In Flint, young mothers are finding unique ways to build secure futures for themselves and their children. In Detroit, Hispanic women have started a cooperative "cottage industry" to sell their hand-crafted products. In Marquette, women want good paying jobs but need to learn how to gain access to skilled trades that can offer them higher wage scales. What all of these women have in common is a dream -- to become economically self-sufficient.
With its 1993 grants, the Michigan Women's Foundation will help women and girls in nine Michigan communities realize their dreams. Nine grants totalling $50,000 were awarded on February 10.
With these recent awards, the Foundation has awarded 48 grants totalling over $250,000 since our founding in 1986. Our grants have been made in cities, small towns and rural areas from Marquette to Benton Harbor, from Grand Rapids to Detroit. They have supported a wide variety of projects ranging from one that helps women start their own businesses to another that teaches them how to do their own home repairs, from a girls' leadership program to a strategic planning project for a women's nonprofit.
MWF channels donors' support to programs that enable women and girls to become self-sufficient and to become leaders in their communities. Every grant awarded by MWF focuses on at least one of three goals:
Tish Preston, chair of the Committee, praised Committee member for their commitment to the goals of the Foundation and the time and energy they devoted to this year's grantmaking, including Harriet Beach, Geraldine Ellington, Barbara Ryan Fuller, Beth Goebel, Mildred Jeffrey, Marsha Kreucher, Kathrin Kudner, Mary Powell, Mary Jo Pulte, Michelle Righards Vasquez, Tessie Baltrip Sharp, Jane R. Thomas, Ph.D. and Cassandra Woods.
This Foundation is proud to present its 1993 grantees:
Association for Children for Enforcement of Support ($8,000).
ACES estimates that over $2.3 billion in child support is owed to the women and children of Michigan, contributing to the poverty of over 500,000 Michigan children living in single-parent female headed households. Through grassroots organizing and advocacy, ACES empowers and educates low--income women to seek and obtain child support and to advocate for the institutional changes that will help increase enforcement of child support orders. The Foundation's grant will support he development of a network of local ACES chapters in Michigan.
Chrysalis, a unique grassroots program founded and governed by a group of Flint-area teen mothers seeking to escape poverty, provides safe, decent and affordable housing and supportive services to young single parent families. MWF's grant will allow Chrysalis to take the next step toward meeting the needs of these young women with the addition of a second staff position. The new part-time case manager will provide orientation, comprehensive case management, volunteer mentoring and parent support group services to Chrysalis residents and other young mothers.
Grateful Home ($4,000).
Grateful Home is the oldest substance abuse and transitional housing program for women in the City of Detroit and its Dreamweaver program is the only substance abuse treatment center in Michigan which accepts women and their children up to seventeen years of age. With grant support from MWF and volunteers form the community, a new Mentor Project will help these women learn that women in their situation can and have succeeded and that there is a life beyond a world of drinking and taking drugs.
Hispanic Women's Center ($2,000).
The Hispanic Women's Center -- Centro de la Mujer Hispana -- was founded to support and empower low--income women who live in Southwest Detroit and has grown to include a cooperative cottage industry through which women can sell their hand-crafted projects. The Foundation's grant will help support the operating costs of a donated van that will ensure women's access to both the center and to arts and crafts shows and other markets for their products.
Michigan Capitol Girl Scout Council ($2,500).
Girls from migrant families face disrupted schol years, frequent moves, and economic pressure to work in the fields. Deprived of educational and leeadersip opportunities and unable to see a future for themselves outside the migrant way of life, many of these girls opt for marriage and childbearing at an early age. Michigan Capital Girl Scout Council, with a grant from MWF, will offer Ingham County migrant girls a summer scouting program designed to foster the development of self-esteem, leadership skills, and decision-making.
Operation ABLE of Michigan ($6,855).
A significant problem fo older low-income women job seekers in Metro Detroit is a lack of personal computer training courses that can give them the basic skills and hands-on experience that they need to get and keep a job -- a problem magnified by the fact that older women have not grown up with computers as younger women have and by the fact that most courses do not meet the unique learning needs of these owmen. Witth the Foundation's grant, Operation ABLE will develop and pilot a customized basic computer training program to exclusively address the occupational training needs of low-income women over 45 years of age, most of them former Genral Assistance recipients.
Planned Parenthood of Mid-Michigan ($3,645).
Planned Parenthood of Mid-Michigan employs over 45 staff, all of whom are female. Seeking ways to motivate and support staff and improve the quality of service to patients, the organization discovered that there is a dearth of research and models for participatory management in woman-run organizations. With MWF's grant, Planned Pareenthood will design, build and implement a Participatory Quality Management Program, a team--building and organizational development model that can be shared with other women's nonprofits.
Readiness Center ($3,000).
The Readiness Center's target area is the Benton Harbor community, where the housing stock is deteriorating and the economic environment is among the bleakest in Michigan. The women served by the center, who are primarily African-American single parents, are offered the education, life skills and support they need to make better futures for themselves and their children. MWF's grant will suport a women's community newsletter designed to promote the Center and the succcess of the women it serves and to provide a vehicle for them to learn writing and computer skills.
Women's Center ($10,000).
Seventeen percent of employment opportunities in Michigan's Upper Peninsula are in the construction and labor trades, compared to 3.7% downstate. However, few women arre likely to qualify for these high- paying jobs -- less than 2% of trades people nationwide are female. With seed money from the Foundation, the Marquette-based Women's Center U.P. Women and Minorities Institute's first initiative will be the development and implementation of a pre-apprenticeship training and support program designed to help women qualify for and enter nontraditional occupations.
Note: The Women's Center project is funded in part by the Astra Fund, established within MWF's Endowment in 1991 by two anonymous donors.
Two things can be said accurately about all women's nonprofit organizations: the need for their services is constant and they never have enough resources (people, time or money) to meet all the demands made on them. Providing services like job training, shelter for survivors of domestic violence, counselling, education aand women's health programs constitutes more than a full-time job for staff and volunteers.
So when three very hard-working women's programs agreed to devote additional time and energy to work with each other and with the Michigan Women's Foundation as members of the Michigan Women's Self-Employment Network, it was a very special commitment.
The three Network member programs -- the Women's Initiative for Self-Employment (WISE) of the Ann Arbor Community Development Corporation (AACDC); Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW); and the Supportive Entrepreneurial Program (SEP) of the Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan's Womyn's Concerns Center -- were developed and are staffed by an extraordinary group of women who are deeply committed to helping women achieve economic self-sufficiency by establishing their own businesses. So perhaps it isn't surprising that they themselves are entrepreneurial -- imaginative, persistent and willing to take risks to achieve their visions for the women they serve.
"With the kind of success rate WISE has had, we've shown that we're not the exception to the rule, but instead we're the rule -- women with limited resources can become self-employed with some support, a little assistance, and everyone else just getting out of the way," says Michelle Richards Vasquez, Executive Director of AACDC for the past seven years. The WISE program is viewed by many as Vasquez's single most important contribution to the CDC. Under her leadership, WISE has grown from a one-person operation to a staff of eight with almost 100 volunteers and graduated over 220 women, with over seventy percent of them starting businesses. Her volunteer commitments include MWF's Grants Distribution Committee and the Michigan Partnership for Economic Development Advisory Committee.
"It was my long-time desire to work with women at poverty income -- I wanted so desperately to help bring women and children from poverty to self-sufficiency, and the biggest challenge was to start with myself," says Lendell McEwen. Her vision and entrepreneurial spirit have benefitted her community and helped her own family business to grow. She has founded several community organizations designed to bring about social and economic change; she and her father, Ollie McEwen, became business partners in Adell Signatures, a personalized greeting card service. A graduate of the WISE class of 1989 with a goal of empowerment and leadership, McEwen devoted two years of volunteer services to WISE and was promoted to Program Director in 1992.
Kathy Randall says three of her goals for the SEP program are "linking SEP up with Head Start, where they're helping women start their own child care businesses, looking into becoming some type of lender to low-income women, and helping women start more skilled trades-type businesses like carpentry and electrical work." Randall has been with the community Action Agency since 1989 and became director of the Womyn's Concerns Center last year. Before joining CAA, she worked in domestic violence and criminal justice.
Rose Kelley is the Special Services Coordinator and Program Advocate for SEP. Though the program is doing more one-on-one work with participants, these days, Kelley says of the work done in groups, "Participants are often inspired by one another; when one sees what another is accomplishing, she gains courage and confidence in herself." Kelley brings a background in education and human services to SEP and has worked in a variety of settings, including the public schools, Kellogg Community College and the Girls Scouts of America.
Founder and Executive Director Leanne Moss proudly points out a trend at GROW. She says, "More and more of our graduates are becoming involved in the leadership and operation of the program -- as trainers, newsletter contributors, network facilitator, board members -- which is imperative if we are to meet women's needs and truly serve to empower them." Moss' vision, leadership and achievements were recognized recently when her community honored her with the 1993 Grand Rapids Outstanding Young Person award.
Of the women involved in GROW, Program Manager Judy Vidmar has observed, "Each of our graduates has displayed the commitment and determination needed to launch a successful enterprise, proving that with training, positive reinforcement and access to networking opportunities, they can develop their ideas and forge new futures for themselves." Regrettably, GROW will lose Vidmar's organizational and writing skills when she leaves the program May 1 with plans to move to Montana and pursue new opportunities.
The Foundation is proud to be associated with each of these women. Susan Church, MWF Executive Director, said, "The Michigan Women's Self-Employment Network offers tremendous promise for helping women move from poverty to true economic self-sufficiency."
Our money may be as green as men's but our attitude toward giving it away is different. While more women than men donate time to worthy causes, dollar for dollar, they are the less generous gender. According to a recent survey by the Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization, men gave away an average of 3.1 percent of their household income in 1989, while women donate just 1.89 percent. That's not surprising, considering that women make 75 cents for every dollar earned by men, and that of the nearly two million Americans with incomes over $100,000 in 1990, a scant 12 percent were female. With less money at their disposal and dimmer prospects of replenishing it, women are understandably reluctant to write fat checks. "Their motive is preserving for a rainy day," says Virginia Hodgkinson, the Independent Sector's vice president for research.
Having sole control of the purse strings seems to affect women's giving patterns the most. A widow's donations are almost identical to those of a married man, which explains why fund-raisers usually find a woman more attractive after her husband's funeral. Older married donors, even those with inherited wealth of their own, tend to ask their husband's permission before making a contribution, says Ann Kaplan, research director of the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel. Professional women, however, even when married, feel more entitled than married women without careers to decide the amounts and targets of their giving.
Women still have a lot to learn about turning their donations into power. Unlike men, who tend to make one eyepopping gift to assure themselves of a place on the board or in the inner circle, women generally sprinkle small gifts over a number of causes. "In the campaigns I've worked on, women give $50 checks and think they're going to sit at the $50,000 table," says GOP fundraiser Kathy Piva. "That kind of giving really gets you nowhere."
There are sharp disagreements about what motivates women to give. According to Jadwiga Sebrechts, executive director of the Women's College Coalition, men tend to respond to competitive lures -- "Surely you can give more than your classmate Bob" -- while women must be convinced by the cause itself. But many fund-raisers consider this hogwash. Males and females have the same charitable instincts, they say; women have just been overlooked. Even women who graduated from the same schools as their husbands tend to get dismissed as Mrs. John Doe at fund-raising functions. "It's more about how we treat women than that women are somehow different," says Karen Osborne, vice president for college advancement at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Individuals -- male and female -- will open their wallets if the right person asks, if the amount is within their means, and if the request is for something they care about.
What makes a request relevant? When the Women's Studies Program at Duke University launched a $1 million endowment campaign in 1986, few male administrators were optimistic about its success. But the program not only reached its goal, it won over alumnae who had never given before, or had given only nominal amounts. The Duke example reveals a fund-raising pattern: Men give to preserve institutions, women give to change them and to found or further something they can personally relate to.
The pattern of women supporting women's causes is hardly new. In the `50s and '60s, Katherine McCormick, heir to the International Harvester fortune, gave more than $3 million to underwrite the development of the birth-control pill. Clare Boothe Luce -- no flaming feminist -- left $70 million in her will to establish professorships and grants for women in science and engineering.
Women have good reason to look after their own. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, only 5 percent of money from foundations goes to programs specifically aimed at women and girls. And causes that profess to serve both sexes often shortchange women. "Funding the norm doesn't fund Norma," says Mary Ellen Capek, executive director of the National Council for Research on Women. Such inequities help explain why graduates of women's colleges are almost twice as likely to give to their schools as female graduates of coed institutions, and why the number of charities set up specifically for women -- some 60 overall -- have exploded in recent years. Organizations promoting women in politics report more money flooding in than ever.
The future of charitable giving has a decidedly female face. In college, women account for 55.2 percent of enrollment, a share it is predicted will grow to 56.7 percent by 2002. By the turn of the century, 63 percent of the new entrants to the work force are expected to be female, increasing the number of women with the paycheck power to make donations. The number of female contributions should also increase as the 74 million baby boomers mature. The windfall of wealth this generation inherits from its parents will be mostly at the disposal of today's 35- to 46-year-old women, who have had fewer children than their mothers and are statistically likely to outlive their husbands. What their gifts -- and especially their wills -- look like will influence the shape of American philanthropy in the 21st century.
(This article first appeared in Working Woman, November 1992. Written by Susan Tift. Reprinted with permission of Working Woman Magazine. Copyright (c)1992 by Working Women, Inc.
One of the goals of the Michigan Women's Foundation is to help women learn the extent of our economic power -- and to encourage women to employ that power on behalf off women and girls. From time to time, we find and reprint materials such as this article from last November's Working Woman that discuss how and why women invest in social change. "Women," says the article, "have good reason to look after their own." We agree.
This spring, MWF's fourth annual gala benefit dinners will salute outstanding women in athletes:
Merrily Dean Baker is the Athletic Director at Michigan State University and the first woman to be named to that post at a Big Ten university.
Kathy Fisher, disabled with MS in 1986, is an athlete, coach and instructor for physically challenged athletes.
Brenda Gatlin, Assistant Principal, Cass Technical High School, Detroit, has received numerous awards for her talents as a winning basketball coach and educator and has a long record of firsts.
Dolly Niemiec Konwinski is a former professional baseball player (Grand Rapids Chicks) and one of the inspirations for the hit movie, A League of Their Own.
Myrna Partrich is co-owner of the Workout Company, a nationally recognized fitness authority, and serves on both the President's and the Governor's Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports.
A trio of all-star athletic educators form the Grand Rapids area will also be honored, including Arlene "Toody" Wagner, Jacckie Kolbe, and Sue Barthold.
"Women and girls as athletes have long been neglected. The women we will honor at this year's dinners have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and achievement as coaches and educators and as athletes in their own right -- I'm very excited about this event and hope to see you all there," says Florine Mark, a Southeast Michigan Executive Committee Co-Chair. Western Michigan Co- Chair Jean Hitchcock adds, "This event will support the work MWF is doing to increase opportunities for leadership and economic self-sufficiency for women and girls and to help bring them into full partnership in all our society has to offer, including athletics." Other event Co-Chairs are Mildred Jeffrey, Tessie Sharp (Southeast Michigan), and Kathy Vrugginck-Westdorp (Western Michigan).
Two dinners will be held -- the first in Grand Rapids at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, May 26; the second at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn on Wednesday, June 16. Proceeds from the events will support MWF programs, including our grantmaking. Tickets are available at there contributor levels: Benefactor -- individual tickets are $250, table of 10, $2,500; Patron -- $150/$1,500; Friend -- $125/$1,250.
Past MWF benefit dinners have honored labor leader and community activist Mildred Jeffrey (1990), Michigan Supreme Court Justices Patricia J. Boyle and Dorothy Comstock Riley (1991), and women in health care, including Sharon M.Buursma, June E. Osborn, M.D. and Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D. (1992).
For more information on benefit details, tickets and souvenir program book ads, call the Foundation office at 517/374-7270. To receive an invitation to the events, return the coupon found on page 5.
"I couldn't be happier to start my career with an organization that promotes women's issues -- issues that are critical to their well-being and economic self-sufficiency," says the Foundation's newest staff member, Jennifer Babcock, who joined the staff as Administrative Assistant in January.
Babcock brings an impressive academic background and diverse experience to the Foundation. She graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in English in 1992. While in college, she worked as a teaching assistant in Russian, attended a foreign study program in Florence, Italy, played intramural softball and served as team captain, researched and wrote articles for the career placement newsletter, sang with the College Singers, was student editor of The Cauldron and photographer for The Index, and became active in women's issues with the Women's Equity Coalition.
She gained valuable work experience during two internships, one at Alternatives for Girls in Detroit (a past MWF grantee serving homeless teenage girls) and another as an audio/visual assistant with the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing. Summer jobs included working as a canvasser for the National Environmental Law Center and as a Russian translator for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. Throughout college, she also worked in retail sales at Kali's Cottons, a woman-owned business in the Lansing area. To top it all off, Babcock did all this and managed to make the Dean's List and earn the Kalamazoo College English and President's Scholarships!
Now that Babcock is back home in Lansing where she grew up, she's having a great time rediscovering some of her "extracurricular" interests and activities. She and a friend run at the crack of dawn each morning, and she's getting her mountain bike ready for the September Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bike Tour (and trying to convince MWF project director and mountain bike enthusiast Deb Frederick to join her). She's also an avid reader and movie-goer. Her community involvement includes tutoring an Armenian refugee through the Capital Area Literacy Coalition.
Since Babcock enjoys writing and considers herself an active feminist, we asked her to write about her views on the relevance of feminism and the women's movement to her generation for the next issue of Trillium.
The staff and Trustees couldn't be happier to welcome Babcock to the staff of the Michigan Women's Foundation.
Local friends and Trustees held a successful Lansing area fundraiser to benefit the Foundation on Thursday, March 25th at the law firm of Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith.
Vernice Davis Anthony, Ann Beaujean, Trustee Linda Gobler, Trustee Lana Pollack, and Jean Schtokal planned and hosted the event.
Schtokal, an attorney with Foster, Swift, said, "The Planning Committee wanted to give others in the Greater Lansing community the opportunity to learn more about and support the fine work MWF is doing on behalf of women and girls. And our firm was honored to host the event."
Thanks to over 60 people who supported the events as sponsored and to those who bought tickets, $7,500 had been raised for the Foundation as Trillium went to press. Nearly 100 guests attended and enjoyed wine and hors d'oeuvres generously provided by Brian Breslin of Meijer, Inc. and Jean Schtokal.
Guests also had an opportunity to learn more about the Foundation and its work from MWF Executive Director, Susan Church. Lee Wallace of Michigan Capitol Girl Scout Council, a new MWF grantee, discussed the Council's upcoming summer program for migrant girls. See the cover story in this issue of Trillium for more on this project.
The proceeds from this event will support the Foundation's grantmaking and other programs. Many thanks to the Event Committee and everyone who supported the event and helped to make it a resounding success!
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
Deborah B. Frederick, Project Director
Jennifer Babcock, Adminsitrative Assistant