CORNING - The Fund for Women of the Southern Tier, Inc. officials called “Inspire” - an annual fundraising dinner Tuesday at the Corning Museum of Glass - a great success.

Chris Sharkey, Chair of the FFW Inspire Planning Committee, said more than 400 people attended the event, which served as a vital fundraising initiative for the organization.

“We had 435 guests, the largest dinner CMOG has ever done,” Sharkey said. “This year, FFW will grant $100,000 to girls and women in the four county area and have a million dollar endowment to ensure the funding stream will continue for years to come.”

Amanda Chafee, President of the Board of FFW, called the dinner the The Fund for Women of the Southern Tier, Inc’s biggest gathering of the year.

“It encapsulates the spirit of our donor base - people, mostly women, who show up every year to support each other and those in our communities,” Chafee said. “We reconnect, we celebrate, and yes, we inspire each other to continue on our mission to assist and empower girls and women right here in the Southern Tier.”

Chafee said the fundraising event included a curated silent auction, dinner and an invigorating and inspiring keynote address by Dr. Meg Lowman.

Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by Wall Street Journal, Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology.

An Elmira native, Lowman is currently the Director of Global Initiatives, Lindsay Chair of Botany and Senior Scientist in Plant Conservation at the California Academy of Sciences.

“We are beyond thrilled Lowman agreed to be our keynote this year. She is the inspiration for one of the nonprofit programs we grant to each year,” Sharkey said. “It was very special to us to have her here to share her insights and her experiences in the treetops, as well as her work in educating our youth about the importance of ecology and our environment.”

Sharkey said The Fund for Women of the Southern Tier, Inc., formed in 2009 with the mission to help girls and women achieve economic self-sufficiency and realize life goals. Learn more about the organization at