Since 1998, the New Albany Women's Network has been an organization committed to creating a strong New Albany community.

And it has done just that, especially with its partnerships with the New Albany Community Foundation and the New Albany Plain-Local School District.

Every year, NAWN provides a way for women who live, work or have an interest in New Albany to connect and give back to the community -- and that's the reason why I joined more than 10 years ago. I feel so fortunate to be part of a community that cares about its residents -- and an organization that does the same.

As this year's NAWN president, my vision is for the organization to continue its mission of building a strong community and to look for ways to even do more.

The organization has grown from 10 founding members in 1998 to close to 400 members. We are diverse when it comes to ages, backgrounds, careers, skills and interests, but we have one goal: to make a difference in the New Albany community we call home and love.

Since its founding, NAWN has raised more than $1 million for deserving local charities and organizations committed to the empowerment and betterment of women and children.

The core of NAWN's charitable giving is its endowment fund. Established in 2003, the income from the fund supports worthy local causes or other nonprofit organizations.

Through the fund, NAWN has been able to support such organizations as the New Albany Safety Town, the Columbus Metropolitan Library and its homework help center, Healthy New Albany and its community garden, the Plain Township Fire Department and New Albany Special Olympics.

The endowment fund also allows NAWN to support a New Albany-Plain Local author-residency program with annual donations of $7,000 and to award two $2,000 scholarships to New Albany High School seniors in good academic standing who demonstrate commitment to community service, an excellent spirit of leadership and cooperation and exemplary school citizenship.

We also were able to provide five families with toys, clothes and gift cards for gas and groceries during the holidays, and we have collected school supplies and helped provide meals for community members going through any life event.

Every year, the NAWN Charity Fashion Show supports a local beneficiary, and our committee always has raised or met the requested amount or need. Last November's show supported She Has A Name, an organization committed to fighting human trafficking through education, collaboration and survivor care.

NAWN is strong because of its members, and I invite residents to go to nawn.org, check out An Evening in New Albany on April 12 (proceeds benefit the endowment fund) or contact me at president@nawn.org if you know of deserving local organizations or residents that need our help.

We all can make a difference for everyone who lives and works in New Albany.

Kristen Hamrick is president of the New Albany Women's Network. She was invited by the New Albany Community Foundation to write its monthly guest column for the ThisWeek New Albany News because the organizations collaborate on many community projects and programs, according to foundation president Craig Mohre.