Circle of 500

The “Circle of 500” was proposed in May 2009 by two of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial’s charter members as a special fundraising outreach to help the Foundation meet its critical financial needs. The Women’s Memorial is America’s only major memorial to tell the story of women’s service. The Foundation had been struggling to keep the Memorial doors open and, for several months, had literally been operating on a payday-to-payday basis, deferring payment of several service providers. Stunned at the news and shocked that the Memorial potentially could close, one of the women wrote a check for $1,000 on the spot. Both set out with the goal of finding a total of 500 like-minded individuals who believed this symbol of women’s military history and service here in the nation’s capital was too precious and too important on so many levels to just slip away. Individuals began stepping forward to ensure that the Women’s Memorial was as enduring as the contributions made by those it honors.

What is the “Circle of 500?”
The “Circle of 500” has been established as an exclusive nucleus of 500 individuals and/or organizations who are coming together at a critical time to financially help the Women’s Memorial Foundation and the Memorial. Their efforts will help keep the Memorial viable and bridge the gap until other sources of funding become available and the Foundation is on more steady financial footing.

Who can be a member of the “Circle of 500?”
Everyone is eligible for membership in the “Circle of 500.” Membership is exclusive in that it is limited to the first 500 individuals and/or organizations that each contributes a minimum of $1,000 to the “Circle of 500.” These custodians of the Memorial’s future will be known as “Circle of 500 Guardians.” Members will be acknowledged at the Memorial in a highly visible way and will be listed as a “Circle of 500 Guardian” for all time.

How are contributions made to the “Circle of 500?”
Contributions may be made online via credit card by using the Online Registration and Donation Form. When you check the “I am contributing to the general Memorial Fund” entry, you will be asked to designate a $ amount as well as identify the contribution is “in honor/memory” of an individual. You must select one to activate a text box where you will enter “Circle of 500” and the name to be listed as a Guardian if other than the contributor.

Contributions may also be made by cash, check or credit card, using the Foundation’s multi-purpose form (a printable PDF). Only the upper portion of the form needs to be completed. In the entry that states “I would like to designate my contribution … , please write: “Circle of 500.” The mailing address is on the form.

If contributors are not able to access the multi-purpose form, the contributor’s name and contact information as well as the words “Circle of 500,” should be included on a separate paper and forwarded with the contribution. Contributions can be mailed to: Women’s Memorial Foundation, Dept. 560, Washington, DC 20042-0560.

Unless otherwise designated, the “Circle of 500 Guardian” listing will be in the name of the contributor.

Other ways to contribute.
A group can become a “Circle of 500 Guardian” through individual contributions of its members. As an example, a woman veteran organization took up the cause as one of its special projects, soliciting donations from its members. The group can make a lump sum contribution to the Foundation or group members can make donations directly to the Foundation by using one of the methods discussed above at ‘How are contributions made to the “Circle of 500?”’ In addition to designating “Circle of 500,” these contributions must also include the name of the group, i.e. VFW Post #XX, Circle of 500. (Note: The “Circle of 500 Guardian” listing will only include the group’s name, not individual donors.)

An individual can also ask family and friends to sponsor her/him as a “Circle of 500 Guardian,” much like sponsors for a walkathon participant. Donations can be made as with the Group method above. The “Circle of 500 Guardian” listing will include the name of the individual, not the individual sponsors. Sponsors, however, will be identified in the individual’s Memorial Registration for all time as having contributed to the Memorial Foundation in honor of that individual.

“Circle of 500” contributions can also be made in honor/memory of an individual or organization by so indicating on the form, i.e. VFW Post #XX, Circle of 500, in honor of Jane Doe.

Contributions can be made in installments.

When will the opportunity to contribute close?
The opportunity to contribute will remain open until the number of “Circle of 500 Guardians” reaches 500.

For more information, contact the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation public relations staff at 800-222-2294/703-533-1155