About Sondra Shaw-Hardy
Sondra Shaw-Hardy, J.D., was described by Town and Country magazine as “the pioneer” in women’s philanthropy.
Since 1995 she has authored, coauthored, or coedited six books including, Women and Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World; Reinventing Fundraising: Realizing the Potential of Women’s Philanthropy; Creating a Women’s Giving Circle: A Handbook; The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy; Youth Giving Circles: Inspiring Youth to Bring About Change; and Women’s Giving Circles: Reflections from the Founders.
An advancement officer for over twenty-five years, her work has been quoted in national and international media including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CASE Currents, Town&Country, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Financial Times, Delta Sky, Vanguard Charitable, Health Magazine, Womenenews, Bloomberg News, Boston Globe, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Philanthropy UK Newsletter, and many others.
Sondra graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in education and, from the Thomas Cooley law school, passing the Michigan Bar in 1985.
She has founded or cofounded numerous nonprofit groups and, with Martha Taylor, cofounded the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, now a program of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Visualizing the growth of women’s philanthropy, Sondra chaired the first national meeting on the subject, Women and Philanthropy: A National Agenda, in 1993 at the Johnson Foundation, Wingspread.
After forming one of the first giving circles in the nation in 1999 in Traverse City, Michigan called “Three Generations Circle of Women Givers,” Sondra’s dream was that every city in the United States would have a women’s giving circle. These giving circles now number in the hundreds, and Sondra has helped initiate scores of them. She has been called “the mother of giving circles.”
She has received many honors, but the one given in 2008 from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University means the most to her. Sondra and Martha Taylor received the first “Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Moving Women’s Philanthropy Forward.” The Shaw-Hardy Taylor award will be given next in 2011.
She was elected to the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners and was the first woman on the county board and had gubernatorial appointments to several Michigan State boards. Active politically, Sondra has participated in many campaigns, primarily doing fundraising and media.
She was a founding board member of A Fund for Women at the Madison, Wisconsin community foundation and a former board member of the Michigan Women’s Foundation.
Sondra is a philanthropist and an active community volunteer in Traverse City, having served on the boards of the Women’s Resource Center and the Munson Regional Hospital Foundation. She was a founding committee member of the Traverse City Film Festival, responsible for fundraising.
Currently, she is a contributing columnist to Citicorp’s Women & Co website and newsletter and an associate of Inspired Legacies, Ross, CA.
Sondra has three children and is very proud of her grandchildren and their early interest in philanthropy and helping others.