The 13th annual fundraiser for the New Albany Women's Network on Saturday, March 2, will help rebuild the organization's endowment fund.

The 13th annual fundraiser for the New Albany Women's Network on Saturday, March 2, will help rebuild the organization's endowment fund.

"With the economic decline and the stock market decline, the value of our endowment has dropped," said Kerri Mollard, the network's public relations chairwoman.

Previous fundraisers have benefited charities.

Mollard said this year's goal is to raise $40,000 to rebuild the endowment fund. The fund now contains $125,000, according to network officials.

The March 2 cocktail mixer fundraiser will feature a signature cocktail created by a local business, Tessora Liqueur, live music from The Conspiracy Band and a silent auction featuring 2013 season tickets for the Ohio State University football team.

The event will start at 7 p.m. at Winding Hollow Golf Club, 6140 Babbitt Road in New Albany. Admission is $50; reservations can be made online at

Mollard said the New Albany Women's Network board established its endowment fund at the New Albany Community Foundation in 2003. The network board uses the fund to "strengthen and support various community causes, especially related to the empowerment and betterment of girls and women," according to the community foundation's website.

"Ten years ago, the NAWN board established an endowment fund with the New Albany Community Foundation," said Mia Johansson Strench, who was president of the network board in 2003. "It was important to the membership to create a permanent fund and legacy that would continue to grow over the years to support NAWN's mission of offering assistance to women's and children's causes in our community.

"As our community grows, so does the need for support," she said. "It's wonderful to see how the NAWN endowment fund has been able to help numerous worthy causes over the years."

President Craig Mohre said the New Albany Community Foundation works with the Columbus Community Foundation to manage the endowment fund, investing the money and helping it earn interest

Mohre said the "forward thinking by (the network's 2003) leadership" has allowed the network to provide grants on its own and to partner with other organizations to fund collaborative initiatives.

"By establishing an endowment fund, early NAWN leaders planted seeds to empower future NAWN leaders to have an even greater impact on their community," Mohre said. "As the endowment grows, so too will NAWN's ability to further shape and impact this community for the betterment of all its residents."

Since its inception, the endowment fund has provided two $2,000 scholarships to high school students for the past three years and funded the following community programs: New Albany Safety Town, which teaches children the importance of road safety; a homework help center at the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library; the New Albany Community Garden; the New Albany-Plain Local School District's visiting author series; and the New Albany Special Olympics.

The New Albany Women's Network was founded in 1998 as a social and charitable organization for local women.

"As one of the original founders of NAWN, my first goal of NAWN was to be a philanthropic organization," Julie DeVito Butler said. "I knew that pulling together talented, resourceful and giving women could make a powerful impact on the community."

Cherie Nelson, the network's first president, said it was formed "to share information, build friendships and strengthen the feeling of community within our beautiful village of New Albany," and it became much more.

"Many of the women I'm proud to call close friends today I met over coffee around our kitchen tables during those early days," Nelson said. "Personally, the idea of a social women's network that also cared about charitable giving appealed to me.

"You can join a play group, help plan a big event, suggest a charity, participate in a book club, be a sustaining member or just simply enjoy receiving the newsletter. I love that there are no specific membership or volunteer requirements. Like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it."