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Welcome to AAUW-KC

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), founded in 1881, is the nation’s leading organization advocating equity for women and girls. Its national membership of 100,000 seeks to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

Founded by prominent Kansas City women in 1893, the Kansas City branch of the American Association of University Women has mirrored society’s changes. No longer is it primarily a social organization with clubrooms, but rather one with meaningful projects to support the education and equity of women. Among the long-standing projects is the Hundred High School Girls, providing scholarships and recognition for girls in the greater Kansas City, MO area, started in 1931. This branch is frequently listed among the top donors to the AAUW Funds, national support for education. Unique projects have been started after careful study by interest groups and branch programs.

Membership Meetings



Our January membership meeting with a theme of “Vocal Results” will be held at Ardy Pearson’s home (1012 W. 66th Terr., Kansas City, MO 64113). Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the ladies of Heartsong from the KC Women’s Chorus will serenade us with their dulcet tones, then AAUW fellow, Adrienne Anderson will speak to us about her quest and how she is using the AAUW grant to further her Electrical Engineering BA in the Medical field at UMKC. Please call or email Ardy to let her know you will be attending, 816-444-6651 / pearson@kc.rr.com




AAUW-Kansas City will join with the Shawnee Mission Branch for a luncheon program at Lakeview Village (14001 W. 92nd St., Lenexa, KS) in the Southridge Building, 5th floor. Shawnee Mission members will present a special program on travel (more details coming soon.) $15.50 per person/RSVP by February 10. Your check is your reservation, please mail to: Elizabeth Luck, AAUW-SM, 9910 Rosewood Lane, Overland Park, KS 66207.

Women’s Issues Legislative Retreat




Hy-Vee Grocery Conference Room (2nd Floor), 405 E. Nifong Blvd., Columbia, MO

Speakers will review 2014 Legislature and analyze mid-term elections. Group will set 2015 Legislative Priorities. For more details, email Shirley Breeze at sbreeze@mindspring.com. Anyone interested in carpooling to Columbia early that morning, please contact Linda Berube at ljbaauw@hotmail.com or 816-809-0139.


2014 Wagy Awards Recap


As always, this year’s Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon was festive and rewarding! We met representatives from three local organizations receiving the Wagy awards and hear about the good work their organization does. The event was held on Dec. 6 at Lidia’s Restaurant. After partaking of fine Italian cuisine, guests observed a moment of silence in memory of Pam Burke, AAUW-KC Co-Program Chair, who had done the event planning and had passed away suddenly a few weeks prior. Then it was on to presentations by the representatives of the three organizations. Here is a bit about each of the organizations and the awards received. Clearly, we cannot capture in this write-up the passion these groups bring to their work nor the voices of those who benefit from their work. For that, one needed to be at this event.

Amethyst Place, Inc. provides treatment based supportive housing for homeless, low-income, high-risk women who have a history of chronic alcohol and/or drug abuse and their children. They are a campus of 38 fully furnished apartments, serving 60 families per year including their 120 children, more than half preschool age.

Julie Carmichael, Founder of Amethyst Place’s EnCompass Mentoring Program, and Christina Benz, a resident of Amethyst Place and participant in the mentoring program, and a mentee of Julie’s, received a check for $3,672 which will be used to support the mentoring program which currently consists of 20 moms and 40 mentor pairs (professional women who are already friends and have established, healthy relationships which they can model for the moms. Program participants attend to two meetings a month where they share a meal and where the moms can learn ways to improve their health-related behaviors, care of their children, and life-course development. Clearly the mentor/mentee friendships that result far surpass just the learnings that take place during the meetings, as we learned from Christina and Julie.

Connecting for Good works to ensure that low income and under resourced Kansas City residents have an Internet-connected computer in their homes. To help people become active digital citizens, Connecting for Good offers three equally important programs to the community – connectivity, affordable refurbished computers and digital literacy, conducting free classes and one-on-one and hands-on digital tutorials at its centers and mobile computer labs held in places like libraries and community centers.

Marian McClellan, AAUW member and a volunteer with Connecting for Good, spoke about the great work this organization is doing and then introduced Michael Liimatta, President of the organization, who accepted a check for $3,225 which will “buy” 43 refurbished computers for women and girls in Kansas City who, after taking Connecting for Good’s free classes, are unable to afford the cost of a computer.

True Light Family Resource Center’s Emancipation Station offers homeless, near homeless and community women a safe place to stay during the day while they search for employment and permanent housing. Classes, taught by volunteers, are offered that aim to teach skills that empower women to become self-sufficient and more productive community members.

Alice Piggee-Wallack, True Light’s Executive Director, and Kelli Wright, Board Member, were presented a check for $2,000 to purchase equipment and supplies for Emancipation Station’s Creative Outlet for Women program.  These funds will allow tan  already-successful sewing program to expand to teach participants simple quilting techniques with the hope that their work will evolve into an art form that is displayable and marketable. The quilts they create will tell a story – the maker’s story.

The Wagy Fund was established through a bequest from Irene Van Der Veer Wagy which is held and managed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Funds available through this endowment are supplemented by donations from AAUW-KC members and friends. A Wagy Committee of reads applications from organizations who are seeking grants in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 and selects from among these. This year’s committee members included Cynthia Ginn, Ellen Johnson, Sara Pedram, Dana Perry, Winnie Weinrich and Chair Jane Crigler. LaVon Colhour, Manager of Community Investment at the Foundation, provided staff support.

2014 Wagy table shots.

Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award 2014 Event Recap

Over 100 authors and guests gathered at the Kansas City Central Library for the 36th Annual Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award in early October. The award was established in 1979 by AAUW-KC to honor Thorpe Menn, longtime book editor of The Kansas City Star, who supported all aspects of Kansas City’s cultural life, especially local authors and artists.

tm2014picThe 2014 Literary Excellence Award was presented to Maija Rhee Devine for her book The Voices of Heaven. The finalists were: Suzanne Kelly for Stolen Child and Deborah Shouse, Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregivers Journey. Congratulations to all of the 26 nominated authors!

AAUW-KC honored Crosby Kemper III for a decade of generous support of the Thorpe Menn Award – with his help we have been able to honor and recognize over 150 local authors.

Special thanks to keynote speaker Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star Editorial Columnist; Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren of Rainy Day Books; and all of our table hostesses and volunteers.

We are already making plans for the 37th event in October 2015. If you would like to nominate an author, please go to the Thorpe Menn page under “Events” for 2015 guidelines.

June Celebration Picnic Recap

Following a lovely potluck dinner with fellowship and conversation, President Nicky Stanke addressed the group of 33 in attendance at the June Celebration Picnic. She welcomed all including new member Judith McGunegle, who only recently moved to Kansas City and just joined our branch at the picnic. When Judith was asked how she knew about the KC Branch and about the evening’s event, she answered that she found the information on our website.

Prior to introducing the two Centennial Scholarship winners, Nicky read an inspiring email from 2013 Re-Entry and Centennial Scholarship winner Crystal Wolfe. She sent her regrets about being unavailable to join us, but she is currently at NASA doing an internship. Crystal, majoring in Engineering at UMKC, expressed her appreciation to AAUW for awarding her two scholarships last year.

picnicrecapNicky then introduced the two 2014 Centennial Scholarship winners—Lizbeth Lopez Shields and Sunday Hatten – and asked each woman to tell a little bit about herself.  Lizbeth, attending with her husband and two children, said she is working toward a degree in Nursing and Social Science at Maple Woods Community College.  She thanked AAUW-KC for its generosity.  Sunday said she attends Penn Valley Community College and is the mother of seven children, with the added remark that it requires much dedication and determination to return to school.  She complimented us on the history book published in 1993, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Kansas City Branch. Sunday said she was most grateful for the scholarship.

Nicky said it was her honor to announce the two “Named Gift” recipients … Pamela Burke and Renee Carlson.  The number of annual recipients for each Missouri Branch is determined by the per capita contributions for the program year.  Nicky commended Pam and Renee, the Program Co-Vice Presidents this past year, for the many superb programs that they planned and presented to the Branch in 2013-2014.

She then gave her remarks as outgoing President.  Nicky shared our sadness at the loss of our dear friend and member, Gloria Bandstra; but remarked that Gloria would have wished for us to go forward in our efforts to attain equity for all women.  She thanked the many women who helped and supported in her journey:  Carrie Maidment and Pam Chaudoin—Thorpe Menn Literary Awards Luncheon; Jane Crigler and committee—Irene Wagy Awards Luncheon; Earline Bentley and Dana Perry—100 High School Girls Scholarship event; Stephanie Holthaus—Re-Entry Chair; Joanie Shores and Jane Crigler—Public Policy; Ardy Pearson—Branch History project; Ellen Johnson and Stefanie Hatfield—Finance Chair and Finance Officer; Earline Bentley and Sara Pedram in their efforts to recruit and retain membership.

Additional “celebration” comments included: In 1939 at the AAUW National Convention, the attendees rejected the ERA–but the good news is we’re still working to get it ratified. She commended Jane Crigler and Joanie Shores for their tireless efforts in this regard. In the past 20 years we have donated $57,000 to the AAUW funds. She thanked Stefanie Hatfield, Dana Perry and Ellen Johnson for their many creative ideas to raise funds for the Dollars for Scholars program, and most recently, Dana Perry’s project of selling tickets to the film “Wadjda” and to the KC Women’s Chorus spring concert, with portions being contributed to Dollars for Scholars. She thanked Marian McClellan and Carrie Maidment for compiling, editing and publishing the monthly AAUW newsletter with superior guidance from Linda Berube.

The drawing for the two raffle tickets to the Metropolitan Ensemble Theater (contributed by Winnie Weinrich) was then held. The lucky winner was Maureen Hurley, who thanked Winnie for her generous contribution and said she enjoyed theater. Marian McClellan won an AAUW bag of goodies for having paid her 2014-15 dues by June 5.

Nicky Stanke called Linda Berube to the podium and presented her with an appreciation gift for her two years of exemplary service as AAUW-Missouri State President, with a round of applause from the audience.

Linda in turn presented Nicky with a special gift of appreciation for her leadership in 2013-2014.  She then presided at the Installation of Officers for 2014-2015 with special proclamations and gifts for each officer. (See listing of officers in “About Us”.)

Nicky then turned over the gavel to 2014-15 President Winnie Weinrich. She was wearing an expansive purple hat and began by reading several quotes by Bella Abzug. Winnie shared her top three goals as president:

1) Exceed 110 in membership.

2) Offer our Homecoming event in September to former members and invite them to return to AAUW-KC.

3) Identify four college girls (and help with expenses) to attend NCWSL in June 2015.

Other business and announcements:  Linda Berube reported that 11 members and four students are registered to attend the regional conference June 14-15 at Four Seasons Lodge (Lake of the Ozarks). Corinne Mahaffey requested that anyone who has AAUW archival items to please contact her. She will pick up the items or photograph them for Branch historical records.  Joanie Shores announced the annual KC Women’s Equality Week is scheduled for August 24-29 and that volunteers are needed.