January 2013 Awards to Nine Local Leagues

Nine Leagues Awarded Grants in Scharfman Citizen Education Program

Congratulations to the nine local Leagues receiving grants under the second funding cycle of the new program of the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund. These Leagues submitted seven grant applications, one from three Leagues working together.  The deadline for the next funding cycle is March 1, 2013. Each application requested $250, and the total amount dispersed in this cycle for the seven grants was $1,725.

These innovative and important programs that local Leagues in Massachusetts are carrying out show the depth and breadth of LWV involvement throughout our state. The grant program offers funds to help local Leagues in such endeavors. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donation are tax deductible. Thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

The January grant recipients are:

LWV Belmont: A Guide to Conserving Land in Belmont

LWV Belmont (http://www.belmont.ma.lwvnet.org) plans on printing 3,200 copies of a 16-page pamphlet about saving open space.  The pamphlet provides information on possible ways to preserve existing open space, a brief introduction to options for conserving land for homeowners, and sources for further information.  Belmont plans to mail about 3,000 copies to donated lists and distribute the rest through Town Hall, the public library, etc. This grant will fund a portion of the total project cost.

LWV Brookline: Voters Guide 2013

The Voters Guide is the primary resource for Brookline residents to assess the candidates for Town Meeting and townwide offices.  It is printed as an insert in the local newspaper (The TAB) which gets distributed to about 14,000 households in Brookline.  Among residents of Brookline, the Voters Guide is perhaps the most visible and prominent League project. Normally there are about 100 candidates and the Voters Guide runs 16 pages. This grant will fund a portion of the total project cost. See Voters Guide 2012 here: http://www.lwvbrookline.org/Voters_Guide.html

LWV Concord-Carlisle:  Yellow Rose Event Promotion Kit

A Yellow Rose Event raises awareness about the history of women in the United States and in the League of Women Voters, and encourages participation of young women in our democracy. The kit will include digital copies/access to strategies and materials to engage young people, schools, libraries and other groups in Yellow Rose Events, including books to read, PPTs and movies to show, discussion topics and other tools such as curriculum materials for use at different school age levels, flyers and giveaways at events to connect attendees to the League and to the history of women in the US. Strategies using social media to attract and educate such as tweeting, emailing, and facebooking will be emphasized. Funds will be used for materials for a promotional display and printing collectable “bookmark” giveaways. The bookmarks include a picture of a notable woman in US history (Her face), a quote attributed to her (Her words) and a short bio (Her story). On the reverse is a website of the local League or the state League urging people to “bookmark” the website, engage with the LWV and get involved in the women’s movement. (lwvcc.ma.lwvnet.org)

LWV Lexington: LWVL Community Conversation:  “Climate Change:  How Can We Make a Difference in Lexington?”

The LWV Lexington (lwvlexington.org) Second Annual Community Conversation will provide a forum to assess Lexington’s readiness to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate. The event will be Feb. 26, 2013, 7:30 pm in Keilty Hall, 2001 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420. The goals of this year’s Community Conversation will be to raise community awareness about the impacts of climate change and the implications for Lexington; to encourage discussion and cooperation among the many groups in Lexington dedicated to environmental issues; and to come away from the evening having developed a realistic set of action items.  This grant will fund a portion of the total project cost.

LWV Norwood: Candidate Forum

The Norwood League of Women Voters considers our voter service one of the most important things we do for our community. We plan to sponsor a voter service candidate’s night in April 2013. The requested funds will cover about 2/3 of the cost of the project.

LWV Sudbury, Weston, Wayland: Civics Bee

The fifth annual LWV of Sudbury (www.sudburyleague.com), Wayland, and Weston (www.westonlwv.org) Civics Bee will take place on March 3, 2013 in Weston.  The three leagues have cooperated to design an event which educates both participants and the public about how the US government works.  Local public school middle and high school Social Science teachers support the Bee by recruiting and coaching student participants. Each town fields an inter-generational team of 3 adults, 3-6 middle school students, and 3-6 high school students to answer questions about civics in a format similar to a spelling bee.  The winning town houses the Civics Bee Trophy at a local school for the next year, and a plaque with the town’s name is added to the base of the trophy. Questions are designed to educate students and adults on how to register, how to vote, and how to get an absentee ballot while away at college. Other topics covered include the US Constitution, the three branches of federal government, and the organization of the three towns’ local governments.  When we started the Bee we began with very easy questions and quickly learned that, to challenge the students, we have to ask AP Government level questions. The funds will cover about 2/3 of the project cost.

LWV Worcester Area: Civic Education Series

During the National Election cycle last November, the Worcester Area League of Women Voters (www.lwvworc.org), in collaboration with the local chapter of the NAACP, and WCCA Channel 13 (Worcester’s local cable access channel) created four Public Service Announcements in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Hindi. In the PSAs, young people encouraged people to vote on Election Day and explained what paperwork voters might need to prove residency. Please view them with the below links.

http://www.wccatv.com/video/specials/leaguevote
http://www.wccatv.com/video/specials/leaguevote2
http://www.wccatv.com/video/specials/leaguevote3
http://www.wccatv.com/video/specials/leaguevotespanish

Based on the success of the PSAs, the League, WCCA, and the NAACP would like to create PSAs, ranging in duration from 30 seconds to one minute, focused on civics education. The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester has interested members who would like to work on this project and will be a new partner moving forward.

Topics could include the voter registration process, civic engagement, government structure, or various historical topics such as the suffrage movement. These young people will come up with topics, schedule, and scripts in English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Vietnamese and Albanian. Participants will also have the ability to train for and practice production and presentation skills.

The program will have three League members run the Civic Education Series and will have a new PSA run every 2 months, totaling six. Additionally, the team members will research and share with the Worcester community at least 5 pieces related to civic education throughout the year. The program will engage at least 10 young people from Greater Worcester.  The approved funds will cover about half the project cost.