February 24, 2022
View our Important Dates page for upcoming events and milestones.
March 2 – Read Across America
By Tina Neese, Education and Libraries Community Service Program Chairman
Read Across America is a day set aside each year not only to celebrate one of the most well-known children book authors, Doctor Seuss, but it is also a great opportunity to promote the love of reading to children in your community. The value of reading is an important message to communicate to children.
Make sure places in your community that children frequent have Read Across America on the calendar. Host readings and provide families with books to read together and take home for their family libraries. If you are hosting a community event, feature books about the people or places in your community, or make your event a big reveal of a Little Free Library.
At your community’s school, or library event, offer live storytelling. Club members, local authors, or high school drama students could present traditional books for a great “storypalooza.” You could even add music and singing to the event! “Book tastings” are another fun way to celebrate. Transform a space in the library, cafeteria, or classroom for students to browse a variety of books and a menu of titles. As they read, provide little snacks related to titles on display.
Developing a reading garden is another exciting option for a Read Across America Day project. Work with libraries, schools, and communities to find a reflective reading space and help children learn about nature with books such as We are Water Protectors or All Around Us.
However your club plans to participate in Read Across America Day, consider purchasing books and other project supplies from smile.amazon.com so that Amazon donates .5 percent of the purchase price to GFWC. Learn more about this program.
The Final Countdown Until Women’s History Month
By Hope Royer, WHRC Committee Chairman
The countdown to Women’s History Month has begun. There is no better time than now to begin GFWC’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the purchase of our Federation home at 1734 N Street NW!
Register to join us at GFWC’s annual Women’s History Month Event on Wednesday, March 9 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at GFWC Headquarters. This year’s event features Stephen A. Hansen, architectural historian, historic preservation specialist, and author of A History of Dupont Circle: Center of High Society in the Capital. Hansen will share the fascinating history of the Dupont Circle neighborhood where our Federation home was built in 1875.
The stone and brick mansion at 1734 N Street NW witnessed history being made long before GFWC purchased it in 1922 from its fourth owners, John Jay White and Grace Hoffman White. Why is it Dupont Circle, not DuPont Circle? Who were the Cave Dwellers? Who was Mary Scott Townsend? Please plan to join us to learn about the people and the places in our Headquarters neighborhood.
Register for the event now until March 7 through the GFWC Member Portal. To attend the event and reception proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required. A negative COVID-19 test cannot be accepted for admittance. Copies of A History of Dupont Circle: Center of High Society in the Capital will be available for purchase during the event. Hansen will sign books following his presentation. You can also preorder copies of the book when you register for the Headquarters’ event.
Cares & Concerns
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of James “Jim” Snavely, a past GFWC Booster Club President, on February 10. Cards and condolences can be sent to LaDonne Snavely, Past GFWC Mississippi Region President, at 567 Oak Terrace, Farmington, MO 63640-3609.
Volunteers in Action
This week’s GFWC Blog features GFWC du Midi Woman’s Club (Alabama) and GFWC Gloucester County Women’s Club (New Jersey). Check out these stories of clubwomen providing hot meals and warm clothes to people experiencing homelessness and selling reusable tote bags to help prevent plastic bags from ending up in landfills.
Have a success story to tell? Email PR@GFWC.org to have your club project considered for the GFWC Blog.
Women’s History Month: A History of Headquarters
As GFWC prepares to celebrate Women’s History Month this March, we are looking back at the rich history of GFWC Headquarters at 1734 N Street NW. Constructed in 1875 for Rear Admiral William Radford, the mansion was built in the Dupont Circle area before the neighborhood was even in existence, but as the District continued to expand, Radford’s choice in real estate was proven to be wise.
When Rear Admiral Radford built 1734, he established a tradition of diplomacy and public service, which continued through each of the home’s owners, and remains firmly rooted in the activities of GFWC. This tradition can be found in 1734’s third owner, General Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925), who achieved military notoriety in the Civil and Indian Wars. In late 1895, soon after Miles transferred to Washington, DC, to assume command of the U.S. Army, “The General Miles Testimonial Association” organized in New York to raise funds toward the purchase of a home for him in the capital city. The Washington Post later reported that about $40,000 was collected for the purchase of 1734 N Street.
In 1908, General Miles sold the home to New Yorkers John and Grace Hoffman White, who quickly worked to transform the home to their own tastes and enjoyed the historic building until GFWC purchased it in 1922. The influence of all previous Headquarters owners is still present in the building today, and the annual Women’s History Month event on Wednesday, March 9 is an excellent opportunity to see this firsthand.
Register Now: GFWC Affiliate Organization Webinar Series
There’s less than a week until our Affiliate Organization Webinar series kicks off! These educational and informative webinars are scheduled from March 1-15. The six participating organizations, which we work with side-by-side to improve our communities, are: Canine Companions, Heifer International, March of Dimes, Operation Smile, Shot@Life, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The following webinars will be presented live on Zoom, with time for Q&A.
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Tuesday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
- Heifer International: Tuesday March 1 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
- Operation Smile: Thursday, March 3 at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
- Canine Companions: Thursday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
- March of Dimes: Tuesday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
- Shot@Life: Tuesday, March 15 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET
For a listing of webinars and event descriptions, visit Events in the GFWC Member Portal. When you select the webinar event you wish to attend in the Portal, click on the blue Zoom registration link within the body of the event text. You will then be redirected to a page to sign up through Zoom, and after completing your registration you will receive email confirmation that you are registered.
Please note that when you select the webinar you wish to attend in the Member Portal, you will see a blue box on the right side of the page that says “Closed.” However, this does not mean you cannot sign up to attend; follow the above steps to register with the provided Zoom link.
For ongoing webinar updates, follow News & Notes and visit the Important Dates Calendar on the GFWC website.
Reminder: GFWC’s Library Replenishment Fund
We hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating libraries as much as we have this February. As Library Lover’s Month comes to a close, keep GFWC’s Library Replenishment Fund in mind. In the event your community’s library is damaged or destroyed by a manmade or natural disaster, your club can apply to help restock the collections of public and private school libraries.
The application form is available in the Member Portal’s Digital Library, within the “L” resources folder.
Call to Convention Now on GFWC’s Website
On March 1, the Official Call to Convention will be exclusively available on www.GFWC.org and will no longer be printed in the spring issue of GFWC Clubwoman Magazine. Please bookmark www.gfwc.org/what-we-do/annual-convention so that you’re ready to read the Call to Convention and then register for Convention next Tuesday.
Take Action to Support March for Change
Join GFWC Affiliate Organization March of Dimes as they March for Change for mothers and babies. In 2022, the U.S. remains among the most dangerous of the developed nations for having a child, especially for families of color. Too many mothers and babies face serious illness and death due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth, but March of Dimes is trying to change this by reaching out to state lawmakers and demanding #BlanketChange.
The #BlanketChange movement aims to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in care, improve access to care through expanding critical health programs and closing gaps in coverage, address preventable health conditions through expanding research, and more.
Join this fight by contacting your state lawmakers and asking for Medicaid postpartum extension from 60 days to 12 months, newborn screening regulations that are new, improved, and uniform with federal law, and access and coverage for midwife/doula care.
Office Depot Savings through February 28
From the most-loved to the must-haves, your GFWC Office Depot Savings Program has all you need to keep your work space clean, organized, and well-stocked. The savings program is offering $15, $20, and $35 off coupons valid through February 28; these coupons are only valid online and some exclusions apply. Take advantage of these great deals before they’re gone!
Visit Officediscounts.org/GFWC to shop online through their Office Depot Savings Program.
Operation Smile Helps Provide Brighter Futures
More than 6,000 medical volunteers with GFWC Affiliate Organization Operation Smile are doing what they can to provide children around the world with brighter futures. One of the many young people they helped was Rania, from Morocco, who, to the shock and confusion of her family, was born with a cleft condition. Despite the uncertainty of the future, Rania’s family knew they had to remain strong for her. When 1-week-old Rania arrived with her grandmother at a nearby Operation Smile center, she was too young to receive cleft surgery, but local volunteers fitted her with a feeding plate to help her receive the nutrients she needed more easily. Pre-surgical dental care such as feeding plates help children like Rania avoid life-threatening malnutrition that some patients experience when their cleft condition makes breastfeeding challenging. Six months later, the family finally received a call from Operation Smile Morocco letting them know that an upcoming surgical program was taking place, and they were thrilled to know Rania would receive the care she needed. You can read more about Rania’s story and others through Operation Smile’s Stories You Make Possible Blog.
To encourage participation in the democratic process, this monthly column aims to inform members about current legislation and programs that are germane to the GFWC Resolutions. It also highlights important actions of the House, Senate, and White House, and provides follow-up information about GFWC Legislative Action Alerts.
In anticipation of a shortened legislative calendar due to the upcoming elections—and in preparation for Women’s History Month—Congress is moving forward on several priorities for women and families.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization
Many thanks to GFWC clubwomen who participated in the Legislative Action Alert urging the Senate to cosponsor and vote for the bipartisan VAWA framework negotiated by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on October 5, 2021. A virtual rally on January 19 was hosted by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) which featured actress and international human rights and children’s rights activist Angelina Jolie and the Senate co-sponsors. On February 9, S. 3623 was introduced and a press conference held with Ms. Jolie, the Senate co-sponsors, and leaders of the NTF. We are happy to report that intense negotiations produced enough co-sponsors to take the bill directly to the floor. GFWC has co-signed an NTF letter urging Congress to act, and state federations have been given the opportunity to co-sign the letter, which will be inserted into the record during floor debate. GFWC has also requested President Biden to highlight the legislation in the upcoming State of the Union address scheduled for March 1 in a Joint Session of Congress. Legislative action is expected soon. Once the Senate acts, it is anticipated that the House of Representatives will approve the Senate measure, sending it to the President for signature.
The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 will expand prevention efforts, services, and protections for survivors, including the underserved such as rural communities, and will provide increased resources and training for law enforcement and our judicial system. It will strengthen rape prevention and education efforts, support local rape crisis centers, improve the training and availability of sexual assault forensic examiners, and broaden access to legal services for all survivors.
Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act
On February 10, Congress enacted H.R. 4445 enabling workers to sue employers over workplace sexual harassment or assault regardless of contractual restrictions. The bill makes it illegal to enforce agreements signed before an alleged incident of sexual harassment or assault that mandate third-party arbitration, a form of dispute resolution that is conducted behind closed doors and often favors employers. This measure has strong bipartisan support and is a priority of the #MeToo movement.
Equal Rights Amendment
Fifty years ago on March 27, Congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and sent the measure to the states for ratification. On January 27, 2022, the requirements for adding it as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution have been met. Thirty-eight (38) states have ratified the amendment and it has been two years since the Commonwealth of Virginia became the last state to vote to ratify ERA. However, there are two challenges to ratification: five state legislatures have voted to rescind their support, although there is no provision in the Constitution for rescissions; and an arbitrary deadline which was part of the preamble has expired. The ERA Coalition led efforts to raise the issue in the national press, such as a petition to the Justice Department containing more than 70,000 signatures including GFWC clubwomen, press briefings with Members of Congress, and a rally in front of the White House attended by GFWC International President Marian St.Clair.
Congress is considering bipartisan resolutions to remove the deadline which was included in the preamble and described by the Department of Justice as a barrier to certification by the U.S. Archivist. The House of Representatives passed H. Joint Resolution 17 in March 2021; a Senate hearing will be held on S. Joint Resolution 1 on March 22. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are leading the effort. Another resolution recently introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), H. Joint Resolution 891, removes the deadline and specifies that states cannot rescind support for a constitutional amendment. Lawsuits also have been filed, so advocates are proceeding with the efforts in court and in Congress.
EARN IT Act
Many thanks to GFWC clubwomen for urging Congress to support bipartisan bills to revise the legal framework governing the prevention of online sexual exploitation of children by removing liability protections for technology companies. On February 10, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved S. 3538 sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), making the bill eligible for floor action. The House companion bill, H.R. 6544, is co-sponsored by Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO). Haven’t acted yet? There’s still time.
Congressional leaders are still working to finalize FY 2022 spending bills. A new Continuing Resolution extends federal funding to March 11. This action ensures there will not be a federal government shutdown. A bipartisan framework has been reached so final bills are expected soon.
Southeastern Region: Peggy Barnes, President
GFWC Southeastern Region President Peggy Barnes chose Better Together as her Administration theme. While GFWC consists of many clubs spread throughout the world, Peggy believes it is important that all clubwomen are united and working together toward the goal of making the world a better place. Although bringing many people together can sometimes be difficult as different personalities are brought to the table, she said it is amazing what can be accomplished when clubwomen work as a team. Peggy represented her theme through her Administration symbol, which combined elements of International President Marian St.Clair’s Administration logo and the logos of each of the states within her Region, as well as Washington, DC. For Peggy, this symbol was a way to show the unity amongst clubwomen in the Southeastern Region as they combine their efforts to improve their communities through volunteer service.
At the beginning of her Administration, Peggy hosted a Zoom meeting to speak with the State Presidents to encourage more group projects and camaraderie across the board. She invited states to continue to focus on their own special project, but tried to inspire clubwomen to combine their efforts on projects and to get everyone in their club to participate in one way or another.
Although she did not choose any one project for clubwomen to work together on, Peggy said many clubs throughout the Region have dedicated their time to helping and supporting veterans. This support has included projects such as working with Veterans Affairs Hospitals, making blankets for veterans, and more.
As clubwomen have continued to work hard on these projects despite challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that members are truly Better Together.
State Director of Junior Club’s Project: Angela Moss, North Carolina
GFWC North Carolina Junior Director Angela Moss chose Safe Kids as her special project. This nonprofit organization works to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries. According to the organization’s website, preventable injuries result in the death of nearly one million children around the world each year, but with awareness and education, many of these deaths can be prevented. Angela thought Safe Kids would be a great fit as her special project to go with her Administration theme, Protecting Our Future. She grew up with a father who was a volunteer fireman for more than 50 years, so seeing him leave their family home to go help someone else made her realize that he was protecting the future of their community.
Angela called on each North Carolina club member to reach out to their local Safe Kids coalition to understand what each community needed. Project ideas were then provided by the special project chairman to help each club brainstorm. One major area of focus for Safe Kids is ensuring that caregivers are using the right car seat in the right way; road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the U.S. Several clubs participated in a project to donate funds to local fire departments to help buy car seats. The goal of this project was to give local fire departments the means to provide car seats to families in need of a new one when they come in for a car seat checkup.
Angela offered her gratitude to everyone who supported her theme and special project to help make the world a safer place for future generations.
GFWC Marketplace: Threatened by Eliot Schrefer
Wrap up National Library Lover’s Month by adding a copy of Threatened to your personal library. Threatened is an adventure novel about an orphan named Luc who has lost everyone close to him but gains an unexpected family as he sets off on a new journey. This book tells the unforgettable story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all. Order yours today.
There could be some mail service delays throughout the pandemic. To speed up processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at time of purchase in the Member Portal. For information on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page.