“Making Democracy Work in My Community” Student Video Contest Winners Announced

May 12, 2017 / Boston, MA – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has announced the winners of its “Making Democracy Work in My Community” Student Video Contest.

The winners are:

First Place:  Owen Doherty, Jake Latini, and Luke Marcheski, Quincy High School (The Voters of America: Making Democracy Work)

Second Place:  Natalie Harder and Emily Belt, Newton South High School (L’ Taken: Learning How to Make Democracy Work in Our Community)

Third Place:  Maggie Stefanowicz, Millis High School, (Ms. Ziemba; A Democracy Advocate)

Honorable Mention: 

Jacob Applebaum, Wellesley High School, (Boston Stands for Democracy);

Tyler Hamlin, Marblehead High School, (Making Democracy Work in Marblehead)

The League invited Massachusetts high school students to create to create a two-minute video showing how someone is making democracy work where they live.LWVMA will distribute and publicize the winning videos and others from the contest.

Many students participated in the contest, and the winning videos were selected from entries submitted from across the state. The Judging Committee selected the winning videos based on their clear and compelling messages, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.  The winners will receive awards of $500 (first place); $250 (second place); $100 (third place); and $50 (honorable mention).

“We were thrilled to receive so many very creative and powerful videos,” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler.

“We are proud of all of the young people who shared their visions and messages through this contest,” said Jean Cherdack, president of LWVMA. “And we are proud that the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts provided them with a platform to make their voices heard.”

An award ceremony to honor the winners will be held in June. More details on the ceremony will be provided soon.

The contest was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues.

Support for this program was provided by the Salem Five Charitable Foundation.


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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.

2017 Convention Roundup

Delegates and observers from local Leagues across Massachusetts shared the experience of Convention 2017, “The Future of Democracy: Facing the Challenges,” with thoughtful discussion of the future of the League and how to best serve all of our new members and the greater community, a look into the thinking of the youngest members of the legislature, speakers on the role of newspapers and the state of democracy, and a glimpse into the changes coming to the League from the national level on down.

We are pleased that Mary Ann Ashton of the Acton Area League and Linda O’Connell of the Springfield unit of the Northampton League will be LWVMA co-presidents for 2017-2019.

The convention also conducted the League’s business, electing officers and a new board, approving a two-year state study on the ballot question process, defining our action priorities and action items for the next two years, and approving a new position on charter schools.

To read more on each of these topics, please click on the links below:

New officers and board

New state study

2017-2019 Action Priorities and Action Items

Charter school position

Focus groups on the changing League

Convention speaker reports

Volunteer sheet


Invitation to a Webinar with Dr. Adele Morris: An Economist’s Perspective on Carbon Pricing Tuesday, May 23, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT

As the evidence of accelerated climate change and its impact on society mounts, there is an increasing sense of urgency to find solutions. Join a webinar hosted by the LWVUS Price on Carbon Steering Committee and PriceonCarbon.org to learn more about pricing carbon and why scientists, economists and world leaders view pricing carbon as an essential strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

RSVP to join us on Tuesday, May 23, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, for an insightful and informative presentation by internationally renowned economist Dr. Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics Project at the Brookings Institution     

Registration for the webinar is limited to 100 people, so sign up early.

If you get a notice that the webinar is full email Eleanor Revelle, (er@revelle.net) to be put on a waiting list.

If you register but cannot participate after all email Eleanor Revelle (er@revelle.net) so someone else can take your place. Thanks!

A recording of our first webinar featuring science historian, geologist and author Dr. Naomi Oreskes is available on the Price on Carbon website here.

LWVMA 2015-16 Annual Report Now Available

We are pleased to share the 2015-16 Annual Report of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.  The report recaps an extraordinary year of advocacy, voter engagement, and citizen education and celebrates the work of our local Leagues throughout the Commonwealth. Many thanks to our members and supporters for helping us Make Democracy Work!

To download and view the 2015-16 Annual Report as a pdf, click here.

LWVMA Environmental Committee Awarded Grant!

We’re pleased to announce that the LWVMA Environmental Advocacy and Action Committee has received a $2750 grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to expand our outreach and public education efforts on environmental issues to local Leagues and the public .

The role of the Environmental Advocacy and Action Committee is to create a coordinated, state-wide plan of action to advance meaningful clean energy policy in the Commonwealth. The Committee includes local League members from around the state who will work within their local Leagues and League regions to share information and resources with League members and the general public through forums, webinars, print and social media, etc.

The grant will help build the Committee’s outreach capacity and development of educational resources.

For more information about the work of the Committee, contact Launa Zimmaro  or Karen Price.

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.

We Are Grateful for YOU!

As we enter this season of thanks, we want to express our gratitude for all you do to Make Democracy Work in your communities and throughout the Commonwealth! The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts depends on you — our members and supporters — to advance our mission.

You are the linchpin of our non-partisan, hands-on work to safeguard democracy and create lasting change.  You are the key to our success!

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the League.

With wishes for a warm and wonderful holiday,

The LWVMA Board of Directors,
the Citizen Education Fund Trustees, and the Staff

It’s Time to Take Action! Stand and Be Counted.

After a polarizing election marked by divisive rhetoric, disaffection, and scandal, it is time for us, as a country and a democracy, to move forward.  At this critical juncture, so much of the work ahead depends on all of us, not just our elected officials.  

As a League, we recommit ourselves to the principles and priorities that define our organization. And, in the coming months, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts will be working hard to address critical issues here in the Commonwealth, regardless of what happens in Washington.

We affirm our principles…
  • Ensuring that elections are free, fair, and accessible
  • Monitoring government and holding elected officials accountable
  • Protecting the environment and addressing climate change
  • Rejecting intolerance and defending individual rights
We are taking action NOW…
  • Pushing Beacon Hill to expand voting rights by enacting automatic voter registration and Election Day registration, changing the registration deadline, and extending early voting
  • Advocating for campaign finance reform, including limits on ballot question contributions
  • Pressuring elected officials to take action to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and through an accelerated transition to clean, renewable energy
  • Lobbying for strong reforms of the criminal justice system, including eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and increasing felony larceny thresholds
  • Blocking any efforts to weaken Massachusetts’ health insurance system or threaten women’s reproductive rights
  • Supporting efforts to reduce gun violence
What can you do?
  • If you are not a League member:  Join the League and become a grassroots activist!  We are a membership organization that influences public policy and brings change to Massachusetts through the work of individuals like you. You can join through a local League or as a Member at Large.  If there is no League presence in your community and you are interested in forming a local League, please contact us.
  • If you are already a League member:  Introduce a friend to the League — the more voices we have, the louder our message!
  • Continue to work on issues of public importance in your communities.
  • Meet with your state legislators to express your concerns and interests for the new legislative session in such areas as voting rights, climate change, and criminal justice reform.
  • Join our Legislative Action Committee and help advocate for our priorities on Beacon Hill.
  • Pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.
  • Register new citizens to vote at naturalization ceremonies.
  • Actively speak out as a League and as individuals — write letters to the editor, op-eds, social media posts — to protest any incidents of intolerance or incivility in your community.
  • Support our work by donating now.

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.