January 26, 2022
With a $1.5 million dollar donation, the Gemini 3 Group of Stafford, Virginia is partnering alongside the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia for its philanthropic goals in the region. We recently asked G3G President and CEO Linda Blakemore to share some thoughts on the importance of philanthropy.

Why did you choose to partner with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia on your philanthropy?

No matter where, a community foundation is a good place to invest. Community foundations in general are established to help local philanthropists invest wisely in people and programs in their communities. Marshalling the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses, community foundations provide grants dedicated to improving the lives of people in that locale. Consequently, these foundations can play a role in identifying and solving community problems, as well as rewarding attempts to address them. Thus, when I began to explore possibilities for charitable giving, my first thought was to find a nearby community foundation where my money could do good for individuals and the community as a whole. I did my homework and explored community foundations in several nearby cities and counties close to my home and work.

The reception I received from all the representatives of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia was the deciding factor when I made my choice. Of course, I examined its financial stability and the expansive community outreach, but it was the personal touch that made the difference when I decided to establish The Gemini 3 Group Charitable Fund. From my initial inquiry to the follow-up communications with various members of the Foundation team, I have felt valued and welcomed. Responses to my questions have been prompt professional and full of enthusiasm! Your administrative support makes charitable giving easy, effective, and even enjoyable, and I am inspired by your responsible and attentive management of charitable funds that allows for a little autonomy, too. In short, I have felt that I am truly appreciated as a donor and that my fund will be an asset to the organization.

Can you tell us about that fund – how will it be used to support the community?

I have always been keenly interested in the needs and goals of women and girls. I am a wife, have a sister, two sisters-in-law, and a strong mother; and I am the owner, President, and CEO of a thriving Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB). In my spare time, I referee local high school girls’ field hockey and lacrosse games, play tennis, and serve on several community committees. I have surrounded myself with female friends and associates who complement me in talent and skill, some of whom will be helping me in making philanthropic recommendations for the Gemini 3 Charitable Fund. What contributes to the success of these women in a variety of careers and activities? What motivates them? How did they develop the character and sensibilities that have made them effective leaders in their communities? What can we do to help young women evolve into individuals who can one day contribute positively in their own neighborhoods and lead others in the wider community? Therefore, our charitable efforts will be concentrated on issues, projects, and programs primarily affecting girls between the ages of eight and eighteen, the most formative years of their lives.

 
Do you have any specific goals for the fund? 

Although we are in the initial stages of planning, I know that an emphasis on preparing young women to become happy, healthy, and productive citizens is the core mission. Research shows that investment in women and girls reduces poverty, raises productivity, and accelerates the economy. Women and girls who are strong, confident and positive role models in their families and neighborhoods increase their earning power and help to break the cycle of poverty and create healthier communities. These positive changes can last for generations. Recently, I am reminded of how Covid-19 has impacted communities creating even more hardships for women and girls economically, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Who better than women to identify and understand the needs of other women? Research indicates that gender matters in philanthropy. Women and men think differently about charitable giving. As women grow in wealth acquisition and take a more active role in their communities, they want to see their impact during their lifetimes and beyond, especially on issues affecting generations of women to come. I get excited about the possibilities for funding research, scholarships, grants, projects, and programs that will benefit girls and inspire philanthropy in other women!
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