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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



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.

Congratulations to these Women & Girls who Received AAUW Scholarships in 2014

100hsgirlsOn April 6th the 100 High School Girls annual scholarship award program honored 100 young ladies from area high schools on their academic success. The event was held at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center in Kansas City. Three young ladies were awarded scholarships for their community service, leadership skills and academic success. Pictured left to right: Dixie Robinson from Northeast High School plans to attend Avila University to study Advertising and Public Relations; Candace Cunningham from Center High School plans to attend the University of Missouri Columbia to study Occupational Therapy; and Cynthia Odu from Lincoln College Preparatory Academy plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study Computer Science. Thank you to our guest speaker Barbara (Barb) Shelley, a columnist for the Kansas City Star and advocate for the education of girls and women. 

reentry2014On April 19th the InterBranch Council presented the annual Reentry Woman of the Year scholarships to six women who best exemplify the courage, effort and perseverance to return to the classroom after an absence of five or more years. Pictured above, left to right: Ashley Parker, MCCC Longview; Donna Young, UMKC; Angela Blackmon, MCCC Penn Valley; Rachelle (Shelly) Hardin, MCCC Blue River; Sunday Hatten, MCCC Penn Valley; and Rebecca Lassiter, MCCC Longview. Everyone enjoyed a delicious brunch at Unity Village and left inspired by the stories shared by the honorees.