Since it was founded in 1986, the Michigan Women's Foundation has focused principally on the economic barriers that prevent women and girls from becoming self-sufficient. Starting this fall, through the generosity of two new funding partners, MWF will also be able to address the health issues that prevent women and girls from achieving their full potential.
With funding from the Michigan Health Care Education and Research Foundation (MHCERF) and the Metro Health Foundation (MHF), MWF has established the Michigan Women's Health Funding Initiative. This new grant making program will foster and support program collaborations designed to address the health barriers to self sufficiency. MHCERF and MHF have together committed $75,000/year for three years to our health funding initiative. MWF will regrant these monies, and will provide coordination, facilitation and administrative services to the initiative.
The Women's Health Funding Initiative will seek to support collaborative relationships among service providers. "We want to fund projects that link the organizations working on issues MWF has always supported -- job training, employment readiness, financial management, self-employment, career development and the like - with organizations concerned about women's and girls' health," says Susan Church, MWF Executive Director. "Addressing health barriers to economic well-being means a better chance for women and girls." Some examples of the links between health and economic status include: adolescent pregnancy (a key predictor of women's poverty); lack of health care for part-time and low-wage workers (in Michigan, mainly women) or domestic violence (which often presents women from completing their education or job training).
In order to reach a better understanding of the health problems facing Michigan women, MWF received a grant from the Nokomis Foundation to prepare a special research report outlining the status of women's health in Michigan. This report will assist MWF as it prepares to evaluate the Women's Health Funding initiative grant proposals.
In creating this initiative, MWF also set up an advisory committee made up of 17 women to verify the ended for the project and to help shape guidelines under which the Initiative will be conducted. Special thanks to the women involved in this advisory committee: Terry Barclay, Operation ABLE; Janicki Darity, Henry Ford Health System; Tanya Dukes, Women's Initiative for Self- Employment; Susan Erikson, Hutzel Hospital; Beth Goebel, MWF President; Amanda Good, Alternatives for Girls; Inger Guiffrida, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women; Nancy Hauff, Hutzel Hospital; Mildred Jeffrey, Past- President, MWF; Judy Karandjeff, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan; Lendel McEwan, Women's Initiative for Self-Employment; Barbara Orr, Mitten Bay Girl Scout Council; Tish Preston, MWF Board Member and Henry Ford Health Systems; Kathy Randall, CAA Womyn's Concerns; Marilyn Steele, MWF Board Member, Michelle Vasques, Ann Arbor CDC; Kate Young, Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
The Requests for Proposal will be sent statewide to various health and economic development agencies in early November, and concept papers will be due on December 20, 1994. MWF expects to finalize Initiative funding decisions by mid-May, 1995. MWF staff will be available to provide technical assistance to agencies as they prepare their proposals.
For more information about the Women's Health Funding Initiative, please contact Susan Church, Executive Director, or Sandra Bitonti Stewart, Project Director at (517) 374-7270.
In 1990, the American Association of University Women released a study of major findings on girls and education entitled, "How Schools Shortchange Girls." This report shocked many of us as we learned that girls receive significantly less classroom attention from classroom teachers than do boys; that girls are subjected to increased sexual harassment by boys in the classroom; and that girls' self esteem levels drop at levels twice that of boys between childhood and adolescence. This report also highlighted one of MWF's greatest concerns: girls do not believe that they have the ability to pursue careers in the science and math fields despite the fact that these careers are some of the highest paying and most stable. According to the AAUW report, even when girls take math and science courses and do well in them, they do not receive the same encouragement as boys to pursue scientific careers.
The mission of the Michigan Women's Foundation is to promote the economic and personal self-sufficiency of women and girls. Funding programs which promote girls' interest in pursuing science careers is one of the many ways in which MWF works to fulfill its mission. In 1994, MWF awarded a total of nearly $50,000 to nine organizations serving women and girls. One of those grants was awarded to the YWCA of Grand Rapids to begin a week-long summer camp program for girls ages eight to fourteen, "Science IS for Girls". This year's camp was held at Camp Newaygo, just north of Grand Rapids.
Forty-eight girls participated in this program which was designed to encourage girls to consider a career in science, and more importantly, to show girls that not only are they capable of understanding science, but that it can be interesting and fun at the same time. Previous to developing this summer camp, the Grand Rapids public schools reported that the number of girls achieving satisfactory results on the science portion of MEAP tests decreases from forty-nine percent to thirty-five percent between fifth and eighth grades. For boys, this decrease is only five percentage points (54% to 49%). "I profoundly believe these types of programs are the most effective means of braking the vicious cycle of poverty which affects women and children," said Susan Shanon, Executive Director of the Grand Rapids YWCA.
The "Science IS for Girls" camp gave the campers an opportunity to see positive role models, experience the excitement and fun of science activities, and gain confidence in their abilities in scientific endeavors. The camp included presentations from Marianne Boerigter, a biologist in natural sciences, Sue LaVigne, a research chemist from Gerber Foods, Laura Lanwermeyer, a chemistry student, and Beth Kolchask, a Wildlife Biologist from Blandford Nature Center. Shanon said that all of the mentors agreed that the girls showed true interest in science as a possible career choice. One of the real successes of the program according to the YWCA is that no all of the careers represented required a college degree, and mentors talked about jobs and careers for women at all levels.
This mentoring opportunity for girls is consistent with one of the chief recommendations form the AAUW 1990 study on girls and education. The report concluded that local schools an communities must encourage and support girls studying math and science by showcasing women role models in scientific and technological fields.
MWF now looks forward to another year of successful grant making to organizations such as the Grand Rapids YWCA. The 1995 grant distribution cycle will begin with the request for proposals going out in early January, 1995; proposals will be due in February, and the Board will finalize its decision on grant making by May, 1995. If you are interested in receiving an RFP, please feel free to contact Sandra Bitonti Stewart, Project Director at (517) 374-7270.
Listed on pages 3 through 11.
As the 1994 holiday season nears, please take the time to consider the Michigan Women's Foundation as a possible gift-giving option for your friends and family. MWF accepts donations in memory or in honor of anyone you wish to name. MWF will send a letter to the person you name, indicating that you made a gift to MWF in their name. This type of gift will help to ensure that MWF is able to continue working towards its mission of self-sufficiency for women and girls. It is also a wonderful way to honor someone special in your life.
Following is a list of other ways in which you can participate in MWF:
Women in America have a well-earned reputation as capable fund raisers for charitable and philanthropic causes. Men often have greater resources to share, however.
Because of this, it isn't surprising that men often set the agenda for charitable spending. No fools, most want to be assured that what they are sacrificing will truly benefit a worthy cause, as they asssess worthiness. That's reasonable.
What is surprising is that there are apparently wide gender differences in perception of need. According to a spokesperson for the Michigan Women's Foundation, only five percent of charitable giving, worldwide, benefits women and girls. Perhaps the split is better in America, but not much. Bias is subtle and should be immaterial except that resources are always finite.
In my commuinity, for example, a group of fans of high school athletes and teams - including females, but primarily males - have a generous intention to contribute at least $60,000 to buy and install permanent lights around the high school athletic field. Night football! Men and boys speak passionately, almost reverently, of the worthwhile contribution these lights will make to the community for decades to come.
No one questions that $60,000 is a very generous gift. Laurel wreaths all around.
But, it's the perception of need and benefit that is so gender specific and illogical. I'd bet my sweats every academic department head has a wish list that does not include, let alone lead with, lights for the athletic filed. A $60,000 fund, well managed, could truly improve the high school experience for every student, including student athletes. But, that's not the point. Generous donors, mostly male, see an educational need for night football.
All this means only that what's to men isn't necessarily important to women, and the other way around.
In 1987, Mary Jo Pulte gave more than 55,000 shares of stock held in her father William Pulte's building and construction empire to form a foundation to benefit women and girls throughout Michigan.
The organization is the Michigan Women's Foundation, previously mentioned. Headquartered in Lansing, MWF now has a donor list of 2,000. It has an annual budget of about $450,000, of which $232,000 will be given away this year in grants of up to $10,000 each.
These grants go to organizations that provide services or programs designed to upgrade the status of women. Present recipients include, among others, the Women's Justice Center in Detroit, which works to make the legal system work for abused women and children. The Hispanic Women's Center has organized a crafts collective in which women produce and market their handiwork. Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority in Ann Arbor, has a mentoring program for at-risk girls which begins when the girls are in fourth grade and continues for nine years, to high school graduation.
There's a reception today at Wayne State University hosted by President David Adamany. It is to introduce MWF's incoming president, Beth Goebel, of Grand Rapids, and to thank Detroiter Mildred Jeffrey who has served as MWF president for the past seven years.
I don't believe there will be any discussion of the educational benefits of night football.
The preceeding article, written by Nickie McWhirter, is reprinted with permission from the Detroit News, copyright 1994.
Two after-work receptions were held this fall in Southfield and Grand Rapids to benefit MWF. The Southfield reception, held on September 27, 1994 was hosted by Labadie Capital Management, owned by Barbara Labadie, one of MWF's most committed supporters. Over $7,000 was raised at this reception, sponsored by 23 individuals and organizations. Participants heard from Barbara Labadie, Beth Goebel, President of the MWF Board of Trustees, and Susan Church, MWF Executive Director. Goebel highlighted recent news about MWF, focusing particularly on the upcoming Women's Health Funding Initiative.
The Grand Rapids reception was hosted by Michigan National Bank in their Amway Grand Plaza Hotel branch office. Our host of the reception was Bonnie Naas, Second Vice President, MNB. This event, generously sponsored by 20 individuals and organizations, raised over $5,000 to benefit MWF. MWF will hold receptions in the upcoming months in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Fling and Traverse City. If you would like to host a reception in your community, or to be sure that you are on the invitation list for MWF events, please call Susan Church, Executive Director, at (517) 374-7270.
That November 19th is the anniversary of the birth of Hazel Kyrk? She was born in 1886 and was a consumer economist. Hazel Kyrk established the cost-of-living index.
That November 28th is the anniversary of the birth of Helen Magill White? She was born in 1877 and was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States.
That November 30th is the anniversary of the birth of Shirley Chisolm? She was born in 1924 and was the first African American woman to serve in Congress.
That December 23 is the anniversary of the birth of Sarah "Madam C.J." Walker? She was a black business owner born in 1867, who manufactured hair products and was the first American self-made millionaire.
The Michigan Women's Leadership Project was about to begin its second year with the first of three weekend-long sessions on November 17, 18 and 19. In an effort to help strengthen women's and girls' nonprofits, last year the University of Michigan's Center of the Education of Women, formed a partnership with the Michigan Women's Foundation. This partnership is funded by the Nokomis Foundation, the Frey Foundation, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The program is designed to strengthen nonprofit organizations, increase the influence they have in their communities, enhance the leadership and management skills of staff and Boards, and build a strong network of leaders. The following fifteen organizations from around the state participated in the 1993-94 Project: Cadillac Area O.A.S.I.S., Center for Women in Transition, Domestic Violence Project, Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, LaCasa, MARAL, Mitten Bay Girl Scouts Council, Women's Center - U-M Flint, Women's Justice Center, Women's Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area. MWF and the Center for the Education of Women will begin recruiting for the 1995-96 project in June, 1995. If you would like more information about the project, or if you are interested in applying please call (517) 374-7270.
New to the MWF staff are Sandra Bitonti Stewart, Project Director and Karen Schoneman, Administrative Assistant. Before joining MWF, Sandra was the Director of the Finance Committee for Senator Lana Pollack's U.S. Senate Campaign. She also served as the Manager of the Department of Government Relations for he Michigan State Medical Society, a trade association of medical doctors in East Lansing. Sandra brings skills in fundraising, advocacy organizing, health policy and strong commitment to women's self sufficiency. "I am excited to put my skills to work to improve the lives of women and girls and I am hoping to make more people aware of the work that MWF can do in setting up program models that can be evaluated and applied in the public policy arena to benefit women and girls state-wide," she said.
Karen is a recent graduate of Michigan State University. She received a multidisciplinary bachelors degree, combining her studies in anthropology, philosophy and women's studies. Karen finished her degree with an overseas program in London this past summer where she studied the British National Health Service. Prior to joining MWF staff, Karen served as an intern to both the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan. From her internship experiences, Karen realized she wanted to continue working on women's issues in the nonprofit sector, and she is thrilled to begin her career with MWF.
Barb Vicory has left MWF to pursue new career opportunities in Chicago and Jennifer Babcock left MWF to pursue her masters degree in Detroit. MWF wishes both Barb and Jenny best wishes in their new endeavors and welcomes Sandra and Karen!
Bobbie S. Butler, Equal Employment Officer, Michigan Department of Corrections
Hilda Patricia Curran, Michigan Department of Labor
Teresa S. Decker, Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett
J. Kay Felt, Dykema Gossett
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
Kay Hunt, Detroit Edison Foundation
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
Sandra Bitonti Stewart, Project Director
Karen Schoneman, Adminsitrative Assistant