Empower women. Eliminate poverty.

Bloomington Circle


Joanne Baum


When Joanne “Jo” Baum moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Colorado in 2016, she missed aspects of her old life. She could not import all her friends, the mountains, or Friendship Bridge’s Genesee Circle to which she belonged, but she could begin a Friendship Circle to connect with like-minded women locally. She met a woman who was very enthusiastic about being involved in Friendship Bridge and encouraged Jo to form a Circle, saying she would be the second member. In October 2106, the first meeting took place and since then we have grown from 8 to 15 members. Bloomington Circle members already supported many non-profits and opportunities for social change and social action locally and globally. Jo is grateful for the women who have joined her in forming this Circle of dedicated women who care about supporting enterprising and resourceful Guatemalan women in addition to their previous commitments. Two Bloomington Circle members traveled to Guatemala in February 2017 and four members went in February 2018.


We are still learning about each other and where we are headed as a group. Our Circle members have enjoyed engaging with speakers via Skype to learn about Friendship Bridge in more detail. We are planning more informational/educational meetings to decide how we can help encourage Circle initiatives that focus on Guatemalan women’s health, business entrepreneurship, and education. Membership in the Bloomington Circle is open to all local women who believe in empowered women changing their own lives.

We meet monthly at each other’s homes and have had potluck brunches, dinners, and evening meetings where we plan our future projects. We have had two annual events to sell tipica with delicious food and drinks and participated in the Health for Life Campaign, September 2017.  As we learn more about Friendship Circle Bridge we become more committed to its mission.

Why we support Friendship Bridge

All Bloomington Circle members have had experiences in their own lives of breaking through personal and societal barriers to fulfill their own dreams.  As we learn more about the women in Guatemala through their stories, we can relate to universal women’s experiences – juggling family and work, career, entrepreneurship, and societal barriers.  The Guatemalan women’s spirits and zest for life continue to inspire us as we live our lives and plan future events.