AAUW of Vermont Board of Directors

Minutes of the January 24, 2009 Leaders Meeting
Middlebury College Library

Board Members present: Andrea Weisberg, Jennifer Kern, Mary Feidner, Gudrun Hutchins, Bennington; Louise Luring, Jenifer Ambler, Brattleboro; Donna Blaise, Dot Rand, Middlebury, Diane Telford, Burlington.
Guest speakers present: Kimberly Edgar, Northeast Regional AAUW Liaison for National Girls Collaborative Project; Rebecca Gurney, Executive Director YWCA Vermont

President Andrea Weisberg opened the meeting with a quotation from Ghandi:
“You may never know what results come from your action … but if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

State Convention
Louise Luring summarized plans for the State convention to be hosted by the Brattleboro Branch on Saturday, April 25 at the School for International Training. The Branch will offer overnight home hospitality on Friday in return for a donation to EF. A pot luck supper and possibly a movie screening are planned for Friday evening. The topics to be addressed on Saturday will focus on the changing face of Vermont due to immigration and foreign farm workers. This leads to diversity in schools and in our communities. A Dafur Refugee currently studying at SIT on an AAUW international scholarship will be invited as a speaker. An hour of the program will be devoted to discussion of the new national bylaws by Patricia Ho, our Regional Director.

National Girls Collaborative Project
Kimberly Edgar, AAUW Liaison for the NGCP in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, spoke about the Collaborative and what it is trying to accomplish. The main goal is to promote girl-serving STEM projects and maximize access to shared resources with public and private sector organizations and institutions. The Collaborative also awards mini-grants to initiate some new creative programs and brings leaders together to share experiences. Kimberly indicated that there is an active STEM Collaborative in Connecticut and in Maine with a lot of AAUW input, but that not much is happening in the remaining four states. Gudrun stated that the “Eureka Project”, a successful STEM program was run by the Bennington Branch in 2004 through 2006 with 8th and 9th grade girls. The project received a 2 year Community Action Grant and Gudrun submitted a detailed report, sent photos, and offered to share ideas for the experiments. There was no response from AAUW or EF. Kimberly explained that there had been many staff changes and there was no coordination between the EF staff and the NGCP staff at the time of Eureka. She encouraged Gudrun to register the hands-on science program she is now doing with 6th graders at Pownal Elementary School. Please contact Kimberly Edgar with any ideas you may have. She can be reached at kimberlyedgar@aol.com or 603-448-3708.

Several ideas for fundraising were discussed. Diane mentioned the “Shop-Hop” Program supported by many quilting supply stores in Vermont. Each shop makes a quilt from the same pattern each year in different fabrics. These quilts are wall hangings rather than bed-sized quilts and are displayed in the stores. One store was willing to donate a quilt to Dragon Heart, a breast cancer organization that Diane works with. Several members agreed to contact a quilting supply shop to ask whether they would be willing to donate a quilt for an AAUW raffle. Other board members discussed silent auctions, a theater party, a “Spa Raffle” with services donated by local shops. Many of these activities work best when they are associated with another event in town.

There was a short discussion about nominations with Gudrun explaining that the committee was still working on finding a president elect and would consider the other positions in more detail after that. The following members agreed to continue to serve in their present positions: Diane Telford – Program, Louise Luring – Public Policy, Jenifer Ambler – Treasurer, Jennifer Kern – Membership (to the end of Andrea’s term). Andrea Weisberg has indicated that she would be interested in working with special projects after her term as president’s ends in June 2010.

Member Showcase Calendar
Andrea discussed the Member Showcase Calendar on the AAUW website and asked for a volunteer to register programs on the national web calendar. There was a discussion about privacy issues (email addresses and meetings in a member’s home) and whether anyone would look at the calendar on the national AAUW website to find branch programs in Vermont. The consensus was that some public Vermont programs might be worth listing and Andrea volunteered to register the information on the web calendar. Please email information about public branch events to Andrea for listing.

Vermont YWCA
Rebecca Gurney, Executive Director of the YWCA of Vermont, spoke about her organization. She explained that the main purpose is to eliminate racism, deal with economic justice issues and empower women. In Vermont the YWCA does not own a building, but it owns Camp Hochelaga in South Hero on Lake Champlain. There are 7 sessions of the camp and typically 650 girls attend each summer. There are about 90 scholarships to assist with the $525/week camp fee for girls age 8 and up; the application deadline for 2009 is March 13. This summer there will be a new Girls’ Environmental Leadership Initiative at the camp. For more information you can reach Rebecca at her Colchester Office at 802-862-7520.

After lunch at the Grill, the group reconvened for short officer reports

Treasurer Jenifer Ambler reported that we currently have 163 members in our five branches with Bennington having both the highest total members and the most new members. We also have a current balance or $7,456 in the state account (minus checks written at the meeting). After some discussion Gudrun moved and Louise seconded that we designate $500 to support a student at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders to be held at the University of Maryland June 4-6. The vote was unanimous. It was discussed that a student who is a sophomore or junior and a Vermont resident would be preferred. The student would be expected to speak at a branch meeting and write an article for the state newsletter about the conference. Gudrun also moved and Mary Feidner seconded that a $1000 stipend be offered to the new president-elect to attend the National Convention in St. Louis. The vote was unanimous.

Membership Chair Jennifer Kern reminded those present that dues were half price starting in January. She asked branch treasurers to more clearly identify community members (those without degrees) when sending in state dues because this had been confusing at times. Board members re-affirmed that Vermont will not participate in the dues collection pilot program. Jennifer reported that there is a new membership brochure focused on the “Breaking Barriers” theme that is well done and can be used together with the individual branch brochures.

EF Chair Kathy Corrao, who was not present at the meeting, reported that $3544 had been donated for EF and that all five branches had participated.

LAF Chair Mary Feidner summarized the changes in the LAF focus. In the future LAF will consider discrimination in all workplaces and support cases that are likely to be precedent setting. LAF will still need our dollars to do this work, even though it will not be given to individual plaintiffs. The attorney’s network continues to be an important component of LAF.

Program Chair Diane Telford reported that there are several new Programs in a Box on the national website. Of particular interest is a program called “Let’s Read Math” which consists of books, workbooks, and activities that parents (or grandparents) and children can read and do together to discover the joys of math. Diane would like to update the Mission Based Programs booklet that she compiled previously. Please send her information about new branch programs held in 2008 and 2009.

Communications Chair Gudrun Hutchins announced that she has finally posted the content of Diane’s mission based programs booklet on the AAUW of Vermont website. The material has been separated into pages by subject matter so that a small section can be printed easily from the website. It will be simple to insert additional programs in the future. The next state newsletter with all the convention information will be issued at the end of March.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:25 pm

Recorder: Gudrun Hutchins

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