October 2018 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Ten Local Leagues

Ten local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in October 2018:

LWV Brookline:  This League will produce a booklet that will include information on Brookline History, Government Structure, Voting Registration, Elective Offices, Boards and Commissions and Contact Information of Brookline Resources.  The booklet shall be made available to all Brookline citizens, with a focus on the issues of greatest concern to new residents. It will be a memorial to Sanford (Sandy) Ostroy who faithfully served the Brookline League as our Vice President, and who passed away in April 2017.  He had participated in LWVMA deliberations which developed the consensus materials for Local League Consensus Meetings and had organized those meetings for the Brookline League.

Central Berkshire Unit:  The Central Berkshire unit will register a minimum of 50 students per high school – 4 schools total – and with each registration provide a birthday tool kit for voter registration in MA, including a book mark of important voting dates, names of  all candidates and position they are running for, useful phone numbers and contact information. Buttons that say, “I Can Vote”, have been designed by a high school.  The unit will also print buttons that say: “ I Registered to Vote.”  Each kit will have either a birthday card (student designed) to read , “ Happy Birthday…you CAN REGISTER TO VOTE! or for 18 year-olds, “Happy Birthday…YOU CAN VOTE…LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!” With this card and verification that they have registered, students will receive a free coffee, hot chocolate or birthday treat from the school cafeteria. This will be ongoing and year round. Each month, a photo will be taken of all the students who registered and posted on our LWV Facebook page.

LWV Chelmsford: The Third Congressional Candidates’ Forum was a voter education activity.  It was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Chelmsford, the League of Women Voters of Concord, the Acton Area League of Women Voters and the League of Women Voters of Westford.  All expenses were paid by the LWV Chelmsford.  The forum was held at the Chelmsford High School Performing Arts Center.  All 10 Democratic primary candidates for the congressional seat attended; the Republican candidate was invited but chose not to attend.  It was moderated by a member of the League of Women Voters of Lexington. The public was invited; it is estimated that 500-600 people attended.

LWV Concord-Carlisle:  LWVCC co-sponsored with the LWV of Acton Area candidates forum for two hotly contested primary races—the 14th Middlesex State House seat and the 3rd Congressional District seat—on July 23, 2018 at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center in Concord.  All candidates on the September 4 ballot were invited and all candidates in the Democratic primary for both races attended the forum.  The forum was also videotaped and made available for viewing after the event.

LWV Franklin County: The LWVFC will host our newly elected legislators for a Q&A with the community at a local restaurant on a Saturday morning. Members will bring baked goods, while the restaurant will supply coffee/tea/water etc. This event was held last November to great success with enthusiastic feedback.

LWV Greater Haverhill: LWVGH has been attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell. These funds will be used to purchase miniature flags to hand out with voter registration forms to new citizen candidates as they enter the auditorium. A League member 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 Hamilton-Wenham: Funds will be used to enhance Voter Registration Support Materials to expand voter registration efforts.  This includes: creating two additional voter registration kits and replenishing and updating the current kit; adding one to two small portable sandwich board signs to display “LWV Register to Vote Here” posters; offering some giveaways to first time voters such as buttons, stickers, or pens/stylus with the LWV logo; and reprinting educational materials, such as the “Running for Office” booklet.

Springfield Unit: The Springfield unit of the Northampton Area League of Women Voters has established a robust collaboration with the Springfield Public Schools and Springfield College to produce a community event incorporating the classic LWV civics bee, for SPS high school students, into a larger event involving college students, the Springfield City Council and School Committee, and the general public in a current-events trivia competition. The mission of Civics Fest 2018 is to foster civic knowledge and celebrate democracy in order to build community, to increase informed voter participation, and to promote critical thinking about government as a tool for change. Ninety Springfield high school student are currently signed up to participate.

LWV Waltham: This League had two sign boards made:  one with the City of Waltham Election calendar, and the other one displayed the LWV Mission Statement.  The signs were displayed at several voter registration events, culminating with National Voter Registration Day, September 25, 2018, an all-day voter registration event at the Waltham Public library.

LWV Wellesley: This League featured Barbara Bluestein Simons, a voting cyber security expert and a member of the LWV of San Francisco, who will present a program entitled “Election Security:  Threats and Solutions” at its Opening Meeting, which was free and open to the public on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.   This was a non-partisan and educational topic and quite relevant as we approach the mid-term elections in November.

 

 

 

May 2018 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Three Local Leagues

Three local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in May 2018:

LWV Central Berkshire: LWV Central Berkshire plans to register at least 100 students within the four high schools they have identified. They plan to present students with a voter registration tool kit and personalized pens/styluses. They are also designing a button specifically for teens and first-time voters.

LWV Westford:  This League printed an updated version of “A Guide to Running for Local Office”  in early March of this year. The booklet includes a piece on making the decision to run, a listing of elected boards with their descriptions, instructions on filing Nomination Papers, suggestions about campaign activities and publicity, dates to remember, and even a chart of Westford Town Government. It is an invaluable reference for those considering a run for office in Westford, and builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

LWV Winchester: For every federal, state and local election, the Winchester League hangs a large banner in a highly visible location, a bridge in Winchester Center. It reminds people to vote, shows the election date, and has their name and logo. The Town of Winchester charges $100 each time the banner is hung. LWV Winchester also pays to have the banner altered to show the appropriate election date. And, finally, due to weather-related wear and tear, the banner has had to be repaired twice this year, including patches and replacement/reinforcing of the grommets.

 

 

January 2018 Scharfman Grants to Four Local Leagues

Four local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in January 2018:

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 and open to the public, 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. LWVA is responsible for the cost of printing about 200 copies of the Voter’s Guide, which is available as a handout at Candidates’ Night, and also distributed to town libraries. LWVA also pays for the cost of sending a postcard to all Town Meeting candidates inviting them to Candidates’ Night, and for printing tent-style name tags placed on tables in front of candidates at the event.

LWV Boston: LWVB publishes an annual Guide to Elected and Appointed Officials. This request is to help toward the 2018 update. The intention is to print 2,500 and to distribute in a wide variety of paces including libraries,  local  community associations, neighborhood block watch groups, District City Councilors and in response to direct requests.

LWV Concord-Carlisle: LWVCC will host former Ambassador Wendy Sherman as its speaker on Sunday, January 21, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., at the Concord Academy Chapel, 166 Main Street, Concord, MA.  Ambassador Sherman will share her experiences and observations about our country’s international positions, with a local emphasis on civic education. Ambassador Sherman’s areas of expertise include Asia, economics, global affairs, North Korea nuclear program, security strategy, and international security and defense. Her travels and experiences in Russia, Syria, Iran, and other countries as an American ambassador on the world stage will enlighten the attendees with a global, yet local, perspective on democracy and public policy. This program will be free and open to the public. The program will be publicized and videotaped for later online access.

LWV Springfield: The city of Springfield is smarting from a series of high-profile cases of proven and alleged police misconduct, some involving brutality against minority citizens. In the wake of a particularly controversial case, the Springfield City Council called for the reinstatement of a civilian police commission to oversee the department. The mayor vetoed the council’s action and the two sides are at an impasse over a highly politicized issue. The controversy finds the public with little background knowledge to go on to understand the difficult question of how to oversee the Springfield Police Department and hold it accountable to the citizens. The Springfield LWV Unit has done research in the extensive and well-developed literature on available models of civilian oversight around the nation and will offer a series of four objective, educational community forums throughout the city in February to present the various oversight models and facilitate informed citizen discussion.The Springfield LWV Unit is training community facilitators in the National Issues Forums format, which it will utilize for these conversations.

 

 

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.