October 2017 Awards to Nine Local Leagues

Nine Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in October 2017:

LWV Cape Ann: LWVCA organized a voter education event for the contested seats in the Gloucester city election on November 7th.  There are seven candidates for four Councilor-at-Large seats and one contested Ward Councilor race with two candidates.  All nine candidates agreed to participate. Nine Gloucester High School students researched the voting history and stances of the candidates on issues.  Each student worked with one candidate and with one adult volunteer on the research. A public forum was held on October 18th at the Sawyer Free Public Library for all candidates.  Each student got to ask his or her candidate one question, and members of the audience submitted questions. The students will also assist at the polls, under the direction of the City Clerk, on Election Day.   They will receive school credit for community service. The forum was videotaped by Cape Ann TV and will be aired several times before the election.

LWV Framingham: As Framingham transitions from a town to a city form of government, it will have an election for the first mayor and the first city council.  LWV Framingham organized three Candidates Showcases to inform citizens. The first showcase was attended by over 250 people. The second Showcase highlighted the 18 candidates for the 9 City Council seats.  The final Showcase featured the four candidates for the At Large City Council seats and the two candidates for Mayor.

LWV Franklin County:   On October 6,  LWV Franklin County hosted a Civics Trivia Night contest with State Rep. Paul Mark and Greenfield Town Councilor at Large Rudy Renaud as quizmasters. Questions spread over five rounds covered local and national government, as well as local and national history. Approximately 85 people attended.

LWV Greater Haverhill: LWVGH has been attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell and will use these funds to purchase miniature flags to hand out with voter registration forms to new citizen candidates as they enter the auditorium. A member of this League will explain to the candidates how to complete the form and that completed forms will be collected at the end of the event and mailed to their local city or town clerk.

LWV Greater Lowell: The Greater Lowell League of Women voters will undertake an educational program to educate Dracut voters on the importance and value of their vote at Town Meeting. The study will have three parts: The first part will be a survey of active voters that will be done online to understand their views of town meeting and the barriers they face in attending town meeting, and provide them with an opportunity to present their own ideas to make town meeting more accessible. The second part of the program will launch an initiative in the weeks prior to the November town meeting incorporating the survey results with hopeful solutions to overcoming town meeting participation. The third part of the program will follow up after town meeting with  survey participants to see what the success rate was of activating new town meeting participants.

LWV Hamilton-Wenham On October 3, LWVHW hosted an interactive forum discussion on Media Literacy entitled, “#WTF* (*Fact or Fiction): Decoding Media in 2017, Left, Right and Center,” featuring four distinguished panelists.  The goals were to educate, provide decoding tools, and facilitate civil discourse in our communities. The event was free and open to the public and approximately 130 people attended the event.

LWV Melrose: The local Melrose election will be held on November 7, and LWV Melrose has organized and held the live forums where candidates for office express their points of view and take questions from the public. The sessions are taped by the local cable channel and replayed for 4-6 weeks up to the election. \

LWV Needham: “Working Together for a Greener Future” was a LWV-Needham/Green Needham Collaborative project to raise awareness of environmental issues, recognize organizations working together on this issue, and promote future collaboration.

LWV Wellesley: The Opening Meeting on September 28 featured Dr. Mira Bernstein, an Associate Professor at Tufts University who gave a lecture open to the public entitled “Gerrymandering:  Why It’s More Complicated Than Most People Think.” The lecture was held from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Wellesley Community Center with refreshments provided at 6:30 pm and a question and answer period following Dr. Bernstein’s talk.  The talk was videotaped and is available for viewing at Wellesley Public Media.

June 2017 Joint Award to Three Local Leagues

Three Leagues jointly received Daniel Scharfman citizen education grant in June 2017.

The Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston Leagues received a grant to cover costs associated with their 9th Annual Civics Bee in April 2017. The event was also co-sponsored by the Sudbury Curtis Middle School Parent Organization.

The Civics Bee educates both participants and the public about how our US, state, and local governments work.  Public school middle and high school Social Science teachers supported the Bee by coaching student participants. Inter-generational teams of adults, middle school students, and high school students from the 3 towns competed to answer questions about civics.  This year, 49 total students, adults, and coaches participated. Material covered in school is reinforced and covered in more depth as students study for the Bee. Topics covered include the US Constitution, the three branches of federal government, and the three towns’ local governments.  This year the special topic was the Supreme Court, with extra questions about landmark court cases.  Questions on how to register to vote and how to vote are asked every year.

The next deadline to apply for a Scharfman grant is October 17. Information and an application form are available here.

April 2017 Awards to Three Local Leagues

Three Leagues received Daniel Scharfman citizen education grants in April.

LWV Harvard received a grant for its Healthcare Legislation Forum. LWV Melrose received a grant for its Voter Education Forums for the November 2017 local election. LWV Westford received a grant for the printing of their “How Westford Works” booklets.

The next deadline to apply for a Scharfman grant is June 12. Information and an application form are available here.

January 2017 Awards to Three Local Leagues

Three Leagues received Daniel Scharfman citizen education grants in January.

LWV Arlington received a grant for its Candidates’ Night. LWV Hamilton Wenham received a grant for a program bringing books about civics to elementary schools. LWV Plymouth received a grant for its civics bee.

The next deadline to apply for a Scharfman grant is April 17. Information and an application form are available here.

October 2016 Scharfman Grants to Four Local Leagues

Congratulations to the four Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the four grants was $928.52.

For information on the grant program, click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org. A big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

LWV Concord-Carlisle: Special Election Information

A grant was awarded to LWV Concord-Carlisle for signs to advertise the special election pertaining to funding for the Minuteman Regional High School.  The signs were analogous to handouts or brochures, and the election had different polling places and times than a regular election, so this information was important.

LWV Greater Haverhill: Naturalization Ceremony Supplies

LWV Greater Haverhill conducts voter registration at naturalization ceremonies.  This grant supports the purchase of supplies for this important work.

LWV  Northampton Area: Newspapers in Education “Vote” Poster Contest

LWV Northampton Area co-sponsored a VOTE poster contest and civic reminder for the Daily Hampshire Gazette! The contest was open to all adults and children.

LWV Worcester Area: Naturalization Ceremony Supplies

LWV Worcester Area conducts voter registration at naturalization ceremonies.  This grant supports the purchase of supplies for this important work.

June 2016 Awards to Four Local Leagues

Congratulations to the four Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the four grants was $949.72

For information on the grant program, click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org. A big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

LWV Hamilton-Wenham: Civics Bee

On March 10, 2016 the Hamilton-Wenham League ran its first ever Civics Bee with 29 teams composed of students and adults from their community. They had a former selectperson as the emcee and their local legislators acted as judges as needed. They had local and national office holders ask questions via video clips.

LWV of Needham: Needham Votes 2016

NeedhamVOTES 2016 is a comprehensive voter service and voter education program starting on July 4, 2016 and ending on November 8, 2016. It includes a July 4 Parade, October 1 Harvest Fair, and the October 9 Farmers Market.

LWV of the Springfield Unit of the Northampton Area: Visibility Campaign for Vote411.org

Available for the first time with custom coverage of Springfield’s county and district races, the LWVMA’s VOTE411.org online voters’ guide will be a powerful tool for increasing the availability of voter information in Springfield and an important addition to the LWV/Springfield Unit’s growing toolkit. Mounting a robust visibility campaign for VOTE411.org will help encourage informed voter participation in the 2016 election.

LWV Wellesley: Vote Signs

“Vote” signs will be strategically placed in yards adjacent to high-traffic areas a week or two before elections, held as reminders to the public to vote.   

April 2016 Awards to Four Local Leagues

Congratulations to the four Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the four grants was $1,000.00

For information on the grant program, click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org. A big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

LWV Cape Ann:  Public Forum on the November 2016 referendum questions

This is an educational forum for the voters of Cape Ann explaining the referendum questions that will appear on the November 2016 ballot. LWV Cape Ann plans to involve high school students in researching and developing the discussion points, one student for the PRO and one for the CON in each presentation. If all three Cape Ann high schools participate, LWV Cape Ann will do the presentation three times in three separate locations.

LWV of the Springfield Unit of the Northampton Area: Candidate meet and greet for Hampden County Sheriff

In 2016, Voters in Hampden County will elect a sheriff for the first time in 42 YEARS. The Springfield Unit of the LWV of Northampton Area is planning an educational event followed by a candidate meet and greet in the “candi-dating” format pioneered by the LWV of Southwest Missouri to maximize voter contact time and allow for more in-depth discussion with primary candidates.

LWV Norwood: Norwood Public Schools Financing Study

The Norwood League of Women Voters elected to study the financing of the Norwood Public Schools. Each year, the School Committee is asked to prepare a budget and the appropriate funding of the schools has become very difficult. The funding being provided by the Town of Norwood and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has left the School Committee with some very difficult choices.  The League elected to study this issue to determine why there was a continual problem and what needs to be done to provide adequate funding.  Norwood is one of many towns facing a financial strain with regard to funding public schools.

*A report on the study is available, please contact the LWVMA office.

LWV Westford:  “A Guide to Town Meeting” booklet

The Westford League edits and prints a booklet named “A Guide to Town Meeting.” This 28-page booklet describes the entire process of Town Meeting for Westford.  It includes sections on the participants, articles and motions, the debate, and voting.  It is an invaluable reference for voters who have just moved to Westford, or are unfamiliar with the way Town Meeting is run locally.  As procedures and rules change, League members have worked on the document to keep it up to date. The League prints and distributes this booklet at Town Meeting.

January 2016 Awards to Nine Local Leagues

Congratulations to the nine Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the four grants was $2035.

For information on the grant program, click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org. A big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

LWV Arlington:  Candidates’ Night

LWV Arlington (LWVA) co-sponsors an annual Candidates’ Night with a Town of Arlington Committee called Vision 2020. LWVA is responsible for contacting/inviting candidates to attend the event where they present their ideas and respond to questions from attendees.  The event, held in Arlington Town Hall, covers local positions such as Selectmen, School Committee, Housing Authority, Town Clerk, etc.  LWVA prepares the Voter’s Guide for Candidates’ Night, a printed pamphlet that contains a picture, brief biography and response to questions posed by LWVA for each candidate.

LWV of Cape Cod Area:  Public Forum on Medical Marijuana

The League of Women out of Cape Cod area will be sponsoring a healthcare forum on April 30 that examines community/statewide issues related to marijuana and its impact on health, with a specific focus on medical marijuana.

LWV Concord-Carlisle:  Public Forum on Selecting a New Superintendent

The current Superintendent of Schools for the Concord Public Schools (K-8) and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District (High School) will be leaving her position in June 2017. The search for a new superintendent is expected to take place in the next 10 months.  This League will sponsor a public forum for citizens to discuss and express their views on matters related to the search for and selection of a new superintendent, including the qualities they think most important.

LWV Hamilton-Wenham:  Voter Registration and Education Banner

The League of Women Voters of Hamilton-Wenham has purchased a cloth table throw banner with the League logo to support its efforts to register new voters and increase voters’ interest in and knowledge of local government.   The banner will be used during voter registration events at local schools, during Candidates’ Night, and at the March 10 Civics Bee – any event where LWV Hamilton-Wenham invites the public.

LWV Harvard:  Housing Forums

The Harvard League of Women Voters has launched a series of voter education forums on issues related to housing to look at:  difficulties in getting affordable housing approved; housing options for seniors; diversity (or lack thereof) of housing stock.  The goal is to both raise awareness and spur people to become involved in one or more activities to adjust zoning as needed; work on important town committees; or work to drive change in the town’s governance structure so that it will be easier to make important decisions regarding housing.

LWV Greater Haverhill:  Naturalization/Registration Materials

LWVGH has started attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell and Lawrence, where the League distributes flags, explains to new citizens how to complete the voter registration form, and collects and mails in the forms.

LWV Marblehead:  Town Meeting Guide

With input from the  Town Administrator and Town Moderator, LWV Marblehead is writing and printing a Town Meeting Guide.  The purpose of the guide is to encourage attendance at Town Meeting.

LWV Shrewsbury:  “VOTE Tuesday” Signs

These signs will educate and remind the voters of an upcoming, primary, municipal, state and national election and therefore be used at least twice per year.

LWV Westford:  “Election Day is Tuesday!”  Banner

As the town of Westford no longer wishes to be responsible for the printing, maintenance, and hanging of a banner which provides a visible reminder for citizens to vote, the League of Women Voters of Westford has agreed to take on this project. The banner will be three feet by eighteen feet and will stretch across one of the town’s main streets.  It will be printed in red, white, and blue to catch the attention of the townspeople.  In addition to “ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY!” the poll hours will be printed, as will our League logo.

 

 

 

October 2015 Awards to Nine Local Leagues

Congratulations to nine Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants in October—a record number!  The grants, to Leagues in Brookline, Harvard, Needham, Newton, Plymouth, Sudbury, Waltham, Wellesley and Winchester, totaled $2,235.

For information on the grant program,  click here. Following is a description of the nine projects:

LWV Brookline: Citizen participation in land use policy decisions

The League of Women Voters of Brookline has committed to make Land Use Planning a priority for activity in the coming year. The Brookline League will launch the activities with the Annual Meeting, a public event in Brookline Town Hall featuring Anthony Flint, a Fellow and Director of Public Affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, who will speak on current strategies for land use planning.  Over the next year, the Brookline League will sponsor informational meetings in partnership with municipal government, convene panels of experts, and work to inform Brookline residents about proposed projects that can impact quality of life, open space, affordable housing, neighborhood preservation, traffic and transportation and more. This grant request is to support outreach and educational materials for community meetings.

LWV Harvard: Forums and information on housing issues

The League of Women Voters of Harvard is launching a series of voter education forums on issues related to housing. Harvard has had significant difficulties in getting affordable housing approved; an aging senior population with few options for suitable housing; and lack of diversity of housing stock. LWV Harvard hopes that the forums will both raise awareness and spur people to become involved in one or more activities to adjust zoning as needed, work on important town committees, or work to drive change in the town’s governance structure so that it will be easier to make important decisions regarding housing. The series is co-sponsored by the Harvard Council on Aging and Friends of Council on Aging, which will also be contributing to the program costs.

LWV Needham: Citizenship education project with Mass Bay Community College

Dr. Jill Silos-Rooney, an Associate Professor of History at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley Hills, in collaboration with LWV Needham, will run one workshop a semester, open to the public, to help any American resident prepare to take the United States Citizenship exam offered by the State Department. Massachusetts Bay Community College will provide classroom space and refreshments, and the League will fund workshop citizenship study materials. Massachusetts Bay Community College will promote the workshop, which will be free and open to the public. The workshop is planned for a Saturday morning in early November.

LWV Newton: Signage for public events and forums

This generic League signage will increase LWV Newton’s public presence and serve to notify the public of League events taking place. LWV Newton holds forums throughout the year on many different topics and presented by our different LWVN committees (Voter Service, Environment, Civics Bee, Education, Transportation, etc). These forums are open to the public and located in public spaces. This signage will be useable both indoors and outdoors and we will be willing to share it with state League upon request.

LWV Plymouth Area: Civics Bee

The Plymouth Area League is planning its second Civics Bee to be held April 3, 2016. Since one of this League’s missions is to promote community involvement and understanding of local, state and national government, the Plymouth Area League envisions that this event will enliven its communities’ interests in these areas. The 2015 Civics Bee with five school participating was extremely well received.

LWV Sudbury: Public educational forum on marijuana in Massachusetts

This forum is open to the public and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Sudbury. There will be four panelists who will discuss these subjects:

  • Senator William Brownsberger, “In favor of legalization of marijuana”
  • Representative Hannah Kane, “In opposition to legalization of marijuana”
  • Robert Moura, Director of Pharmacy, Emerson Hospital, “Is there any scientific support for the use of marijuana?”
  • Mike Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO, New England Grass Roots Institute, “In favor of non-pharmacists dispensing medical marijuana”

LWV Waltham: Materials for participation in social justice impact week at Brandeis and civic education programs for the Ugandan and other immigrant communities

LWV Waltham has been invited to have a presence at the DEIS Impact festival at Brandeis University. This is a weeklong Festival of Social Justice. In order to participate, LWV Waltham needs promotional materials, posters, flyers, etc. The WalthamLeague has been working to put together a program to encourage civic engagement among Ugandans and others in the area and will highlight that work at the festival.

LWV Wellesley: Public panel discussion on proposed changes in town government

LWV Wellesley will sponsor a public panel discussion of how proposed changes to our town government will impact Wellesley. Panel members include Michael Ward, Director of Municipal Services-Edward Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at U Mass/Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, as well as Jennifer Wilson and Dan Matthews, representatives from Winchester, MA and Needham, MA, who have served on their towns’ boards. Wellesley formed a Town Government Study Committee and they have recommended Wellesley hire a Town Manager. This proposal is up for a vote at this fall’s Town Meeting.

LWV Winchester: Public program on the incarceration of women and its impact on children and communities

LWV Winchester will use March, “Women’s History Month,” to examine the incarceration of women and some approaches to reform, including the alternatives of community reinvestment. On March 8, 2016, this League will sponsor “The Incarceration of Women and its Impact on Children and Communities: Building up People, not Prisons.”  The speaker will be Andrea James, founder and director of Families for Justice as Healing, which focuses on raising public awareness about the incarceration of women and its impact on children and communities. Ms. James, a 2015 Soros Justice Fellow, will discuss the high number of incarcerated women in the United States and her efforts to reduce the number by shifting from prisons to community wellness alternatives.

June 2015 Awards to Six Local Leagues

Congratulations to the six Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants in June. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the six grants was $1,447.

For information on the grant program, click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org. A big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

LWV Melrose, “Fall Forums”

LWV Melrose will host at least two forums this fall to educate voters about the candidates as well as the issues. The local election is in November 2015. The elections are for 14 local seats (three school committee, three aldermen at large, seven ward aldermen, and mayor) as well as for one or more ballot questions. Multiple panels and at least two forums will be desirable and necessary to handle the large number of candidates.  The forums will be open to the public, free of charge. The forums enable members of the public to submit questions to the candidates and hear their views. The forums will be filmed to be shown repeatedly on the local access television channel.

LWV Needham, “Timeline Project”

In honor of its 75th anniversary, LWV Needham is creating a timeline of the past 75 years. The timeline will be displayed in a public place (most likely the Needham Library or the Needham Historical Society) and at a League event open to the public at Needham Town Hall in November 1, 2015.  The timeline will educate the public about the past achievements of LWV Needham, put into perspective with national and world events at the time.

LWV Shrewsbury, “Historical Reenactment”

The Shrewsbury LWV will invite Sheryl Faye, an historical re-enactor who performs as famous women, including Eleanor Roosevelt, to perform during the Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival. The goal is to initiate and open up a multiyear program to help prepare the residents of Shrewsbury for the 100th anniversary of the League.  This event is open to the general public and perfect for both genders and all ages.

LWV Springfield Unit of Northampton, “Voter Education Activities”

The newly formed LWV Springfield unit of Northampton received support for voter education activities aimed at increasing visibility and establishing the LWV as a premiere source of voter information in Springfield.  The Springfield Unit will purchase an LWV banner to take to voter registration drives, carry in parades, and display at community events.  And, to ensure that the new League unit is represented at the premiere summer events attended by the greatest number of low-turnout voters, the grant money will also be used for event fees for non-profit table/booth participants.

LWV Waltham, “Sandwich Boards”

LWV Waltham will purchase two sandwich boards, which will be used to publicize LWV Waltham public events.  During the past two years, this local League has presented several public events that have been publicized in the local newspaper and on local cable television. Citizens who do not view these local media may not be aware of these meetings. Purchase of these sandwich boards will allow LWV Waltham to publicize these events by placing signs in high-traffic areas and will greatly increase the visibility of LWV Waltham and its educational events.

LWV Worcester, “Naturalization Ceremony Materials”

The Worcester Area LWV received funding to cover materials and postage costs related to its participation in naturalization ceremonies in Central Massachusetts.  This League has played a key role in these ceremonies for close to 15 years and, prior to this year, participated annually in five ceremonies in Worcester and three in north Worcester County. At each, League members greet each candidate personally, distribute voter registration forms, and give each candidate printed materials and an American flag. Before the swearing-in takes place, League members give a welcome address from the stage, review each line of the registration form with the candidates, and answer questions. After each ceremony, the League collects completed registation forms and mails them with a LWV cover letter to appropriate city or town halls. In Worcester alone, the Worcester Area LWV distributed 3500+ materials, forms and flags this past year.