impact, with little time commitment and high influence.

Designed For Joy provides women in crisis with stability through immediate employment and support, removing the stigma of vulnerability.

To date, we have hired over 100 women with $300,000 in living wages earned.

Give personally or fundraise to support your pledge of $2,000. 
$2,000 per person. $500 quarterly. $167 monthly. Just $42 a week.

Your donation helps to directly impact the bottom line and impact of Designed For Joy. 

Founding Giving Circle members’ experience will include:

  • Four quarterly voting meetings in the DFJ studio
  • Intimate story telling of artisans
  • Name posted in the studio and on our website
  • Private shopping event at Christmas, open house for friends and colleagues 
  • Quarterly reports on spending 
  • Quarterly stakeholder newsletter
  • Community of women invested in changing the lives of trafficking survivors, single mothers under the poverty line, women experiencing homelessness, and support fair chance work for those with previous justice involvement
  • Opportunity for leadership roles including chair committees
  • No additional volunteer or giving requirement

“I already volunteer, but I want to be more involved.”

Vote on how we spend $25,000 quarterly.

As the year goes on, needs for the studio and our women will change. You decide on expenses such as

  • Purchase materials for producing all of our Christmas goods
  • Serve all women with a wheelchair lift at the studio
  • Provide 3 months of pay for 6 artisans
  • Fund new machines in the production space
  • Better serve our women with a case manager on staff


An option for women who don’t have a lot of time but want to make a real impact.


Meeting dates for 2024 are April 30, September 3, November 19, and February 4 at 6:30pm at our Studio, 517 W Cabarrus St., Raleigh

It is not required to attend each meeting. See Guidelines below.


    Join here!
    1. Your membership start with completing the form below. (You are not required to attend a meeting to start your membership.)
    2. Start your giving by making your first donation or creating a peer to peer fundraising page here.

    2023 in Review

    $38,479 Raised by 30 Women Through Our Giving Circle. Here is how those funds were spent to benefit our mission and women - all voted on by Giving Circle Members.

    Quarter 1: Supported 1,200 hours of work last summer with the purchase of leather for a very large wholesale order and a new commercial-grade sewing machine, providing permanent work for a fourth sewist.

    Quarter 2: Enabled Holiday Pop-Up technology, allowing us to have iPads and card scanners for the many Christmas vendor shows. Provided a Christmas bonus and special holiday party for all of our women and a plus one. What a special night it was, having dinner with husbands and young adult children!

    Quarter 3: Covered North Hill’s location rent for the year in support of our new career readiness program. Our brand placement in this up-and-coming shopping center will broaden our brand reach and increase awareness of our mission.

    Quarter 4: Covered the cost of building a shower for our women in the studio, allowing safety, privacy, and flexibility of time around hygiene needs.

    What an incredible year of impact! Thank you, Giving Circle Members.

    Guidelines and Procedures

    1. All leadership positions and members have support of Cary Heise, Executive Director, and Grace Morris, Executive Assistant
    2. Each vote is on the funds raised in that quarter.
    3. In the case that a need it met by our community after the Giving Circle has voted on that item, members may approve funds to be given the needs receiving the second most votes.
    4. All events are held in person to create and foster community. 
    5. Make sure to check with employer to explore company match options.
    6. Rolling memberships with a 12 month commitment.
    7. To join, complete the membership form. You do not need to attend a meeting to make your commitment.

    Photos by 627 Photography 

    Email us here with questions on the Designed For Joy Giving Circle or volunteering.