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Change Agent: Gloria Steinem

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At The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, we recognize those change agents that came before us, and paved a way for growth. By doing so we hope to celebrate those who have inspired us, and encourage every woman to step into her role as a change agent. Today, we celebrate Gloria Steinem, who is, in many ways, the original change agent for women and girls’ gender equality.

Gloria Steinem holds many titles. She is a writer, an editor, an activist, and a trailblazer. All these titles together are what make Gloria such a powerful and impacting individual. Labeling her with only one of her many titles would limit the affect she has had and continues to have on our society. There is something even beyond her actions and accomplishments, a spirit that whispers from the past, dominates the present, and guides us toward a future of equality for all.

“We need to remember across generations,” Steinem said, “that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.”

An Ohio native, Gloria was born in Toledo in 1934, Steinem grew up there before leaving for Smith College in Massachusetts. Steinem’s roots inspire me, as I am a product of Northern Ohio. My grandparents live 30 minutes outside of Toledo, and every time I visit them I am overwhelmed with the sense of self-ownership of the region.  In the face of larger social forces or oppressions, lives are made and broken by hard-work and perseverance – the same kind of hard work and perseverance that Steinem exudes.

Identifying as a feminist and an active fighter for equality takes courage and the willingness to fight for a lifetime.

In an interview for the New York Daily News, Steinem explained that “women and girls no longer feel crazy, alone or flying in the face of nature if they have the outrageous idea that they should be treated as full human beings.” Simply knowing the accomplishments and struggle of Steinem is enough to feel part of a larger network of leaders, let alone the countless individuals I have met so far that understand the overwhelming feeling of denying what nature or society has deemed correct.  “Knowing that the system is crazy, not you is a huge leap forward.”

When Steinem spoke at Keyholder in 2007, The Women’s Fund focused on Tributes, our way of referring to the women who inspire us across generations. At the Women’s Fund we believe in paying tribute to the people in our lives who have invested in our potential. We do this by sending a letter in honor or memory of an individual when you make a donation on their behalf.  Steinem herself has roots in past generations of the women’s movement: her grandmother was the president of the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association. Whether you have a grandmother, mother, mentor, or teacher that has inspired you toward who you are today, there is no doubt that they have been influenced by Gloria Steinem.

“A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after,” Steinem famously said, a notion that was completely foreign to America less than 50 years ago. Today: a liberated woman can choose to not be married, or married with no kids, or not married with many kids. Same-sex marriage is a reality. The America we live in is much brighter than it was, but travesties against women, minorities, lower-wage works, etc. still must be fought for.

Steinem fueled the American second-wave of feminism, barreling the necessity for human rights and feminism through time by working on the ground at rallies and at her writer/editor position at New York magazine. Later, she began creating organizations that continue to support these goals.

In a TIME online article from 2010, “The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century,” writer Meredith Melnick correctly states “It would be hard to find an American women’s rights organization that does not owe its creation in part to Steinem.” From her own Ms. Foundation for Women, to her co-founder position at the Women’s Media Center, Voters for Choice, Choice USA.

She’s never stopped. Gloria is the epitome of onward movement. Instead of slowing down she continues to gather collective passion and move the needle forward for social change.

All of these organizations are thriving, and increasing their efforts each day. In 2008, an election notorious for its use of sexist claims against Hillary Clinton, Steinem publically pulled hard for Clinton, continuing the support that she has given to women in power for decades.

In an article for Ms. Magazine’s Winter/Spring 2014 issue, “Why the Revolution Has Just Begun,” Steinem states “At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I’m “passing the torch.” I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much—and I’m using it to light the torches of others.” She continues, “Only if each of us has a torch will there be enough light.”

As a writer, Gloria inspires me to find passion in my subjects, look for the untold stories, and never take my voice for granted. As a feminist, I can only thank her for her work, for creating a better world in which I and my fellow feminists can light our torches with her strength and walk together, never disregarding the past but always looking forward, aiming for what she, and I, know is possible: equality for all.

The work of the women’s movement is still happening, and we look to Steinem as an example of a strong voice for human rights. To me, she is exactly what a change agent looks like.

 

Written by Hannah Ticoras, Women’s Fund Intern

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What are you saying when you say “sorry”?

When a woman says she is “sorry” for something that does not warrant an apology, does she seem polite or does it make her seem defensive and unsure?

Tell us what you think about saying “sorry.”

“The modern-day apology — at least when it comes to women at work — is rarely an apology at all. We’re not sorry to be asking a question, we’re simply trying to be polite. We’re trying to make a statement, a direct one, without being deemed “bossy” or “too aggressive.”

http://time.com/2895799/im-sorry-pantene-shinestrong/

 

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World Refugee Day

This blog was written in preparation for World Refugee Day.  

After it was written, the residents of Capital Park found themselves again in the midst of violence. This past weekend a 13 year old girl was the victim of a shooting and young mother was robbed by armed men while outside picking up her children’s toys. Our hearts go out to the community of Capital Park who came to our country and our city in hopes of a better, more peaceful life. Throughout these trials, they continue to persevere and to create positive social change within their community.
In honor of World Refugee Day June 20th

We express our deepest gratitude

to the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio

for their support of the

Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project.?

 

We are “HOROMARKA HAWEENKA SOOMALIYEED,”

SOMALI WOMEN MOVING FORWARD.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

Our homes, our families, our very lives

have been torn apart by war and violence.

 

Many of us have watched our husbands and sons die

murdered in front of our very eyes.

 

Many of us have been raped,

or have witnessed our daughters being raped.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

Many of us fled on foot with our children.

No food, no water, just the clothes on our backs.

We walked for countless days to find a safe place.

 

We raised our children in refugee camps.

We faced the daily challenge of feeding our families.

Some of us waited 15 years to “win the lottery”

and start a new life in America.

 

Now we are here.

Though we escaped the trauma of war

we now face new challenges.

 

We live in a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio

where many of us face crime and violence.

We need to learn a new language;

(We never went to school before.)

We need to learn how to help our kids

bridge two very different cultures.

We face so many challenges.

 

We are refugees of war.

 

And now,

thanks to our partnership with the Women’s Fund,

there is hope.

 

We are transforming ourselves and our community at Capital Park

from a culture of fear

into a culture of empowerment.

 

Every morning we gather for an hour of exercise.

Every day we study English, Math, Computer

and American History and Government.

We are becoming U.S. Citizens.

We are learning how to sew

and how to create a cooperative business.

We are organizing a community garden and homework help for our children.

 

And we are organizing our neighborhood,

all of us learning safety awareness

and leadership skills.

 

We are refugees of war

and we are truly moving forward.

 

We are HOROMARKA HAWEENKA SOOMALIYEED,

SOMALI WOMEN MOVING FORWARD!

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Written by Beth Stock and Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project

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US Together: Empowering Economic Self Sufficiency in Single Refugee Mothers

Our single women group here at US Together is a wonderful, beautiful group. We have started our use of grant funding to meet with Nepali-speaking refugee women from Bhutan. These great ladies are dealing with quite a few issues, especially financial ones.

We began our first meetings by introducing ourselves to each other. Many of these women had already met. Even those who did not know each other have already become friends. We talked about what issues they are dealing with in general. Many have serious health issues, and as do their children. I was somewhat surprised to find that every single woman that had a job disliked her job. Several had just been laid off, and two are unemployed. Approaching financial literacy is difficult if you have no financial resources to begin with.

Our primary discussion has been finding jobs and discussing their current financial situation. One woman put it quite well: “how am I supposed to save money when I cannot even pay my rent?” She’s absolutely right. Our focus has to be on getting them jobs that give them more hours per week, which is where we are right now. On Thursday, we will be meeting with a veteran banker to discuss all that banks have to offer in terms of checking, savings, and credit—all information they will be able to use now and in the future.

In addition to this, we have discussed several other issues during our meetings. All of the women have very heavy burdens to carry. One has a son that has recurring seizures, and another’s son had a botched surgery in Nepal that left him incontinent. One woman was laid off and has three teenage girls to care for. Another’s husband just died a few months ago. The struggles that they have shared with me have led me to start planning for a mental health professional to come in and talk with women. I want to ensure that these women are in emotionally and psychologically good place when they get to the point where they can save and use their money wisely.

I am optimistic that with all the help and support given to them, these women will flourish in their new home!

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Written by Rachel Zupan, US Together 

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#AllMenCan create gender equality and influence

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He is your father. Your uncle. Your Coach. Your best friend.  

He is the man who always supported you and encouraged you.   

Today we pay tribute to the remarkable men who share their voices 

and invest in the potential of all women and girls.

 

Make a donation in honor or memory of a man who impacted your life, 

click here to pay tribute and celebrate him.  

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Community Change Agent: Andie Boutelle

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My very first experience with The Women’s Fund was during my senior year of high school, back in 2009. I tagged along with my mom to a grant reader workshop, which at the time was held at the Limited Brands headquarters. Inspired by the mission of The Women’s Fund and the wonderful ladies that I met, that same year I created a video for the One Girl initiative and attended my first Keyholder. Fast forward three and a half years, I found myself heading to The Women’s Fund office to interview for an internship position. I was ecstatic to find out that same day that, despite my nerves during the interview, I was invited to join The Women’s Fund team.

My journey with The Women’s Fund began with a lot of firsts. We all know about the nature of “first experiences”, which consists of a little awkwardness, some fumbling, and occasional (okay, frequent) slip-ups. I’ve held various, service-y type jobs before, but this was my very first internship in an actual office. Not only did I have a lot to learn about the Women’s Fund, but also a lot to learn about the intricacies of working in an office environment.

I learned A LOT. I learned about how to create and format Excel spreadsheets, how to answer the phone, how to edit pieces of writing. But I also learned about more abstract concepts, for example how everything that I do, like smiling while greeting guests and being friendly and helpful over the phone, was a reflection of the Women’s Fund and its values. How every little interaction with a person matters, because our collective strength is comprised of individual women, and our relationship with each and every one of them is important.

I learned more about The Women’s Fund and what they do. I learned about the journey from donation dollars to tangible social change. I learned about the different challenges that are particularly unique to women, like wage disparities, teen pregnancy, and self-esteem. I learned that despite all of this, women and girls are incredibly resilient. I learned that anyone can be a philanthropist, and how empowering it is to be a part of the cycle of women helping other women.

During my time here, I’ve come to realize how The Women’s Fund is not just a brand or an office or a staff. We really are a community of strong, diverse women philanthropists invested in the potential of women and girls. I continue to be in awe of the altruism and selfless involvement of all of the women who come together and offer their talents, time, and treasure in the name of something much bigger than any of us: social change. We are truly an organization for women, by women. What we do is transformational.

I’m wrapping up my time at The Women’s Fund with only a few days left as an intern. All good things come to an end, and endings usually call for a bit of reflection. As I look back on these past few months, I realize all that I have gained from my experience here. I will go forth equipped with new, incredibly useful office skills. But more importantly, I will go forth with new outlook on what it means to be a woman, pressing gender issues in society, and the power of women supporting one another. Don’t get me wrong, office skills are nice to have, but my worldview after working with The Women’s Fund is something that will continue to shape my actions and myself as a person throughout my life.

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Written by Andie Bouttelle, Women’s Fund Intern

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Community Change Agent: Paige Quinton

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During announcements last fall, my principal asked if anyone would be interested in being a grant reader for the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. I had no idea what grant reading was and I had never heard of the Women’s Fund. I have always been involved in my school and church but this was out of my comfort zone. I thought grant reading could be fun and it included a free dinner, so I signed up. The night of the first grant reading workshop I did not know what to expect. I sat down at a table with a few women. Being 16 years old, I was nervous sitting with adults I didn’t know. However my nerves quickly dissipated, as soon as I sat down everyone introduced themselves and the conversation started.

As the evening progressed I learned about the Women’s Fund mission and the importance of grants for women and girls in central Ohio. That night I learned everything I needed to know about the various aspects of the grants I would be evaluating and then discussing in a small group two weeks later. The concept that has stuck with me the most from grant reading was learning about reaching consensus. I attend Columbus School for Girls and there is no girl at my school who is afraid to voice their opinion. When I first started at CSG as a freshman, this assertiveness seemed arrogant but then I realized how important it is that women and girls be able and willing to voice their honest opinions. The concept of reaching consensus is something I brought back to school and it has helped me reach decisions much faster with my friends when we have differing opinions in class, in a group project, or outside of class. Women and girls need to be able to voice their opinions and compromise if necessary.

At the second workshop we met in small groups and I got to see consensus forming in action. The most terrifying part of the night was when my small group asked me to be the one to share with the group of 150 women our favorite grant. I have always hated public speaking and my hands were shaking as I was handed the microphone. The entire time I was talking, I was dying inside. I might have talked for only three minutes but the experience was a major step for me to realize public speaking is not nearly as bad as it seemed.

Thanks to my experience as a grant reader I have become more open to trying new things and wanting to explore all the different opportunities that come my way. As a junior I have the opportunity to participate in an internship the last two weeks of school. When making my choice in March there was nothing on the list that caught my attention. An email came out a few days later saying there might be an internship with the Women’s Fund and I knew that would be something I would enjoy.

I have had the amazing opportunity to spend a week at the Women’s Fund, seeing everything that goes on behind the scenes. I loved learning about the entire grant making process and seeing the steps that must be taken before the grants reach the grant readers. I have gained a deeper understanding of the mission of the Women’s Fund. The entire experience was something very new to me but I felt welcomed from the very beginning. The jobs I was given were all explained clearly and I knew if I had any question along the way I could ask anyone a question. This week I was asked to do a few tasks that are not the most fun or interesting things to do, but I did not mind. By my second day, I had become so passionate about the work of the Women’s Fund that I was willing to do anything to help out in any way.

As I enter my senior year of high school in the fall, I know I will have a lot more leadership roles and responsibilities for me. My time at the Women’s Fund has helped me to better understand the impact I can have on others and the importance of using that impact to make positive changes. Through grant reading, attending Keyholder, and interning in the office for a week, I have heard the words social change and change-agent a lot. I feel that my experiences with the Women’s Fund have helped me understand that everyone is a change-agent, no matter the size of their impact on their community. At 16 years old, I know there many more challenges, rewards, and lessons in store for me but I have the confidence that I am and always will be a change-agent where ever life may take me.

 

Written by Paige Quinton, Columbus School for Girls student intern

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Behind the Scenes: Keyholder 2014

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If my experience at The Women’s Fund were a mountain, Keyholder would be the summit.

As an intern, a large portion of my time was dedicated to assisting in the preparation of Keyholder. From sealing hundreds of envelopes to answering questions from guests over the phone, every small action was a step towards one collective goal; to ensure that this year’s Keyholder would engage and educate the community about issues effecting women and girls. We wanted Keyholder to encourage women to unlock their own potential, and the potential of all women by creating gender equality and social change. During the months leading up to May, the office was filled with palpable anticipation, excitement, and build-up.

When the morning of May 1st finally arrived it felt like Christmas; this would be the day on which all of chaos and hard work of the staff and community would manifest into a beautiful, seamless event.

Before working at the Women’s Fund I have attended a Keyholder as a guest. My first Keyholder experience was in 2010 when Diane Keaton took the stage, yet this was my first Keyholder working and witnessing the action behind the scenes. As a member of the audience, I remember feeling so inspired by Diane and all of her femininity and strength.

On May 1st, as an intern, I felt the same sentiments towards this year’s guest, Ashley Judd, but my attention was more focused on the collective strength, power, and unity of the 2,500 women and change-agents that filled the seats of the Ohio Theatre. My intrigue shifted more from the celebrity status of the speaker to the power of the Women’s Fund community.

From behind the scenes, I saw more clearly how each and every woman and girl that attended brought something special to Keyholder. I know in my mind that a large number of women support the cause of gender equality, but to see a visual representation of that was extremely moving. Seeing a theatre full of strong, diverse women come together to support one cause was an emotional experience.

When Ashley Judd took the stage, she brought a unique energy to Keyholder. Her authenticity radiated as she spoke, allowing her to connect with the audience on many different levels. As Ashley spoke of the trials and tribulations of her past, she shared how it was the encouragement and leadership of her strong female counterparts that helped to guide her through various challenges of her life. Without the support of these women, Ashley Judd may not have become the renowned actress, humanitarian, and advocate that she is today. In other words, the guidance of other women helped Ashley to reach her full potential. She shared this sentiment with us, stating, “You never have to do it alone. That’s what [female] alliances are about.”

As I looked out into the thousands of women seated in The Ohio Theatre, eyes fixated on Ashley, I realized that her words rang especially true on this night. We don’t have to do it alone. Each one of us at Keyholder had gathered to support each other in our mission to bring about social change. We are not alone in the seemingly daunting goal to create gender equality and influence in central Ohio; all I had to do was look at all of the women around me to see that.

 

Written by Andie Bouttelle, Women’s Fund Intern

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Planned Parenthood’s Peer Education Program: Helping Teens Stay Healthy

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They don’t always ask, but teens want help with so many things: homework, learning to drive, dating — and yes, avoiding pregnancy. While the teen pregnancy rate has declined significantly over the last two decades, it’s still a serious issue in Franklin County.  May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and it’s a good reminder that we all can help teens get the information and resources they need to stay healthy and prevent pregnancy until they’re ready to become parents.

Did you know that one in three young women in the U.S. become pregnant before they turn 20? Although the teen pregnancy rate has decreased significantly within past years, the U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all the industrialized nations in the world. Getting pregnant as a teen can have serious consequences for a young person’s future. Becoming a parent as a teenager can affect a young person’s ability to finish school, influence their ability to make a living, and affect their children in numerous ways.

For some communities, teen pregnancy is even more of an issue. Latino teen pregnancy and birth rates are more than 1.5 times higher than the national average, and Latina teens are more likely than non-Latina white teens to have a repeat teen birth. The birth rate for African-American teens is more than twice that of non-Latina white teens.  Lesbian and bisexual teenagers are twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to become pregnant unintentionally.

Whoa! Despite all of the concerning statistics, the GREAT news is that we know what works to prevent teen pregnancy. Research shows that comprehensive sex education — the type of education provided by Planned Parenthood’s Peer Education Program — helps young people delay sex and increases the use of contraception and condoms when they do become sexually active.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s Peer Education Program trains 15 teen girls from Eastmoor Academy and Whitehall-Yearling High School to provide medically accurate, non-judgmental sexual health information to their peers for the prevention of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).  These young women are taught to facilitate conversations about abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and positive self-esteem.  Studies have shown that people are most likely to accept information from someone they view as a peer rather than an authority figure.

Peer Educators build on the relationships they already have with their peers, and positively influence them to reduce risk-taking behaviors. Through both one-on-one and classroom experiences these young ladies make sure their peers have the most up to date information about what they are up against and have the tools to protect themselves.  Peer Educators also maintain a Facebook page to encourage teens well outside of Franklin County to practice positive behaviors, and are able to lead their friends to an array of digital education tools designed just for them. Teens also can access a chat/text program that allows them to ask urgent questions to trained experts when they need fast, confidential assistance at www.plannedparenthood.org/chat or by texting 774636.

Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, states, “You want to play on the idea that using birth control and planning for sex makes you smart, it makes you a good partner, it makes your relationship a healthy one.” These are the types of empowering messages Peer Educators strive to communicate to their peers. Providing teens with honest information about pregnancy and contraception, as well as helping them to feel confident in their ability to make sexual health decisions and find appropriate resources gives teens the tools to stay healthy and have the brightest futures possible.

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 Written by Constance Dunlap, Community Health Educator

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio

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Go Wild for Girls on the Run 5k Event!

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The Girls on the Run of Franklin County Spring 2014 5K Event is this Sunday, May 18th 9AM, 2014 at Columbus Commons. This event is open to the community!

The 5K starts at 9:00 am.  On-site registration, Happy Hair, Face Painting, and other pre-race activities will begin at 8:00 am.

Anyone who has been to a Girls on the Run 5K knows that it is unlike any other running event.  It is a celebration of and for the girls who are completing a ten week season of Girls on the Run programming. By the day of the 5K, their enthusiasm is so unbridled that they are running around before the race!  Positive energy abounds as the girls dance to warm-up music, get their hair “happied” and “tattoos” on their faces, and gather with their teammates to hold hands as they head to the starting line.  Our 5K is a non-competitive event that will bring a smile to your face! The theme of our Spring 2014 Girls on the Run 5k is “Go Wild for Girls on the Run!”. Put on your zebra or tiger stripes and cheetah print and let’s ROAR: We love Girls on the Run!

GOTR/ GOT Parents, Loved Ones, Siblings Community Supporters: You will be so glad you joined us! *Proceeds go to Girls on the Run of Franklin County.

Register here

Being a grant partner of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio during the Spring 2014 season allowed 60 girls to receive running shoes and participation fee sponsorships. Three Girls on the Run sites in Columbus City Schools at Lindbergh E.S., Watkins E.S., and Ohio Ave. E.S.  and one Girls on Track site at the Ohio School for the Deaf will join the almost 700 other girls from all over Franklin County as they take their first steps together across the starting line and joyously return to finish hand in hand, smiles beaming beholden at their collective accomplishment.  Aliyah, a Girls on the Run girl, described the GOTR 5k Event as “feeling like you are running with hundreds of best friends you didn’t even know you had, and when you finish, people you don’t even know you are cheering you on. It just feels awesome!”. This event and every season would not be possible without the support of dedicated and passionate coaching volunteers and 5k event volunteers who work to make this culminating event a memorable day for the girls.

Girls on the Run of Franklin County is a physical activity based positive youth development program designed to develop and enhance girls’ (in grades 3 through 8/ages 8-14) social, psychological, and physical competencies (utilizing running) to successfully navigate life experiences. Over the course of the program our girls develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to self and others with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults and make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. We are a nonprofit with 501(c)3 status.

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Written by Jess Sparks, Council Director for Girls on the Run of Franklin County 

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Thank you, Columbus Change-Agents!

“You never have to do it alone. That’s what female alliances are about.”

Last night, with 2,500 change-agents, we shared an incredible evening with Ashley Judd.

Thanks to your support we have surpassed our Keyholder goal and raised more than $500,000! And, you can still donate and double your impact today: http://bit.ly/1i70p9y

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Keyholder…

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There are few seats still available for this Thursday with Ashley Judd

Get your tickets today: http://bit.ly/Keyholder14

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Ashley Judd’s book, ‘All That is Bitter and Sweet’, begins with a quote that, to me, captures the essence of who she is.

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am only for myself, what am I?

If not now, when?”

-Rabbi Hillel

Reading this quote, it’s undeniable that Ashley Judd is a monumental change agent.  In her book, and in her life, Ashley is grounded.  She knows who she is and works to help others find themselves, constantly reaching out to those who need support or guidance.  Her voice is firm and assertive.  Ashley knows her purpose and her book demonstrates who that person is.  She reminds us of the importance of being present and finding importance and meaning in all that we do.

“Everything I’ve done has been personally fun, important, and meaningful to me.”  -Ashley Judd

We all know Ashley Judd from the big screen, but she is more than that.  She is a woman we can relate to and someone we all strive to be more like.  She is a true change agent, as she is a constant catalyst of change, seeing the need for it, and making it happen.  Part of being a change agent is recognizing this need, and feeling a connection that makes it impossible to ignore

“I am often asked why I regularly leave behind my comfortable life, my beautiful farm, my incredible husband, to visit the squalid and often dangerous places, advocating sustainable grassroots programs that improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people, bringing attention to the core causes and conditions of their suffering.  I go because I must.”  -Ashley Judd

Ashley self admittedly came from a rocky past.  Abuse, neglect, and family problems riddled her childhood and even her adulthood.  She does not deny the troubles she has overcome, and is willing to reference her past in her writing.  Yet, rather than dwelling, she always uses her past as a reason to move forward and as a key to relating to people in situations that may at first have seemed so unable to relate to.  In this way, she is for herself.  She is for herself, but in a way that makes her more available to others, and more able to help those that need her.  She uses her past to propel herself.  By doing this, she shows us the importance of self-love, which is a necessary, but often overlooked trait of successful and inspirational women.

Though many may first recognize Ashley Judd as a successful actor or child of a famous musical family, her true calling and passion are humanitarianism.  After years of traveling and acting, she knew she was ready to give more, so she did.  She started traveling the world, representing women, children, and the impoverished, and fighting against the global epidemic of AIDS.  Ashley has traveled to several countries not only promoting healthy relationships and preventative programs, but also sharing her life with those who have had little contact with a concerned world.  Ashley is for others not because of what she does, but because of who she is when she is doing it.

“When we take the risk of really witnessing another human being, when we validate their human experience, we risk becoming recruited to their welfare.  I allow my empathy to be engaged, and once it is – because my feelings help teach me what my values are – I’m on the path for which there is no return.  I am inexorably an advocate when I allow my empathy to be engaged.” –Ashley Judd

The last part of the quote from the prologue asks a question we have all probably asked ourselves at some point–if not now, when?  Knowing what you can do for change and actually doing it are two very different things.  We all see the need for change in our world and also in our own community.  Daily we are faced with the realities of unequal rights, impoverished communities, and spreading health epidemics—just to name a few.  So, I ask, what are we waiting for?

If not now, when?

Join us Thursday, May 1st, as we all, change agents, come together to be inspired and to learn from a fellow change agent who dared to ask herself just that—if not now, when?

Find out what it takes to propel yourself into all that you were meant, and find out just how alike we all are, coming from different backgrounds and different presents to create a future that we can all be proud of.  Keyholder this year is about change agents—being one, and recognizing all of those around us who have already taken the steps towards change.  We will celebrate Ashley and also ourselves.

“You have so much power to bring awareness, prevention, and change.”  -Ashley Judd

Join us in our celebration of the power of change.

 

 

Written by Brittany Teal, Women’s Fund Intern

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Paying Tribute: local and global gratitude

She is strong. Resilient. Compassionate. Wise. Kind. Supportive. Thoughtful. She is your mother. Your sister. Your friend. Your teacher.  Your mentor. She is every woman who has ever encouraged, empowered, and believed in you.  

At the Women’s Fund we believe in paying tribute in honor or memory of the special women, and girls in our lives. A tribute allows you, in your own words, to share your appreciation and gratitude. 

With Mother’s Day a month away we are highlighting a couple women who have affected the lives of Women’s Fund supporters and donors. While also reminding ourselves of the power a mother, or grandmother has globally and locally. 

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Magdalena “Lena” Bauer Patton was a strong, trailblazing woman who was ahead of her time in many ways.  She was born in 1912 to German immigrants who came to Springfield, Ohio, for a better life.  They owned a bakery and they struggled.  Lena was often told in words and in actions that she was less important than her big brother.  When his socks were worn through and unfixable, Lena would be expected to wear them.  When she dreamed of going to college, she was told women should not be educated.

Lena believed in herself and in the need for women to be educated.  She put herself through Wittenberg University during the Depression.  She earned a biology degree and graduated in the class of 1933.  She worked three jobs while going to school to pay for Wittenberg.  She graduated at noon and was back to work at 1:00 p.m.

Lena Bauer Patton was my grandmother.  She was hugely influential to me and she is reason I have my career.  I would go to her house after school as a young child.  She, my grandfather, and I would watch the business news channel (the pre-curser to CNBC) and track individual stocks like Coca Cola, Disney, and Nike.   She taught me about being generous while being conservative with spending.  She taught me about the joy that comes from spending money on experiences with family and friends.  

Despite health and life challenges, she was a shining example of civic involvement.  She was on the boards of Ridgewood School and the Y.W.C.A. in Springfield.  She had four children and a husband who traveled for his career but she made time to give back.  She was the matriarch to her adoring family which also included 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren while she was living (now 12).

Lena Bauer Patton believed in education for all.  All of her grandchildren have undergraduate degrees and 7 have advanced degrees.   She was intellectually curious and always kept up with current events.  She read the Wall Street Journal every day of her life until she passed away at the age of 93.  Her sharp business acumen was not allowed to flourish due to other life responsibilities.

She is the reason I majored in Economics at The University of Virginia.  My first present when I went away to school was my first subscription to the Wall Street Journal.  Early in my career, I sent my grandmother a note of thanks and picture of myself in my first real office.  I sent her my business card.  I had hoped she would smile and keep it on the “ice box”.  Instead she cried tears of joy, pride, and happiness. 

I asked my grandmother one year at Easter to answer 10 questions I had written about her life and the historic world events she had lived through – the Depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the social and cultural changes in America, etc.   At Christmas, she presented me with a notebook filled with pictures, family history, and expanded answers to my many questions.  No one else in my family knew I had asked her and received this treasure trove of memories.  She passed away on July 20, 2005 surrounded by family – the same way she had lived her pioneering life.  At the funeral, I presented copies of her memory book to her children and grandchildren.  Her life and her stories – written in her own handwriting – continue to teach us, guide us, and help us as we encounter the challenges and joys of life.

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Written by Cary Hanosek, Women’s Fund Programs Committee & Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor

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At the Women’s Fund we are working locally to create gender equality and influence in central Ohio. By working with soHza, a company that connects women change makers, we are able to be a part of something even bigger.

soHza believes that when a woman is at the center of change, anything is possible.

soHza facilitates a partnership between local non profits for women and global inspired artist from all over the world. So, as we honor mother’s and women mentors locally we would also like to pay tribute to them globally.

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http://www.sohza.com/category/women-there/

Check out the Women’s Fund’s soHza collection here: http://www.sohza.com/the-womens-fund/

 

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Will you join us to see Ashley Judd on May 1?

Your know her. You love her. Now, see her like never before! 

Join us for an intimate conversation with author, activist, and actor at the Ohio Theatre on Thursday, May 1st:http://bit.ly/Keyholder14

 

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