Marge Nelson: A Friendly and Enthusiastic Clubwoman
August 9, 2016
The Jennie Award is named after Jane Cunningham Croly, the founder of GFWC who worked as a journalist using the pen name “Jennie June.” The women honored with this award are a true reflection of the spirit of GFWC’s founder, whose independence and courage led her to form the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1890. As the only award at the Federation level that recognizes individuals for their service, it is truly the highest honor a clubwoman can receive. Much like Jennie June, these women are committed to improving the lives of those around them. They live and breathe volunteer service, and are completely devoted to their clubs, communities, and families.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog post featuring Middle Atlantic Region Jennie Award Winner Sandra Roberts!
GFWC is pleased to announce that Marge Nelson of Westchester, Illinois, is the 2016 Great Lakes Region Jennie Award Winner. Marge received the award during the “Wonderful, Wacky Women” Luncheon at the 2016 GFWC Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
Marge is described by fellow clubwomen as a diligent worker who is knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic. She is compassionate and loving, always putting the needs of others first. She is currently a member of the Jackie’s Bow Ties Club and has been a member of GFWC since 1974, serving in leadership roles at the local, state, and national level.
Since 1966, Marge has dedicated herself to promoting American Indian culture in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. As Illinois State President from 2002-2004, Marge compiled a 69-page booklet about this subject, which was given to every district and club in Illinois. She was honored by the American Indian Center in Chicago at the center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Through Marge’s advocacy, the American Indian Center received monetary donations of over $35,000 and in-kind donations of over $350,000. Marge has also actively supported veterans, the GFWC Signature Project, and the Pillars Shelter.
In addition to her volunteer work with GFWC, Marge gives back to her community by volunteering for Westchester Community Church, where she has been a member for nearly 40 years. She has also given her time to the Westchester Park District, volunteering as a tour guide when the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall was brought to Westchester.
Carol Wait, president of Jackie’s Bow Tie Club, says she is amazed by Marge’s energy.
“She had three daughters, returned to school to earn a degree, ran three preschools, and still had time for the Woman’s Club and her community,” Carol said.
Marge is truly Living the Volunteer Spirit on a daily basis, and demonstrates how GFWC members can successfully improve their communities. From supporting American Indian families to serving for over 20 years as her town’s Easter Bunny, Marge’s work has touched countless lives.
“Marge is great example of a clubwoman. She is always willing and quite capable of fulfilling any position or task given to her,” Carol said.
Mary Lou Parks
For accomplished author and GFWC clubwoman Mary Lou Parks, writing her club history, HerStory, was a journey that formed lasting friendships and a new perspective on women’s history.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
GFWC Lawrence Classics Club
The GFWC Lawrence Classics Club (Kansas) has 19 members, and it’s an incredible mixture: one charter member has been involved since 1997; one member has been part of GFWC since 1960; there are a mother and daughter pair who are 2nd and 3rd generation clubwomen; four members are Boosters; and their youngest member only graduated from college last year. This assorted group shares the same values about volunteerism and puts them into action.