BALLWIN-CHESTERFIELD BRANCH HISTORY: 1997+
FOUNDING OF THE BRANCH
The Ballwin-Chesterfield Branch was founded in 1981 as the Lafayette Area Branch with 41 charter members and the plan to meet during the day. We have grown steadily, averaging over 250 members in the past few years.
PROGRAMS AND MEETINGS
Over the years at each branch meeting, the Program Committee has been committed to presenting speakers on mission-based topics that capture the interest of our members, while focusing on the goals that reflect the mission statement of AAUW. Diverse programs and speakers for topics related to social justice, health care, economic well being, diversity, gender and educational equity, human rights, international affairs, and public policy are featured.
In September, the branch hosts a complimentary Fall Welcome Brunch for the members and their guests. In December, a festive holiday auction raises funds to support branch activities. The May meeting is a celebration luncheon, currently held at an area country club. In July, members meet for a summer picnic potluck.
Throughout the year, members participate in a variety of interest
groups, currently including bridge groups, book groups, a Play Readers group, a Movie group, Creative Expressions, Out-to-Lunch, Genealogy and Golf.
ACTIVITIES – FUNDRAISING
Supporting the AAUW Educational Opportunities Fund and awarding local scholarships for mature women returning to college traditionally is an important part of branch efforts. Our successful program, Dollars for Scholars, raises scholarship funds through member-sponsored activities. Through these efforts, money is sent annually to National EOF, and scholarships are provided to women attending University of Missouri-St. Louis, Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL, and Maryville University. In 2015-16, the branch sponsored a “continuing book sales fair”, to raise funds. This successful project received a ten-star award from AAUW MO.
In 2004, the branch completed a Research and Project Grant Endowment in the amount of $35,000; in 2005, we began the Silver Anniversary Research
and Project Grant, with a $75,000 goal, which was completed well in advance of its goal date in 2015.
Ballwin-Chesterfield Branch supports the Legal Advocacy Fund through education and fundraising. In 2008, the committee decided to emphasize Individual Giving, setting a goal of $25 or more from each member. February was designated as LAF Individual Giving month and participation has increased each year. In addition Ballwin-Chesterfield sponsored successful Trivia Nights, which raised thousands of dollars for LAF.
Under the leadership of the Issues and Diversity Committee, between 1997 and 2005, a series of Woman-to-Woman Dialogues on Social Justice were presented on topics such as Women’s Health, Economic Security, and Community Issues. Organizations such as Coalition of One Hundred Black Women and National Council of Negro Women co-sponsored these events and members from a wide range of metro women’s groups attended.
From 2005 through 2009, the Public Policy Committee organized public forums on such topics as Tabor, Stem Cell Research, Immigration, and Financing Health Care. Eight metro organizations acted as co-sponsors and sent members to the half-day events, which featured physicians, professors, attorneys, and other experts in fields related to the topics. These forums were awarded 21st Century and Galaxy awards from AAUWMO.
Our newsletter, recipient of a National AAUW Award, is published 10 times a year, and includes articles from the co- presidents and all major committees.
In 2002, Joyce Katz became the first Chair of Technology and Ballwin-Chesterfield began sending the newsletter by email, established member email correspondence and launched its first website. In 2010, Ballwin-Chesterfield became the first Missouri branch on the national AAUW calendar.
In addition to the branch newsletter and website, branch meetings and special events are publicized in other media outlets.
In keeping with AAUW’s emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and careers for girls and women, Ballwin-Chesterfield has long made STEM a focus. Each year we award cash prizes to young women at the Greater St. Louis Science Fair. For many years we have supported the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conference. We provide registration scholarships for a number of middle school girls, and members serve on the board and assist at the conference.
In 2009, the branch received a $7,000 AAUW Community Action Grant. In the Each One Teach One grant project, members tutored small groups of sixth and seventh graders at Curtis Bishop Middle School (Wellston district) on science fair projects. We helped sponsor a continuation of this project in 2010, contributing funds and workers. Also in 2010, we continued our support of Wellston students and STEM by taking a group of girls to the Expanding Your Horizons Conference at SLU.
In addition, the branch sponsors the WHY So Few? Traveling Tool Kit, developed in 2010 by branch members. It includes a 15-minute video directed at parents and teachers of elementary and middle school girls based on the AAUW publication Why So Few?. It explains how to encourage interest in STEM and includes a parent brochure, “How to Raise a STEM Girl.” In 2011, both the Why So Few? toolkit and the Each One Teach One project were finalists for the AAUW Breaking Through Barriers award.
Beginning in 2014 we have recognized five junior women at Valley Park High School as STEM Girls of Promise. Each receives a medal, a certificate and a small cash award at a recognition breakfast at the school for them and their parents. In 2015 we added Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School to our STEM Girls of Promise and hold a similar breakfast there.
Ballwin-Chesterfield has been well represented by enthusiastic and sizable delegations to all state, regional, and national meetings from 1997 to the present. Members have served as officers and board members of AAUW MO. Julia Triplett held the office of AAUWMO President 2009-10.
IN AAUWMO OFFICES IN 2016-7:
Suzanne Couch: Nominating Committee; Karen Francis: Public Policy co-chair; Joyce Katz: Communications/ Web Manager, Pam Kulp: Branch Incentive Programs; Debbie McWard: College/University Relations; Doris Nistler: Secretary; Pat Shores: Public Policy co-chair; Julie Triplett: AAUW Fund
At the national level, Julia Triplett has served as Community Action Grants Panel Chair from 2005 to 2010. When the 2009 National Convention was held in St. Louis, Patricia Shores and Julia Triplett served as Local Arrangements Committee chairs. Many more members served as committee chairs, and volunteers to make the St. Louis national convention a huge success! Twelve members were also financial sponsors of the convention.
Sandra Camillo and Julia Triplett served on the AAUW Leadership Corps from 2009 to 2011. Sue Barley served on the Breaking Through Barriers Major Gifts Campaign (2009-2011) and now is Chair of the Legacy Circle program. Yvonne Morrison serves on the AAUW Fundraising Committee.
BRANCH MEMBERS SERVING IN NATIONAL AAUW OFFICES IN 2016-17:
Susan Barley: AAUW Director and Legacy Circle Team
Karen Francis: Public Policy Committee, chair
Yvonne Morrison: Fundraising Committee
Julie Triplett: Legal Advocacy Fund Committee
Since 2005, Ballwin-Chesterfield has placed in the top ten branches nationally in total giving to AAUW and among the top contributors in Missouri. The branch is also consistently the highest branch contributor in the state. From 1997 to 2000, we received the Five Star award. In 2001 we were awarded the Seven Star designation. From 2002 to the present, we have received the Ten
Star designation and the Galaxy Award from 2007 to the present.
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