Women Of Compassion Make No Small Plans

Nancy Searle of Winnetka and Marjorie Craig Benton of Evanston recently received Women of Compassion awards at a luncheon benefiting UNICEF.

The event was hosted by Town & Country Editor-at-Large Pamela Fiori.

“Everyone has the capacity to make a difference in their own way. I ask each of you to consider the possibilities … and make no small plans.” This call to action by Searle during her acceptance speech captures the spirit of the event, the hostess and UNICEF.

Benton’s insightful description of children around the world struggling with basic needs, and the developed world’s opportunities and obligations to help them also inspired the guests.

Gabriella Mistral, Chilean Nobel Prize Poet, said it best,” Benton quoted. “‘We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning children, neglecting the foundation of life. Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed.”

UNICEF advocates for children’s rights, helps meet their basic needs and expands opportunities for children to reach their full potential. UNICEF’s primary goal is zero deaths caused by preventable means. There is much work to be done to accomplish this— on average 21,000 children die each day from easily preventable causes.

Fiori, who started helping UNICEF in 2004 and is now a national board member, declares, “In some places, a bottle of clean water is more valuable than a bottle of diamonds.”

The Women of Compassion Luncheon grew from UNICEF’s need for support from affluent, engaged American women who want to make a difference. Fiori explains, “Without the wealthy, organizations like UNICEF that help women and children everywhere wouldn’t exist.” She helped UNICEF understand and grow this strategy while she was Town & Country’s Editor-in-Chief and she launched the New York City Snowflake initiative. Thanks to Fiori, each winter a giant Baccarat crystal snowflake representing donations hangs at 57th and Fifth Avenue, and an annual black tie gala is held.

Fiori’s work has been effective: The morbidity rate has dropped by over 5,000 deaths per day since 2004. But, as mentioned above, there is still much to be done to bring that number down to zero. More Women of Compassion who make no small plans are needed. UNICEF hopes these awards will inspire many others to help.