Michigan Women's Foundation, 17177 North Laurel Park Dr., Suite 445, Livonia, MI 48152
telephone: (734) 542-3946; fax: (734) 542-3952; URL: http://www.miwf.org/
Center for Women, 25 Sheldon Blvd., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
telephone: (616) 742-2389; fax: (616) 459-8460

Michigan Women's Foundation
Fall/Winter 1992

MWF REPORT, Conversations With Grantmakers
Focus On Current Critical Needs Of
State's Women and Girls

In many ways, 1992 was the Year of the Woman. The election of more women to Congress and increased attention to this issue of sexual harassment in the workplace were two significant indications that women's issues are being taken seriously by more people. But at the same time we celebrate progress in some areas, it is important to note that much more remains to be done if real equity is to be achieved.

In 1990, MWF published Women and the Future of Michigan, a research report that offered information about the issues facing women and girls and an analysis of how Michigan grantmakers were responding to those issues. This fall, the Foundation completed research for an update on that report. Investing in Michigan Women will provide a current picture of the economic, educational, health and safety barriers that are still keeping women and girls from realizing their full potential.

Among the report's findings:

The reality for Michigan women in 1992 is that there continue to be significant obstacles to full participation in the life of our state.

Investing in Michigan Women was developed to address one of MWF's key goals: to provide useful, up-to-date information to Michigan donors -- foundations, corporations and individuals -- about how their resources can help address the critical issues facing over half of our state's population. As the report indicates, it is still the case that fewer than 5% of grants from Michigan' foundations and corporate giving programs are targeted to the specific needs of women.

To find out why and to learn from these grantmakers how they view the idea of focusing resources on programs designed to help women and girls, MWF convened three regional meetings for funders in October, 1992. Participants ranged from representatives of some of Michigan's largest foundations and corporations to representatives of small family foundations.

A summary of their reactions and concerns will be published in January, 1993. Some highlights:

  • While funders generally acknowledge the importance of issues such as economic opportunity, they are not always persuaded that special programs to serve women are the answer.
  • A number of corporations entrust a large percentage of their funding for human services of all kinds to local United Ways, believing that women's concerns will be included in such giving.
  • There is a very strong interest in supporting programs that will help girls develop skills and self-esteem early in life.

    Both the forthcoming research report and the summary report from the regional funders meetings can be ordered from the MWF office. (Please use the order coupon on page 7).

    Irma Elder Fund Established

    Though she is widely recognized as Michigan's most successful woman business owner, Irma Elder is very modest when talking about her accomplishments. She says, "I had a very rough time getting to where I am today -- but many people were very kind to me along the way." She is equally modest when she talks about the fact that she recently established the Irma Elder Fund with the Michigan Women's Foundation.

    The Irma Elder Fund is the second Donor-Advised Fund established within MWF's Endowment Fund. The Astra Fund was established in 1991 by two donors who wish to remain anonymous.

    With an initial contribution of $100,000, the Foundation established its Endowment Fund in 1991. Contributions to the Endowment fund are invested and interest from the Fund is used to support Foundation programs and project, including grantmaking.

    Any individual or organization may establish a Donor-Advised Fund within the Endowment and advise the Foundation as to how the interest from the fund is to be used. Another option is an outright gift in any amount, earmarked for the Endowment Fund.

    Irma Elder is the owner of Troy Ford in Troy and Signature Lincoln-Mercury Jeep-Eagle in Owosso. Her many and varied volunteer activities include the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Women's Economics Club.

    Of her philanthropy, Elders says, "We have to help each other. I try to give back to my community in a number of different ways each year. And I believe it's especially important for women to help other women get the training and help they need to become economically self-sufficient." She is quick to tell you that she wants no fanfare for establishing her fund, but the Trustees and staff of the Foundation applaud her leadership in supporting programs and projects that benefit Michigan women and girls.

    Program Update

    Fifth Grant Cycle -- The Foundation began its fifth grant cycle on October 1 by issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects serving women and girls. MWF will award $50,000 in grants during this cycle.

    Nearly sixty nonprofits serving communities all over Michigan responded to the RFP with written proposals, representing a total funding request of $371,000. These proposals describe projects that address one or more MWF priorities:

  • Improved economic opportunities for women and girls;
  • Improved management of nonprofit organizations serving women and girls;
  • Leadership development opportunities for women and girls.

    The Foundation's Grants Distribution Committee, chaired by Trustee Tish Preston and composed of 15 women who represent diverse backgrounds and geographic areas, will review the proposals and develop funding recommendations for approval by the MWF Board of Trustees. Grant awards will be made on or about February 15, 1993. For more information about the Foundation's grantmaking program, contact Deborah Frederick, Project Director, at 517374-7270.

    Women in the Skilled Trades - On October 20, the Michigan Women's Foundation and the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a meeting in Lansing to discuss women's employment in the skilled trades. For facts about women in the skilled trades, see cover story, "MWF Report, Conversations."

    The purposes of the meeting attended by the representatives of women's organizations, other human service agencies and government, were: (1) to inform participates about the Department of Labor's Women in Skilled Trades Initiative and other employment programs targeted to women; (2) to identify relevant issues and barriers to women's employment in the trades; and (3) to develop plans for future action.

    MWF and the Women's Bureau of USDOL are continuing to collaborate with participating organizations to explore ways to open up the skilled trades to women and to support those who chose to pursue that career route.

    Women's Voices -- Since August, the Michigan Women's Foundation and the Nokomis Foundation have worked jointly to facilitate the development of a strategy for implementing the recommendations of the Women's Voices Project.

    The Ms. Foundation for Women of New York and the Center for Policy Alternatives of Washington, DC produce the Women's Voices Project. It is a unique project combining a public opinion research poll, focus groups, and the release of a major policy analysis on the findings. The research involved in the first-ever bi-partisan analysis of American women's attitudes and opinions across class, racial and regional lines, with oversamples of African American, Latina and Asian American women. Though the project found that when you asked women what they want their concerns are many, the top three issues identified by women are combining work and family, low pay, and hiring and job discrimination.

    The role of MWF and the Nokomis Foundation has been to convene a group of representatives form a diverse group of women's organizations, who are currently developing a plan for using the findings and policy recommendations of Women's Voices as a springboard to work toward an improved quality of life for Michigan women and girls throughout public policy and legislative change.

    MWF Contributors - 1991/92

    Our sincere thanks to over 500 individuals and organizations who made generous contributions to the work of the Foundation during the year ending 9/30/92.

    Four pages of entries appear in the original newsletter.

    Getting to Know...
    Linda M. Gobler

    "The Michigan Women's Foundation is a great example of how women can share their knowledge with and be supportive of other women," says Linda M. Gobler. The MWF Board and staff are pleased to welcome Gobler as a new Trustee and to have her share her unique blend of skills and knowledge with the Foundation.

    Gobler has served as President of the Michigan Grocers Association since 1988, after having served the association as Vice President of Government Relations for three years. AS President, she directs the activities of the 1,200 member Michigan Grocers Association and the michigan Grocers Service Corporation. She is the chief spokesperson for the association and is a strong advocate for the independent retail grocery industry and oversees the million dollar Service Corporation coupon redemption program that assists retail grocers in redeeming coupons from manufacturers.

    Prior to working for the Association, Gobler was a Legislative Annalist with the Michigan House of Representatives. Her chief responsibilities were in the area of public policy development in the fields of public and mental health care delivery, financing, and regulation. Prior to that, she was a Director of Community Development for the Great Lakes Urban League.

    Among her professional affiliations, Gobler is a board member of the Greater Lansing Food Alliance and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the American Society of Association Executives. She was appointed to the Michigan Travel Commission in 1990, serving as vice-chair of the Commission and, as a member of the Commission, setting policy for travel and tourism promotion in Michigan. She also serves as president of the Oxford Foundation, board vice-president of the Council Against Domestic Violence, a Citizen Advisory Board member for Consumers Power, and a board member of the Ingham County Adolescent Health Advisory Board.

    A graduate of Michigan State University, Gobler received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work. Outside the office, she manages to find time to scuba dive, play golf, read and go "antiquing." She lives in Williamston with her husband, Dennis Schornack.

    Gobler gives two reasons for agreeing to serve on the Foundation Board of Trustees. First, she was recruited by Trustee and Senator Lana Pollack. Of Pollack and the Foundation, she says, "She has inspired me to be a part of this organization, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work the Foundation does."

    Gobler continues, "Second, I believe the Michigan Women' Foundation is truly the link in the chain, providing the necessary dollars for many organizations to 'make the next move,' and go on to be more successful organizations on their own. The Foundation is a service that has been needed for a long time --- and I have always had a strong personal belief that we all need to give back to our communities."

    Finally, Gobler says, "I am committed to spreading the word about the Foundation, knowing that the more professional women who know about the Foundation, the more will support its work."

    The Foundation is proud to have the partnership of Linda Gobler in its work on behalf of the women and girls of Michigan.

    Publication Order Form

    Please send one copy of:
    __Women and the Future of Michigan - Research Report
    __Women and the Future of Michigan -- Conference Proceedings
    Enclosed is a check (payable to the Michigan Women's Foundation) in the amount of $___ for each item ordered @ $2.50 per item.

    Please reserve one copy of:
    __Investing in Michigan Women -- Research Report
    __Investing in Michigan Women -- Meeting Proceedings
    Note: You will be billed $2.50 for each reserved copy when mailed.

    Daytime Phone ( )____________________
    Mail to: Michigan Women's Foundation, 119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A, Lansing, MI, 48912

    Why Do Our Donors Give to MWF?

    Ruth Lezotte (Okemos): I admire the women who serve as Trustees for the Michigan Women's Foundation, so I've taken their lead in supporting an organization that works on behalf of women and girls. And I give to the Foundation simply because it's the right thing to do.

    Catherine Davis (East Lansing): Women have suffered historical injustices and my money helps to gain equity for women. I believe that it's important to support to women -- if you help women to put their lives together, they'll someday serve as role models for other women.

    Jo Jacobs (Kalamazoo): I give to the Michigan Women's Foundation because it's the only Michigan foundation whose major focus is on women and girls -- in fact, there isn't another that I know of that's even 50-50.

    Mindy L. Richards,. Administrator of Oakwood Downriver Medical Center (Lincoln Park): We are a small 68-bed hospital and have had the good fortune to employ many very qualified women in all positions including top management. I am constantly aware of the challenges presented to women in the business arena and support organizations which empower women and girls.

    Carole Chiamp (Detroit): I believe tin the help given to women by the Foundation and also appreciate how hard the Board of Trustees works to accomplish its goals. I give because I mean to put "my money where my mouth is" and "there's no time like the present."

    Board of Trustees

    Bobbie Butler, Equal Employment Officer, Michigan Department of Corrections
    Hilda Patricia Curran, Michigan Department of Labor
    Teresa S. Decker, Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett
    Judith C. Frey, President, The Issue Network Group, Social/Political Activist
    Linda M. Gobler, President, Michigan Grocerss Association
    Beth Goebel, Executive Director, Dyer-Ives Foundation
    Pearl M. Holforty, C.P.A., CEO, Liberty BIDCO
    Mildred M. Jeffrey, Board of Governors, Wayne State University (Emerita)
    Florine Mark, President, The WW Group Inc.
    Helen W. Milliken, Community Leader and Activist
    Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D., Chief Physician, Ford Motor Company (retired)
    Lana Pollak, State Senator, 18th District
    Tish Preston, Senior Associate, Henry Ford Health Care Corporation
    Mary Jo Pulte, Owner, The Lodge at Yarrow
    Maureen P. Reilly, Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals
    Tessie Baltrip Sharp, Assistant to the Provost, Wayne State University
    Marylin H. Steele, Ph.D., C.S. Mott Foundation (retired)
    Jane R. Thomas, Ph.D., School of Medicine - Wayne State University


    Susan Church, Executive Director
    Deborah B. Frederick, Project Director

    MWF and Trillium Notes
  • The Michigan Women's Foundation was established in 1986 as a way to increase support for programs and projects that empower Michigan women and girls. One over 60 women's funds in the United States, MWF uses your contributions to make grants to a variety of women's organizations. In addition, MWF provides training and consultation to women's nonprofits through the state to help these groups strengthen their management. The Foundation also works to increase public awareness of the needs of Michigan women and to encourage other foundations, individuals and the corporate community to increase their support of women's programs.
  • MWF is a partnership of donors, volunteers and women's nonprofit organizations from across Michigan. For further information, contact the Foundation office.
  • Trillium is a publication of the Michigan Women's Foundation.
  • Our logo, a trillium, is a wildflower often found in Michigan. It blooms in abundance from early May through late August. It was commonly used by Michigan Indians to ease the pain of childbirth. The trillium is also the symbol for modest beauty.
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