There’s something inherently beautiful that happens when a group of like-minded women come together, look at what is in their hands, and move to act for the good of others. Issues in our world can feel insurmountable, so moments like this are necessary to root our hope in our collective agency to influence our own circles, and let those circles influence circles, until the impact is exponential.

One such group of women gathered in Los Angeles during Women’s History Month for a Darling x Rare Impact Fund dinner at Paloma, Venice to address the global mental health crisis and converse about the role of female philanthropy, and how we can collectively model generosity and purposeful giving.

We began the evening hearing from Elyse Cohen, the Vice President of Social Impact and Inclusion at Rare Beauty who leads the Rare Impact Fund, a non-profit launched by Selena Gomez with the goal of raising $100M to expand access to mental health services and education for young people. She shared her passion for the fund and the role that she believes women with compassion for this crisis play in shaping the future.

As the appetizers were served, Sarah Dubbeldam, the Founder of Darling, explained the format for a traditional “Darling Dinner,” which includes eye contact (no phones), talking through three intentional table questions, and the importance of vulnerability, which always brings deeper connection and impact.

She opened by sharing her own struggles with severe anxiety and depression and how in her process of healing, realized that her greatest passion was helping women grow and nurture what she calls our “inner state of being,” which is our individual and sacred internal world–mind, heart and psyche–that we alone know and experience every day. Through her magazine and clothing line, Darling, she’s been curating content around self-esteem, relationships, body image, and mental health for over 12 years.

Her first table question posed was centered around her own experience of finding her life passion through hardship and pain.

What has brought you a sense of purpose in your life—and what hinders you in any way from living it out?

It’s so comforting to sit across the table from someone who is sharing a vulnerable story and feel like you can find your own story in theirs. This question made strangers fast friends as we discovered how life experiences shaped what we are each doing with our days to improve the world around us.

Question two, posed alongside the beautiful entrees for the evening, was:

How can we model how generosity is an act of service, accessible for all?

On this topic we discussed how generosity is all relative, we can all give our time, talent, and resources depending on the amount we’ve been given in each season of life. Many of us noted how there’s often a stigma around giving being reserved for the financially elite, so we explored how we can change perceptions and inspire people to center their lives around generosity.

To wrap up the evening, we brought the question full circle, asking:

What would it look like for you personally to give your time, talent, or treasure toward the crisis of mental health in our culture?

This required each of us to dig deep, thinking about all that’s in our hands, right in front of us, that we could contribute toward this crisis.

Over dessert, Elyse shared how to get involved with Rare Impact Fund and iterated the power of our own stories to bring forth beauty, healing, and compassion, because the truth is, it’s the little things, brought forward by the collective whole, that grow and shift the world.

As we left our tables, we shared warm hugs and plans to convene in the future, but most importantly, were left with a sense of empowerment to model what it looks like for each of us to live our generosity, day to day.

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