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 1995

A Tribute to the Life of Susan Church

Susan Church, our Executive Director, died of cancer on July 4, 1995. This loss has personally affected many across the state of Michigan, and has left a permanent legacy for those of us who believe in her work, her dedication and her vision.

Susan planned he own memorial service. She asked several of her closest friends and colleagues to speak about her life. Following are portions of the speeches that were made on that hot July day:

"Susan had a carefully construed philosophy of life, for equality for women, with a passionate commitment to social and economic justice for all human kind. Further she believed mightily in putting her beliefs into action...She was a competent woman with skills, talents and conscience. She was principled, moral and ethical. She dealt forthrightly with the tough issues of gender and race. More so, she had the courage to act on it in public and private settings. She was a gracious and savvy woman with determination and guts ... I was first attracted to her as a friend because she had the ability to perceive truth in a person or a situation, and she wasn't afraid to express her views. She brought her intelligence and her education and culture with her and didn't trim her sails to make things easy or comfortable. At the same time, she didn't seek confrontation for its own sake, she didn't have to be right, she could disagree and yet maintain warm relationships... A committed feminist, she was devoted to Robert, Nicholas and Douglas; as urban a person as I ever knew, she loved her Michigan farmhouse; as committed to our society's undeserved and disadvantaged as she was, she maintained her taste for fine chocolate...Susan's last days were a profile in courage, a final lesson for us all in how to die with grace. The dignity and care, courage and love with which she left us in her final legacy in thoughtfulness and generosity."

The Michigan Women's Foundation will carry on the vision of Susan -- that of a viable, endowed foundation for Michigan's women and girls. A special fund within our endowment has been named in her honor, the Susan Church Fund for Girls. Through the generosity of the Frey Foundation, and so many individuals who loved and respected Susan, this fund now totals nearly $400,000. (Please see the article about the Kent County Girls Initiative below which describes the first project we have undertaken through this fund.) Please contact our office if you are interested in making a contribution in Susan's honor.

We will miss Susan; but we are all so fortunate to have worked with her, and for her. As one of her colleagues concluded at the memorial service, Susan is exhorting us in the words of her foremother Mary Jones, to "pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.""

MWF Celebrates The 75th Anniversary of
Women's Suffrage

On September 19, the Michigan Women's Foundation and the Michigan Political History Society co-hosted a very special benefit dinner honoring Mildred Jeffrey and Elly Peterson. Over 300 people attended this unique tribute at the University Club in Lansing, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage and brought together two icons of Michigan political history. The dinner was a tremendous success, raising $27,000 for MWF.

The crowd was filled with supporters and friends of the two extraordinary honorees, who paved the way for Michigan women in politics. Mildred Jeffrey has long been admired for her work in civil rights and women's rights; Elly Peterson served as Chair of the Michigan Republican Party and was the first Michigan woman to run for U.S. Senate. Ms. Jeffrey spoke about her experiences in Beijing during the Fourth World Conference on Women; Ms. Peterson reminded the audience of the need for civility in politics today.

The Michigan Political History Society, co-host of the dinner, is an organization dedicated to preserving and appreciating Michigan's political history in order to better envision the future of our state. The Michigan Women's Foundation was delighted to partner with this organization for the dinner, which united the two groups' missions around the anniversary of women's right to vote.

Special thanks to Sharman Moore, the President of MPHS, and Pat Curran, MWF Trustee, for their hard work as Co-Chairs of the event. Thanks also to our Planning Committee, a dedicated group of Lansing-area volunteers who worked hard to make the dinner a huge success. We are delighted to have reached out to the Lansing community in this way, and hope to host more Lansing events in the future.

Michigan Women's Foundation
Trillium Circle Contributors

In order to recognize its most generous contributors, the Michigan Women's Foundation has created the Trillium Circles. These Circles honor donors who have achieved a cumulative record of outright gifts and pledges to MWF since its inception in 1986. We are very grateful to these individuals, corporations, and foundations who have played a major role in making our work possible.

Gold Trillium Circle ($25,000 or more lifetime gifts)
Mary Jo Pulte

Silver Trillium Circle ($10,000 or more lifetime gifts)
William Pulte
anonymous donor

Trillium Circle ($5000 or more lifetime gifts)
Julia Darlow
Teresa S. Decker
Irma Elder
Beth Goebel
Paul Goebel
Barbara Labadie
Lana Pollack
Nancy Pulte
Hon. Maureen Pulte Reilly
Marilyn & Tom Steele
Jane & Edward Thomas
Women in State Government
Robert & Aleicia Woodrick

Corporate Trillium Circle ($25,000 or more lifetime gifts)
Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
Chrysler Corporation Fund
Frey Foundation
General Motors Foundation
W. K. Kellogg Foundation
Metro Health Foundation
C.S. Mott Foundation

MWF Contributors - 1994/95

Our since thanks to the over 900 individuals and organizations who made generous contributions to the work of the Foundation during the year ending 9/30/95.

Major Contributors: Liz Bauer, Hon. James Brickley & Joyce Braithwaite, Carole L. Chiamp, Robert Church, Julia Darlow, Teresa S. Decker, Katharine B. Democoeur, J. Kay Felt, Rebecca N. Fleischman, Beth Goebel, Paul Goebel, Pauline M. Hewitt, Barbara Hill, Pearl Holforty, Irma Elder, Kyle & Earle Smith Irwin, Calvin & Shirley Jeter, Barbara Labadie, Joan Lovell, Hon. Barbara Mackenzie, Florine Mark, Hon. William G. & Helen Milliken, Ruth Mott, ann Parfet, Peggy & Michael Pitt, Lana Pollack, Mary Jo Pulte, William Pulte, Hon. Maureen Pulte Reilly, Ritta Rosenberg, Norman & Dulcie Rosenfeld, Marilyn & Tom Steele, Jane & Edward Thomas, Marilyn Williamson, Kate Pew Wolters, Women in State Government, Robert & Aleicia Woodrick.

Contributors to the Susan Church Fund for Girls

Special thanks to those who made contributions to this Fund, which was established in memory of our Executive Director, Susan Church. This endowment fund, initiated with a gift from the Frey Foundation, is designated to projects that improve the well-being of Michigan girls.

96 Contributors Identified...

In-Kind Gifts

All-Star Printing / Ambleside Gallery / Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan / Community Foundation of Greater Flint / Detroit Edison / Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. / Lindsay Gardner / GM Foundation / Beth Goebel / Florine Mark / Meijer, Inc. / Michigan National Bank / NBD Bank

Foundations, Businesses, Groups, Corporate Conributors

Too numerous to list.

Individual Contributors

Too numerous to list.

Gifts in Honor

Too numerous to list.

Gifts in Memory of

Too numerous to list.

Volunteer Opportunities with MWF

With an eye toward an exciting 1996, the Michigan Women's Foundation is recruiting volunteers for a variety of activities and tasks. If you are already a volunteer or would like to become a volunteer, read on! Some examples of our volunteer needs for 1996 include:

Public Relations: writers, public speakers, graphic designers, photographers, and individuals with marketing experience.

Special Events: Day of event volunteers, and individuals to serve on planning committees.

Fundraising: Mailing assistance, and individuals willing to work on opening up new workplaces or serving as a liaison between MWF and their workplace.

Technical Assistance: Individuals with specific nonprofit management, accounting, or fundraising skills willing to work with other women's nonprofit agencies as the need arises.

Internships: MWF accepts one intern per academic semester.

If you are interested in these volunteer opportunities, please call our office: (517) 374/7270.


We're in the process of updating our mailing list. If we haven't heard from you since 1993, your name will be deleted from our mailing list. We don't want to get rid of you -- so please return the following form if you still want to receive our newsletter!

___YES! I want to stay active on the MWF mailing list!

MWF Releases Report,
The Fragmented Woman:
Health Issues for Michigan Women>

In 1994, MWF received a grant from the Nokomis Foundation to compile a report on women's health issues, with the objective to evaluate the role that health issues play in women's lives. The Fragmented Woman is the culmination of a full year of research and writing about the status of Michigan women's health, and this report confirms our initial beliefs that health issues are intertwined with the ability of women to achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency.

The 62-page report covers topics such as: access to care, nutrition, heart disease, cancer, reproductive health, menopause, mental health, and substance abuse. The primary conclusions of the report are:

  1. Routine medical care and screening for disease are not integrated in a way that is convenient and effective for women. For example, while heart disease is the number one killer of women, and lung and colon cancers are the second and third (respectively) most common cancers in women, over 50% of Michigan women only see a gynecologist on a regular basis.

  2. Health care providers are not always incorporating social, personal and cultural issues in making diagnosis about a woman's health. For example, violence against women and girls has many health implications including mental illness, substance abuse, poor nutrition, and even homelessness. National statistics, however, showed that in cases in which explicit information about abuse were recorded in women's medical charts, physicians' discharge diagnoses correctly indicated spouse abuse only 8% of the time. (Please see other major findings in separate section below.)
In conclusion, the report calls on Michigan providers, policy makers and funders to join together and end this fragmentation, and urges their support through funding of research and programs to help solve some of the systemic problems impacting women's health.

MWF, in partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, the Metro Health Foundation and the Michigan Department of Public Health, has begun funding projects aimed specifically at tending some of the systemic problems in the health care system related to the fragmentation of services for women. In 1995, grants totalling $100,000 were made through this partnership to Alternatives for Girls in Detroit and the Berrien County YWCA.

MWF is in the early stages of the second year of the Women's Health Funding Initiative. For more information, or to receive a copy of the report ($10 each) please contact the MWF office.

The Fragmented Woman:
Health Issues for Michigan Women
Report Findings


  • A recent study in Michigan found that physical abuse or being afraid of someone was the most common cause of homelessness, cited by 18.2% of respondents.
  • Studies show that 22% to 35% of women seeking care at an emergency room were there because of symptoms relating to abuse.
  • Nearly two-thirds of female victims of violence either are related to or knew their attacker.

    Heart Disease

  • Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.
  • African-American women are 60% more likely to die of heart disease than white women.
  • Approximately 25% of white women have high blood pressure, compared to nearly 39% of African-American women.

    Mental Health

  • For most types of depression, women's risk exceeds that of men by two to one.
  • Doctors prescribe two-thirds of all legal psychoactive drugs to women.
  • Rape is the most common cause of post traumatic stress disorder.

    Substance Abuse

  • Substance abuse is often used as self-medication against depression.
  • The greatest increase in new smokers is among teenage girls and young women.
  • It is estimated that only 11% of pregnant women in need of drug treatment receive such treatment.


  • Research indicates that universal access to screening mammography would reduce mortality by 30%.
  • Lung and colon cancers are the most common cancers in women after breast cancer.


  • Five of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in North American adult women -- cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, weight and diabetes -- are nutrition-related.
  • The average American woman has dieted more than 20 times by the age of forty, and 61% of eighth to tenth grade girls went on weight-loss diets in 1992.

    Reproductive Health

  • 26.4% of all births in 1990 to 1992 did not receive adequate prenatal care.
  • Many private health insurance companies will not cover reproductive health care needs such as contraceptive services and supplies, sterilization, or treatment for infertility.
  • For 10990 to 1992, 7.5 of every 1,000 white births and 21.8 of every 1,000 African-American births resulted in infant death.

    HIV and AIDS

  • Nationally, the incidence of AIDS is increasing more rapidly amount women than men, and AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death among U.S. women aged 25 to 44.
  • 83% of all prenatal HIV cases occurred among non-Hispanic Blacks in Michigan as of January 1995.

    Young Philanthropists Begin Work

    The committee of the Kent County Girls Community Initiative is off and running! Fifteen young women were selected this summer to serve on the committee, which began meeting in September. through a grant from the Frey Foundation, these girls will be giving away $20,000 annually to programs in Kent County serving girls and young women. In the process, they will be gaining leadership skills nd experience in philanthropy. Committee members include: Crystal Andrews, East Kentwood High School; Katie Bode, Catholic Central; Elsie Boncher, Caledonia Middle School; Caroline Crawford, Northview High School; Rachel Dooley, Catholic Central; Laura Furst, Caledonia High School; Linda Karadsheh, East Kentwood High School; Missy Lake, Rockford Senior High School; Elizabeth Luong, Rogers High School; Leslie Manning, Excalibur Prep; Tracey O'Neill, Northview High School; Kreena Padron, Excalibur Prep; Leslie Rusche, Kenowa Hills High School; Kelly Steelman, Northview High School; and Lena Zwarensteyn, East Kentwood High School.

    The committee will be trained in teamwork, girls' needs and issues, and philanthropy and grantmaking. They will use this knowledge to set funding priorities and guidelines and create a request for proposals. The reviewing of proposals and final decisions will be made solely by the young women of the committee. Requests for proposals should be released in November and grants will be made in March or April. If you have any questions about the Initiative or wish to be on the RFP mailing list, please contact Karen Schoneman, MWF Project Associate.

    Board of Trustees

    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 Grocers 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


    Sandra Bitonti Stewart, Executive Director

    Andrea Piotrowski, Development Director

    Karen Schoneman, Project Associate

    Nicole La Rosa, Office Aide

    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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