Next fall, 80 Detroit-area at-risk young women will spend four days at a retreat house taking critical steps toward meaningful employment. Over 500 miles away in Calumet (located on the Keewenaw Peninsula in the U.P.) 15 at-risk young women will learn to become peer educators. In both instances, the young participants will play a vital role in designing and implementing these projects -- giving them an opportunity not only to become economically self-sufficient but also to become leaders.
These two projects and ten others were awarded Foundation grants on March 10. MWF channels donors' support to programs that enable women and girls to become self-sufficient and to become leaders in their communities.
Grant awards made during this fourth MWF grant cycle total $52,368. With these awards, the Foundation has awarded 39 grants totalling over $200,000 since our founding in 1986. MWF grants have been made in cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids, as well as in small towns and rural areas. These grants have supported programs ranging from home repair and financial education programs for women to programs that help women enter the work force or start their own businesses.
MWF's grantmaking focuses on three goals:
Alternatives for Girls ($5,000). This Detroit-based organization serves young women and girls 5-20 years old in the metropolitan Detroit area, who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless because of poverty and dysfunctional families. AFG offers both emergency shelter and a highly-structured transitional living program, as well as street outreach, aftercare, prevention and substance abuse treatment services.
MWF's grant award will support a retreat focused on education and employment issues facing the 80 young participants. Planned, organized and evaluated by these young women, the retreat will provide intensive support, workshops, rap sessions, training in concrete and personal skills by business professionals, team goal-setting and action step planning. This retreat, paired with post- retreat follow-up, evaluation and group support, will enable them to take effective steps toward meaningful employment.
Note: The Alternatives for Girls project is funded in part by the Astra Fund. The Fund was established within MWF's endowment in 1991 by two anonymous donors. For more information on establishing a Donor Advised fund, see Page 7.
Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home for Abused Women ($1,750). This domestic violence shelter, located in Calumet and serving Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in the Upper Peninsula, will use its MWF grant to provide peer education skills training to young women who have experienced or at risk for teen pregnancy, substance abuse, domestic violence and economic dependence.
The training will include topics such as domestic violence, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, decision making, leadership issues, communication skills and the how-to's of public speaking. After completing their training these young women will offer a one-day conference for local female high school students, as well as presentations throughout the school year to high school classes and community groups. Aimed at assisting young project participants to develop leadership qualities, to become active participants in the community and to gain and maintain economic self-sufficiency, the project will provide a model for young women helping other young women.
Domestic Violence Project, Inc./SAFE House ($8,000). Serving Washtenaw County, this domestic violence shelter has been providing safety and advocacy for battered women and their children for nearly two decades. Among the first shelter programs developed in Michigan, DVP is a leader in battered women's services.
MWF's grant will support a project that will enable DVP to capture many years worth of client and other data into a computer data base. This database will aid DVP in its systems advocacy and fundraising efforts, as well as provide a domestic violence data base that can be used statewide for program and public policy development.
Eastside Mother's Club ($5,000). Located on the eastside of Detroit, Eastside Mother's is a grassroots neighborhood organization where families join together with volunteers to address the causes of family separation, substandard living conditions and high school drop-out rates. They counsel, coach, teach and support low-income parents to "make the best of life" -- through systems advocacy, workshops and one-on-one training in patenting skills, meal planning, where and how to shop for food and other family needs, and enrichment programs for youth.
MWF's grant will support a volunteer leadership project that will provide volunteers with training in counseling techniques, recordkeeping, computer use and business management, enhancing their capacity for assisting the families they serve.
Escanaba Business and Professional Women's Organization ($1,080). The Escanaba Business and Professional Women's Organization promotes the interests of women in the workplace by providing opportunities for education, leadership, public speaking and networking for working women. BPW encourages members to act as role models of girls and young women as they set goals for education, career and family.
The Women Helping Girls with Choices Project is a six-week program developed nationally by BPW to encourage communications between mothers and daughters and includes sessions on family and career options, budgeting and other financial matters, and values clarification and self-awareness. The program will initially be targeted to 6th grade Delta County girls and their mothers.
Michigan Metro Girl Scout Council ($3,000). Serving girls in Wayne and southern Oakland counties, Council programs prepare girls for the future by providing concrete guidance and positive role models, emphasizing critical life skills, girl planning an decision making, pluralism, community service, self esteem, career development and leadership.
MWF's grant will support a pluralism training program for 2,300 adult volunteers designed to increase their leadership skills through increased awareness of cultural similarities and differences among people, unfair practices, racism and discrimination in the community, and how these issues can affect motivation, achievement and self-esteem in girls. The training will also provide leaders with tools for creating a pluralistic environment that fosters respectful, comfortable interaction among people of all ages regardless of race, culture, language, disability or socioeconomic status.
Mid-Michigan Alliance for Community Development ($6,000). MMACD is a designated Community Action Agency serving six mid-Michigan counties, offering a variety of programs to individuals and families living at or near the federal poverty level. These community-based programs range from emergency food pantries and food co-ops to health screening and day care centers.
MWF funds will support a comprehensive series of financial planning/management workshops to be provided to 20 Clare County women who are economically disadvantaged and heads of their households. The workshop topics will include: values; financial choices; self-esteem and assertiveness; goal- setting; options for importing financial status; budgeting; banking; taxes; and wellness. Volunteers, recruited from a local bank and other organizations, will provide the training, as well as act as mentors to the participants for one year after the training.
Oakland County Community Coordinated Child Care Council ($5,000). The Oakland County 4C Council is a planning, organizing, coordinating, training and leadership body working to improve the quality and availability of child care in Oakland and Livingston counties.
State of Michigan requirements to become a licensed family day care provider are minimal and include no training. This project will train 40 child care providers in a comprehensive fifteen-hour training series designated to upgrade the skills of participants. Training topics will include: safety, health and nutrition; business aspects of family child care; developmental toys and activities; guidance and discipline; meeting diverse needs of families; professionalism and parent/provider relations.
Planned Parenthood Centers of West Michigan ($5,607). This private, nonprofit health agency provides reproductive health care to over 20,000 women and adolescents through ten medical centers in eight western Michigan counties.
MWF will fund an in-house management training program focused on the organization's mid-level managers. The training program will address the special operational concerns of Planned Parenthood staff, foster a team concept, and provide continuity of management, and will include on-going management support through an in-house managers' newsletter.
Relief After Violent Encounter, Inc. (RAVE) ($6,431). RAVE is a growing domestic violence shelter serving over 500 women a year in Clinton and Shiawassee counties.
The MWF grant will support the development of a strategic plan for RAVE. External consultants will: interview the RAVE board of directors, executive director and key staff and gather service, resource, personnel and growth potential data; facilitate a series of work sessions with the board of directors and executive director focused on identifying an organizational vision; and assist the board and staff to translate the organizational vision into an implantation plan.
Safe Shelter, Inc. ($2,500). Safe Shelter provides temporary shelter, counseling and support services to victims of domestic violence in Berrien, Van Buren and Cass counties.
With a MWF grant, Safe Shelter will purchase its first computer system. A local corporation will donate the software. The system will assist the shelter in maintaining accurate client records, give them quick access to client statistics and information for referrals and intervention, provide the community with accurate data on the scope of the problem of battering and the shelter's effectiveness, and enable them to do routine office work and publish newsletters, flyers, handouts, and other community education materials.
Women's Resource Center - Grand Rapids ($3,000). This Women's Resource Center, serving seven western Michigan counties, provides educational, career development, employment training and placement services to women from all economic, educational and age backgrounds, with an emphasis on helping them to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.
In the Comprehensive Employment Program for Women, the Center will work cooperatively with Goodwill Industries to provide a five-stage program to 120 low-income and minority women. The program will include" case management and career planning; employment readiness and life skills training; employment training; job placement; and one year of supported job retention services. Project objectives include placement into jobs paying at least $7.00/hour.
During this grant cycle, MWF received over 80 letters of intent and 30 full proposals, each reviewed by our Grants Distribution Committee. The Committee is composed of 17 women from throughout Michigan who use their diverse knowledge and experience to develop funding recommendations for final approval by MWF's Board of Trustees.
We extend our thanks to this year's Committee members for their hard work and commitment to the goals of the Michigan Women's Foundation: Harriet Beach, Geraldine Ellington, Barbara Ryan Fuller, Beth Goebel, Jennifer Grondin, Mildred Jeffrey, Marsha Kreucher, Kathrin Kudner, Nancy Lewis, Mary Powell, Tish Preston, Mary Jo Pulte, Michelle Richards, Tessie Baltrip Sharp, Jane R. Thomas, Ph.D., Holly Underwood, and Cassandra Woods.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has awarded the Michigan Women's Foundation grant of $150,000 over three years to support a very special new project: the Michigan Women's Self-Employment Network.
The Network is a partnership among three women's non-profit organizations who are providing services to women -- many of them low-income -- who want to start their own businesses. Network members are: the Women's Initiative for Self Employment (Ann Arbor Community Development Corporation); Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women; and the Supportive Entrepreneurial Project (Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan). Each of these three programs has received grant support from the Michigan Women's Foundation in the past. Now they will work together under MWF's coordination to strengthen their individual programs and develop joint initiatives.
Ninety percent of the grant support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will be channelled directly to the three participant agencies to enable them to strengthen their services to women who have graduated from their training programs. Network member organizations will provide assistance to women business owners in the areas of marketing, record-keeping and business planning.
Other Network activities will include exploring the establishment of a bartering system among women business owners in all three communities, and the development of research and training materials to help other organizations establish women's self-employment programs.
Says Susan Church, MWF Executive Director, "For many women, establishing a business is the solution to true economic self-sufficiency. The three members of the Self-Employment Network are doing a remarkable job of helping women who want to become self-employed. It is our hope that the Network will enable them to do much, much more -- and encourage other organizations to consider developing such programs.
"We are especially grateful to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for its partnership in this effort an for its ongoing leadership inn supporting economic development initiatives in Michigan and throughout the country."
This spring, MWF's third annual gala benefit dinners will honor three outstanding women who are leaders and innovators in the health care field:
Sharon M. Buursma is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Visiting Nurse Services of Western Michigan and is known throughout western Michigan for her innovative work in home health care.
June E. Osborn, M.D., known nationally and internationally as a leader in the public health field, is the Dean of the School of Public Health and a Professor of Epidemiology, Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at The University of Michigan. She is perhaps bet-known as the Chair of the U.S. National Commission on AIDS.
Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D., was the first African-American woman to graduate from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1943. She was in private practice as an internist for thirty years and served as the Chief Physician for the Ford Motor Company. She has been widely recognized for her work on behalf of the Metropolitan Detroit community and is an MWF Trustee.
Jane R. Thomas, one of the gala's four benefit Co-Chairs, says, "We felt that the health care was a timely focus for this year's benefit because of its priority as a state and national agenda item. The three women we are honoring are leading the way in building a health care system that meets the needs of all our citizens. And each of them epitomizes the work we're doing at the Michigan Women's Foundation to increase leadership opportunities and improve the quality of life for the women and girls of our state." Other Co-Chairs for the event are Bobbie Butler, Teresa Decker and Pearl Holforty.
Two dinners will be held -- the first in Grand Rapids at the Amway Grand Plaza on Wednesday, May 20; the second at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency on Tuesday, June 9. Proceeds from the $125/ticket events will support MWF programs, including our grants.
Past MWF benefit dinners have honored labor leader and community activist Mildred Jeffrey (1990) and Michigan Supreme Court Justices Patricia Boyle and Dorothy Comstock Riley (1991).
For more information on benefit details, tickets and souvenir program book ads, call the Foundation office at 517/374-7270.
Mary Powell first became involved as a volunteer with the Michigan Women's Foundation when a work assignment sent her to a MWF-sponsored Women's Survival Skills workshop series on personal financial management in Southfield. As a Community Development Specialist for the Detroit-based Neighborhood Service Organization, Powell has daily contact with women who lack the skills they need to become economically self-sufficient. She hoped that the Women's Survival Skills series would provide the kind of financial management skills that NSO clients needed.
Powell was so impressed with what she saw happening in the WSS workshops that she decided to become a volunteer workshop facilitator and planning committee member. She says that, "I felt that the WSS workshop and other MWF programs were providing an excellent source of empowerment for women -- something that the women I work with ended to improve the quality of their lives." She later convinced the planning committee to bring the WSS workshop series into Detroit and was instrumental in organizing a highly successful six-week workshop series at Detroit's Marygrove College attended by over 200 women.
The Neighborhood Service Organization is a social services agency that operates a variety of programs designed to meet human needs in the Metro Detroit area. Its founding principle is unique -- to maximize the impact of resources available for direct services by quickly adjusting to changing and unexpected community, family and individual needs. Mary Powell came to NSO with the kind of unique background that would help her carry out the NSO founding principle.
Powell says, "I've been there," when talking about her understanding of NSO residents' concerns and needs. Her personal experience and understanding are combined with organizing and motivational skills learned in her work with many civic organizations, schools and agencies. Additional experience in public relations and a business administration education have taught Powell how to assess and respond quickly to a changing environment.
Most recently, Powell has continued her volunteer relationship with the Michigan Women's Foundation by serving on MWF's Grants Distribution Committee, which develops funding recommendations for approval by our Board of Trustees. Her experience, perspective and commitment to improving the lives of women and girls added immeasurable to the process of making this year's MWF grant awards. (See our cover story, "MWF Awards Grants Totalling More Than $52,000 to 12 Agencies.")
The Michigan Women's Foundation is fortunate to have the perspective and expertise of many women whose commitment and experience greatly enrich MWF programs and grant-making. Mary Powell's down-to-earth understanding of the issues and her vision of women's potential make her a very special partner in MWF's work.
MWF is proud to welcome Pearl M.Holforty, C.P.A., one of the most distinguished women in Michigan finance, to the Board of Trustees.
Holforty retired as a partner from the Southifield accounting firm of Plante & Moran in early 1992 to become the CEO of Liberty BIDCO, a new financing source for Michigan businesses. Business and industrial development corporations -- BIDCOs -- were established in Michigan under a 1986 state laws and are designed to provide "middle-risk" financing to businesses that have more risk than banks are able to finance and that will not provide the returns expected by high-risk, venture capital investors.
The Liberty BIDCO vision grew out of a 1986 meeting sponsored by the Michigan Department of Commerce's former Office of Women-Owned Businesses. At the meeting, women business owners complained that they lacked credibility with financing sources. Holforty notes that Liberty BIDCO will look at all businesses -- not only women's businesses -- and expects to work with all segments of the busies market.
Besides playing a pivotal role in making Liberty BIDCO a reality, Holforty has been a small business owner herself and has been active with the Women's Economic Club of Detroit and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has been a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and is active in a long list of business and finance-oriented organizations. She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from Wayne State University.
Holforty says she supports the work of MWF because, "The Foundation emphasizes the economic education and development of women and women' s organizations. Women, in general, have a long way to go to feel comfortable discussing money, to take risks with money for themselves and for causes, to understand the power of using money to make a statement for their beliefs. Individual women, as well as women's organizations, need to learn how to ask for money to support the very important work being done on behalf of women."
I first visited Congress in 1961, when I was an eighteen year old political science major. When I looked down from the gallery and saw the country's business being pursued by the almost all white male Congress, it did not strike me that something was missing, something was wrong. It was years before I realized that the absence of women is a serious flaw in our imperfect democracy.
There are still many women and men who do not recognize that in a representative democracy, the composition of the bodies that make laws should reflect the composition of their constituents.
By and large, America's 127 million women are not represented by their elected officials. At no level of elected office do women hold more than 18 percent of the available positions, even though we make up more than half of the population in the United Sates.
Women are particularly poorly represented at the federal level. Women lawmakers hold 30, or 5.6 percent, of the 535 seats in the U.S. Congress -- 28 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and only two of the 100 seats in the Senate. Another woman serves as the House's non-voting delegate from Washington, D.C.
We are better represented at the state level, but we have a long way to go before we reach parity. About 18 percent of state legislators are women, although in Michigan we slip slightly below the national average with 15 percent. Three of Michigan's 38 state senators and 19 of our 110 state representatives are women.
It is important that women be fully represented at the federal, state and local levels of government. Women comprise 51 percent of this country's population. We cannot continue to let ourselves be seen as another special interest minority group when we are not. Women have different priorities than men, and female lawmakers have different policy priorities than male lawmakers.
A study of state legislators in 1988 and 1989 by the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University showed that women legislators are much more likely than men to put legislation regarding children and families among their top five priorities. Thirty-eight percent of women legislators in the preceeding session had at least one bill concerning these issues, compared to only 13 percent of men. Also, 10 percent of women had at least one bill on women's issues, compared to only 3 percent of men.
A 1989 study of the Colorado State House of Representatives by the Center for the American Woman and Politics showed that women act on thier particular poicy priorities differently than thier male colleagues. Women are more likely to propose innovative legislation for solving old and new problems than to try to modify existing laws. When those bills fail, they are more likely to reintroduce them in subsequent years.
Women legislators are more likely to target state spending to people than to commissions and regulatory bodies, and they are more liikely to sponsor no-cost protective regulatory bills. Finally, they are more likely than men to use government agencies to iplement policy goals when money is involved, enabling them to monitor how the money is spent.
When women are absent from the political process, some viewpoints simply will not be considered and some outstanding ideas will never see the light of day. We must battle to be sure women are well represented in the political process, because we cannot continue to expect men to act in our interests.
Every issue is a women's issue, but women legislators bring a special perspective to children's issues and family issues because we are much more likely than men to have taken care of children and/or aging adults. To women, balanced budgets, pay equity, sexual harassment, affordable housing, minimum wage, family leave, domestic voilence, and equal education opportunity are not abstract issues; they are life's everyday challenges. And unlike our male colleagues, women consider legislation concerning reproductive rights as people who have been pregnant in the past or would be pregnant in the future.
We have to be heard, buy the only effective way to turn up the volume is to increase the number of women officeholders. Unfortunately, many women will go out of their way to excape being a part fo politics.
Madelein Kunin, the former governor of Vermont, said, "It is not lack of polling data or campaign contributions which keeps many women from ascending higher on the political ladder. It is fear and loathing for the political system itself."
Although I have served in the Michigan Legislature for 10 years, I continue to find both men and women who are uncomfortable with a woman in an adversarial role. The political process need not be a bloody battleground, but conflict and competition is inevitable. I am often someone's adversary.
Women in our society are not socialized to compete and conquer; we are socialized to smooth over conflicts at all costs. It is increasingly clear that women must become more comfortable with conflict and with the scrapes and scars that come with competition. Until we can fight without fear or apology, we will not be taken seriously by the millions of men who can. And, until we fight in the centers fo power, we are at risk of losing the critical gains we have made since my first trip to Washington, D.C. in 1961.
Most people have grown to expect men to hold the positions of authority, but women in such positions are seen as curiosities and are, as a result, somewhat less likely to be able to serve effectively. By increasing the number of women in politics, we will make it much more likely that our presence is seen as normal, our voices are heard as reasoned and our votes counted when our tax dollars are allocated.
Women need to put themselves forward as candidates for office at every level. Our problem is less our ability to raise money that it is our ability to find voice for our own ambitions. Until we promote ourselves and each other for elective office, we will suffer the consequences of a society that diminishes us as citizens and that puts individual women and our families at unnecessary risk.
Senator Lana Polack is a State Senator representing the 18th District and a long time Trustee of the Michigan Women's Foundation.
The new demand of women for political enfranchisement comes at a time when
unsatisfactory and degraded social conditions are held responsible for so much
wretchedness and when the fate of all the unfortunate, the suffering and the
criminal is daily forced upon women's attention in painful and intimate
From the beginning, the Michigan Women's Foundation was designed to encourage the participation and support of as many people as possible. One of the Foundation's key goals is to increase the number of philanthropic dollars -- and the number of donors -- devoted to the specific needs of Michigan women and girls.
Donors to MWF are really investors in the economic future of the girls and women of our state. Through grants to a wide variety of organizations and through programs designed to strengthen those organizations, the Foundation fosters women's self-sufficiency. By involving knowledgeable and committed people in our grantmaking and program development, MWF assures donors that their philanthropic dollars are well spent.
There are a number of ways to make your investment.
General Contributions: Your contribution of cash or securities to the Michigan Women's Foundation is a statement of your beliefs. It says that you share a commitment to equity -- and that you are willing to help make it a reality.
Gifts in Honor: You can designate your gift in honor of a woman who has made a difference in your life -- mother, sister, friend, teacher, colleague or mentor. The Foundation will acknowledge your generosity (without specifying the amount) to whomever you designate. Such contributions make wonderful remembrances on birthdays, Mother's Day, anniversaries and other special occasions. In the case of memorial contributions, we will acknowledge the gift to family members or whomever you designate.
Special Events: Every year, MWF honors one or more women of outstanding accomplishment by holding two gala dinners -- one in western Michigan; one in southeastern Michigan. These enjoyable and entertaining evenings are a special opportunity to support the Foundation's work. In addition to purchasing tickets, supporters can also purchase advertisements in the galas' souvenir program book.
Note: your contributions, gifts in honor of special women and special events tickets and advertisements can be charged to your VISA or MasterCard account. If you would like to make your contribution on a quarterly or monthly basis, please let us know, and we will automatically put through the charge on the schedule you select.
Donor Advised Funds: Establishing a donor advised fund is an excellent way to become more directly involved in women's philanthropy. Such a fund is an agreement between the Foundation and a donor (or donors) that MWF will administer a substantial contribution on the donors behalf, along guidelines mutually agreed-upon by the donor and the MWF Board of Trustees. The minimum gift for establishing an MWF Donor Advised Fund is $5,000, with the expectation that the donor(s) will continue to add to the fund over time.
Bequests, Trusts and Insurance: Designate the Michigan Women's Foundation as a beneficiary through a will and/or an insurance policy is an especially thoughtful way to support the work of the Foundation. In addition, your financial advisor can tell you about charitable trust options which allow you to support MWF and which may also reduce your own and your heirs' tax liability.
Employee Matching Gifts: your employer may have a policy of matching your contributions. If you work of an organization that has such a policy, your gift to the Michigan Women's Foundation can be increased substantially. Check with your employer's Human Resource or Community Relations department to find out what procedures are required to have your gift matched.
Payroll Deduction: You may be able to designate all or part of your contributions through your workplace fundraising campaign to the Michigan Women's Foundation. Check the campaign literature you received and/or ask your workplace campaign representative about this option.
Have A Party: One of MWF's Trustees invites all her friends to celebrate her birthday each year and asks that instead of buying her gifts they bring a contribution to the Michigan Women's Foundation. Other friends have hosted receptions in their homes to which friends were invited to hear more about the Foundation. MWF welcomes these opportunities to involve new people in our work; if you'd like to host such a party, please call the Foundation office at 517/372-7270.
Join Us... Whatever methods of participation you choose, we welcome your involvement and your support. Please write or call the Foundation if you would like more information.
Equal Employment Officer
Michigan Department of Corrections
Hilda Patricia Curran
Michigan Department of Labor
Judith C. Frey
President, The Issue Network Group
Executive Director, Dyer-Ives Foundation
Pearl M. Holforty, C.P.A.
CEO, Liberty BIDCO
Mildred M. Jeffrey
Board of Governors
Wayne State University (Emerita)
President, The WW Group Inc.
Helen W. Milliken
Community Leader and Activist
Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D.
Chief Physician, Ford Motor Company (retired)
State Senator, 18th District
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
Deborah B. Frederick
Sabra G. Graves