News & Notes: January 14, 2021


January 14, 2021

View our Important Dates page for upcoming events and milestones.

President’s Pick  

By Marian St.Clair, GFWC International President

I’m excited to announce the first club project designated as a “President’s Pick” for its individual merit, plus its adaptability for use by other clubs. The winner is (sound the trumpet fanfare!) the new website launched for the Plastics-Free Initiative Coalition by the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove (Florida).

The mission of the Plastics-Free Initiative Coalition, founded by WCCG in 2018-2019, is “To eliminate/minimize/ban single-use plastics and to promote awareness of the damage caused by single-use plastics.” The club’s new Coalition website is invaluable to this aim. Here are a few important points about single-use plastics that are highlighted: less than 10% of all single-use plastics are recycled; on average, plastic bags are utilized for 12 minutes but take more than five years to degrade; and thousands of animals are killed or harmed each year by ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics, with sea turtles and manatees among the most vulnerable.

Education is a primary goal of the website, but it serves other essential purposes too. It highlights the club’s involvement with environmental issues and provides a link to the club website. It lists the community member organizations that have joined forces with the Coalition and recognizes and encourages engagement with other organizations with similar goals. Perhaps most importantly, it invites others to join the effort and provides direct contact information to the club’s Environment Community Service Program Chairman.

Congratulations to the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove for taking this extra step to promote a cause they believe in and to build a community network of like-minded individuals and organizations for an effective campaign.

Does your club have a project or initiative that would benefit from more community support? More volunteers? More donations? If so, don’t wait for the media to broadcast your message. Do it yourself by creating a website or utilizing other forms of social media.

A Message From GFWC Headquarters

On January 6, the country looked on as deep divisions in our nation were displayed. The frightening events at the U.S. Capitol have us all on edge, not only in Washington, D.C., but also in every community.

As we address the fragile state of our democracy, we must realize it takes a good faith effort to sustain it. The GFWC Executive Committee and Staff hope that you will take this opportunity to reflect on the valuable part that each clubwoman plays as a leader in her community. Respecting the opinions of others, encouraging open dialogue, and working together to meet challenges are good faith efforts that have distinguished GFWC for more than 130 years. As an esteemed member of a remarkable nonpartisan organization that values Unity in Diversity, we encourage you to pave the way to healing and strengthening our country through constructive actions.

With a holiday weekend and the presidential inauguration just ahead, Washington, D.C., will remain under a public emergency order into next week. Those at Headquarters will monitor activity in the D.C. metro area and will follow all public directives to ensure their safety and that of everyone here. Pandemic-caused delays to process Marketplace orders and requests for pins and certificates may be extended even further. In this matter and any others that may arise, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Cares & Concerns 

We extend our sympathies to GFWC Fundraising Committee Member Debbie Thomas, whose husband Bill passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Condolences can be sent to Debbie at 1420 North 10th, Van Buren, AR 72956.

It is with sadness that GFWC announces the passing of Darlene Berent, Past GFWC Michigan State President (1980-1982). View her obituary and send condolences to the family.

Volunteers in Action 

This week, the GFWC Blog features the Heritage League of Lincoln (Nebraska), GFWC Stuttgart Junior Woman’s Club (Arkansas), and the GFWC Lowell Woman’s Club (Indiana). Read about their remote “Holiday of Trees” event, Baggo Tournament, and baking basket donations.

Have a success story to tell? Email to be considered for GFWC’s Blog and to be selected as the next President’s Pick!

Identify Your Unique Personality and Strengths 

By Shannon Bailey, GFWC Leadership Chairman

Knowing your own personality and strengths will help you become a more self-aware leader, but the strongest leaders rarely operate alone. They understand how their style affects others and the collective whole.

One of the two newly-added Leadership Toolkit Resources is an exercise that reveals the “true colors” of a leadership style. After selecting words that best fit your personality, your color-coded responses are categorized as one of four general leadership styles. While everyone’s personal style is far more nuanced, the simplicity of this framework provides a valuable initial roadmap for how your club could enhance its Board or committee operations, community service project teams, and any other aspect of operations that require teamwork. The second new resource is more light-hearted and defines leadership styles in terms of lipstick personality profiles.

Download these two new resources within the “L” Resources folder of the Member Portal’s Digital Library:

  • True Colors: Exploring Leadership Styles
  • Lipstick Personality Profile

And don’t forget about the two other Discover Your Unique Personality & Strengths Resources that are available in the same folder:

  • How to Conduct a Personality Style Inventory
  • Animal Personality Types (my personal favorite!)

All four documents are excellent resources for your club to use as icebreakers at upcoming meetings! Download these and other Toolkit resources to jumpstart your club’s teambuilding activities in 2021.

Legislative Corner

Below is a legislative summary on the last issues pending before the 2019-2020 Congress, which adjourned on January 3. We thank GFWC members who responded to GFWC Legislative Action Center (LAC) legislative alerts. To participate this year, join the LAC now.

Federal Appropriations

Congress completed action on FY 2021 federal appropriations and President Trump signed the legislation on December 27. COVID-19 recovery funding was included, along with other major bills since this was the last legislative vehicle enacted.

Violence Against Women

GFWC joined other advocates in urging Congress to fix the funding formula for the Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program grants to maintain funding levels for FY 2021. Appropriators acknowledged they were unable to fix the formula to direct settlements from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements to be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund. We expect another effort by advocates in 2021, led by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Most importantly, appropriators provided $513.5 million, the highest funding level ever, for grants provided by the Office on Violence Against Women. Funding provides multiple competitive and formula grant programs that support training for police officers and prosecutors, state domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions, rape-prevention programs, homicide reduction initiatives, domestic violence hotlines, women’s shelters and rape crisis centers, and traditional housing support services. The bill also provides $48 million to support the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which funds community response teams and helps reduce the backlog of rape kits at law enforcement agencies. The LAC has been utilized to support this critical funding for community and statewide programs.

New American Women’s History Museum

Congress approved the Smithsonian America Women’s History Museum Act as part of the FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Bill. The original bills, (H.R. 1980, S. 959), were sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), respectively. The language authorizes the Smithsonian to establish a council to recommend a site, the design, and the construction of the museum on or near the National Mall.

Great American Outdoors Act

Congress provided full funding through the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund for priority projects addressing the maintenance backlog at national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands, and American Indian schools. Congress also provided full funding through the Land and Water Conservation fund to support state and local parks and recreation projects, and to protect and conserve public lands. Authorization for this full funding was provided in the Great American Outdoors Act supported by GFWC clubwomen through the LAC.

Prevent Online Child Sexual Exploitation

GFWC activated the LAC in support of the EARN IT Act of 2020 (S. 3398 and H.R. 8454), which proposes to establish the National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, and limit the liability protections of online service providers with respect to claims alleging violations of child sexual exploitation laws. Congress did not enact this legislation but instigated a broader debate regarding efforts to revoke the entire Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields technology companies from liability for what users post online. Meanwhile, Federal Communications (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced that the FCC would not move forward with an order reducing the liability shield for social media companies due to the short timeframe before he leaves office January 20. This will be a priority for the 2021-2022 Congress.

Great Lakes Region: Patricia Heitman, President

“Preposterous” was the word that came to mind when the Region Presidents discussed having remote fall conferences. How could one condense three days into a three-hour time frame? Well, with the assistance from its leaders, the Great Lakes Region accomplished just that.

At its Fall Conference, the Region conducted the business that needed to be done, enjoyed three speakers, heard reports from Committees, Presidents, and Directors of Junior Clubs, and viewed PowerPoint presentations from vendors. Attendees named the Conference “the best ever” and praised the “very creative reports” given. Women are up for even the greatest of challenges!

The theme for the Conference and Patricia’s presidency is “Patterns of GFWC,” inspired by her love for sewing. While observing all of the projects, programs, parliamentary procedures, conventions, and meetings, Patricia noticed how patterns appear regularly within agendas, reports, diagrams, examples, procedures, and ideas for programs and projects. All of these establish patterns that are worthy of being initiated and imitated.

For her special project, Patricia has chosen Easterseals. When four years old, Patricia had a severe infection in her hip. Thanks to the assistance of Easterseals, that infection was cured and she learned to walk again!

It is an exciting and challenging time to be a Region President. Thanks to Vice President Dana Jones, the Region has been fortunate to have its Executive Committee Meetings via Zoom. This year has been a perfect example of all of us “rising to the occasion,” doing what we need to do in a manner that benefits us all.

State President’s Project: Kristin Fields, South Carolina

Katie Moydell from the Junior Woman’s Club of Columbia in her pinwheel garden

This State President’s theme is “Turning for Tomorrow,” symbolized with a pinwheel. The project goal is to bring awareness to child abuse prevention. Why a pinwheel? It reminds us of the playful spirit of a child and symbolizes a healthy childhood, which all children deserve. The blue pinwheel is the national symbol of the GFWC Affiliate Organization Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA).

South Carolina clubs will work in conjunction with the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, PCAA’s local chapter. Club work emphasis is awareness, as this is how preventing child abuse and neglect starts. Club projects include planting pinwheel gardens in the local community, distributing pinwheels to local organizations to display, creating pinwheel bouquets for events, making pinwheels with children in schools, and securing a proclamation from local town and county councils for a child abuse prevention awareness week.

The Junior Woman’s Club of Columbia kicked off their Advocates for Children Week events by planting a pinwheel garden at the GFWC South Carolina Headquarters. The Headquarters home is located in scenic downtown Columbia near a number of businesses, schools, and healthcare providers, which made the pinwheel garden visible to residents throughout the Columbia metro area.

GFWC South Carolina pinwheels will be turning across the state to bring awareness to child abuse prevention, to lead to a better tomorrow.

GFWC Marketplace: Vest

Looking for an everyday blue wardrobe staple to show your support for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month? Join GFWC International President Marian St.Clair in sporting this comfy Federation blue GFWC vest, made of easy-to-wash polyester. This vest goes perfectly over any outfit to stay warm. Wear it as an outer layer outdoors or indoors, or as an additional layer under your coat for these blustery January days! This vest is available in small, medium, large, XL, and XXL. Order yours today.

There have been reports of mail service delays in many communities throughout the United States. GFWC staff is processing Marketplace orders as quickly as possible, but Headquarters is still operating with limited staff onsite daily. In order to speed up processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at time of purchase in the Member Portal. For details on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page.