Biola’s Ruby Women honored with CASE Gold Award

Biola’s ministry for women was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Ruby Women connects females in the Biola community with opportunities to serve, learn, give, and travel. | Courtesy of

Augusta McDonnell, Writer

Ruby Women connects females in the Biola community with opportunities to serve, learn, give, and travel. | Courtesy of


Ruby Women, a young Biola University ministry, was awarded the Gold Award for Principal, Major or Special Giving Fundraising Programs from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in February. 

Maria Zalesky, co-director of Ruby Women, said the opportunity to put the new program before CASE was a great platform for the ministry to go before peer schools.


A committee of people from various universities receive submissions in each category from a number of public and private schools on the west coast, Zalesky said. After that, the committee reviews each submission and then chooses the gold, silver, and bronze awards.

“It is very competitive so being given the highest award is an honor for Biola,” said Zalesky.

The Ruby Women ministry began in October 2012 as a result of a data study compiled in the same year by Women Doing Well, a national survey Biola participated in.

“Women Doing Well is exploring and advancing one of the key ingredients in American philanthropy: women of faith who give generously and influence others to do the same,” said Jay Hein, former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. “This vital organization is at the leading edge of increasing understanding of the stewardship needs of women and helping the marketplace relate to women effectively.”


Kristen Hahn, co-director of Ruby Women, said the new ministry is for friends, parents, and alumnae of the university.

“Ruby Women is Biola’s resource for women to learn, serve, give and travel together. These are the four pillars of Ruby Women.”

Hahn explained that Ruby Women is different from a lot of women’s ministries because it offers an active opportunity for women with a passion to impact the kingdom through Biola and invest in something significant such as Biola’s students.

“All four pillars are a part of this,” she said.

At this year’s ministry fair, Ruby Women had a booth to inform students and offer mentoring connections for young women and Ruby Women, according to Hahn.

“We had an abundance of girls show interest — more than we had mentors,” she said.

Hahn explained that Ruby Women continues to connect young female students at Biola with a group network of mentors.
The ongoing mentoring ministry is just part of the services Ruby Women offers, Hahn said. Women are also given the opportunity to meet the needs of incoming international students, as well as volunteer through partnerships with local organizations throughout the year.

Hillary Larkins, interim manager of university events, said that Ruby Women will be assisting Biola alumna Diana Smiley’s non-profit organization Generation Her in its upcoming donation drive on Biola’s campus. The drive will last the entire month of March as part of Women’s History Month.

“Collection boxes will be placed all around campus for donations of anything from diapers, formula, baby clothes, even cribs,” Larkins said.

At the end of March, the materials will be collected and distributed to teen moms in need.


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