Supporter Story: Theresa Cullen

Supporter Story: Theresa Cullen

Megan Hicks | Oct 22 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: jrf news, supporting jrf, education, megan hicks

When I walked into Theresa Cullen’s home, I was immediately overwhelmed by so many outstanding pieces of pottery all over her kitchen. There were beautiful plates, cups, and bowls, and I wanted to take them all home! I asked if she made all of the pieces and she said, “Yes, I have slowly made pieces and then made so many I started to give them away as gifts!”


Theresa has made a great impact as a volunteer for more than 15 years with JRF. She began as a first-round reader, reviewing scholarship applications and helping to select the women who will receive JRF awards. “It made me realize how important these scholarships are; many women desperately need scholarships to enroll in college and find their way,” she says.


Recently, Theresa found a way to combine her love of pottery with her dedication to help low-income women build better lives through college completion – she launched a website to sell handcrafted lamps, with proceeds benefiting JRF scholars. “I have seen what education can do to people’s lives. It can completely change them.”


Each of her lamps is one of a kind, and Theresa said you never know what it is going to look like after firing it in the kiln - it can be exactly what you wanted or not at all what you expected.  The fire affects the colors, and a lot of strategy goes into it through the placement of the lamp inside of the kiln and the temperature. To Theresa, it’s like “opening a present on Christmas morning.” (lamp base right)


Theresa also pointed out how important it is to do something you enjoy that helps other people.  “Selling these lamps not only feels good, its feels right. When people buy these lamps it also makes them feel good while spreading the word about JRF.”


Meeting with Theresa that day made me feel so inspired. She was truly an amazing woman. Her spirit just made you feel good about yourself and her home was so welcoming. She has motived me to try pottery, too!


To purchase and view these one of a kind, handcrafted lamps, visit


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Education and Social Mobility

Megan Hicks | Oct 02 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: education, women, poverty, megan hicks

According to the Census Bureau, compared to thirty-five years ago, family incomes have declined for the poorest third of children. In contrast, children living in the highest earning families have experienced a large amount of growth in financial resources since 1975. The Hamilton Project reviews economic facts about our nation’s limited social ladder and how education can help climb it.


One fact in the article is that a college degree can be a ticket out of poverty. “The earnings of college graduates are much higher than for nongraduates, and that is especially true among people born into low-income families.”


The article goes on to say: “A low-income individual without a college degree will very likely remain in the lower part of the earnings distribution, whereas a low-income individual with a college degree could just as easily land in any income quintile—including the highest.” The difference education makes is incredible, and that’s why organizations like JRF are vital.


Lack of funding is one of the top reasons people don’t pursue college degrees. Access to higher education is critical for low-income students, and because of generous donors, 87 women are receiving JRF scholarships this year. These scholarships are helping women break this cycle of poverty. As JRF scholars increase their social mobility, they are better providing for their families and contributing to stronger communities!


To read about JRF scholars, click here.

If you would like to help change the lives, you can click here and show your support!


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First JRF 5k

Megan Hicks | Sep 05 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: jrf news, supporting jrf, megan hicks, education


An incredible 326 people registered for the race, and 222 ran the course! Huge thank you to board member Deb Walock and her team at Caterpillar for pulling together such a wonderful event. More than $10,000 was raised to support low-income women conquering poverty through education.

See photos from the race at Online Athens here: race photos

Race Info:

“Caterpillar is very excited to accelerate educational opportunities through the efforts of Jeannette Rankin Fund,” said Deb Walock, Manufacturing Engineering Manager at the Athens Caterpillar.

Please come out and support JRF on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at the Fun Run and 5k sponsored by Caterpillar.

Fun Run at 1:30 pm

Walk/Run 5k at 2pm

Oconee Veteran’s Park in Watkinsville

If you pre-register you'll receive a hat from Caterpillar! There will also be awards for Overall Male/Female, Masters Male/Female, Grandmasters Male/Female, and Top three male/female in age groups 10 and under through 75 and over. Plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone.

Registration is $20 before September 18 and $25 after. There is also a family registration for a group of four for $60. We hope to see you there!

Are you ready to sign up? Click here!

Special thanks to: Power Partners, GreenWood Inc, Industrial Mechanical Inc (IMI), Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty, Engineered Systems Inc, Pinnacle Bank, Athens Family Dental, SCANA Energy, Publix, Piedmont College, TRC Staffing Services, Oconee State Bank, Anthony Chiropractic, Aesthetic Dental Association of NE GA and Fortson, Bentley and Griffin Attorneys at Law.


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Work Hard, Dream Big

Work Hard, Dream Big

Megan Hicks | Aug 20 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: megan hicks, women

In an online post in The Huffington Post, nine hard-working women are featured for their great accomplishments! The key message to remember here is everyone has to start somewhere.

This post highlights nine women who got their start as assistants and made their way to the top. To name a few, Jenna Lyons, the current executive director at J Crew, had her start in the J Crew men’s section when she was 21. Donna Karan, designer for Donna Karan New York and DKNY, began her career at Anne Klein as an assistant making coffee and sharpening pencils. Lastly, Ursula Burns, Madam Chairman and CEO of Xerox, began as an intern. Burns was the first African American woman to lead a major corporation in the United States and she is the first female CEO to take over after another woman. How awesome is that?!

These women show there are endless possibilities if you find your starting place! Our very own JRF scholar, Lucy (pictured right) agrees in saying, “I now believe in myself and know that anything is possible with hard work, determination, and strong will.” Lucy found her start after devoting her time to her family and helping her husband with his business. She is currently working towards an associate’s degree in Health Information Management. She says since she has begun this journey her confidence has “boosted ten-fold.”

It is such a great feeling to see these women succeed! If you are out there looking for your starting place, I say READY, SET, GO!!


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Welcome new intern, Megan!

Welcome new intern, Megan!

Megan Hicks | Aug 15 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: jrf news, megan hicks, supporting jrf

Hello readers! My name is Megan Hicks and I am the new Donor Communications Intern for JRF this fall! I will be assisting JRF’s Marketing and Development Coordinator, Bentley Worthy, with various projects throughout this season. I also have the responsibility to create enticing blog posts for all of you and keep you updated on the excitement here with JRF.

Currently, I am a second year master’s student at the University of Georgia studying human development and family science. My interests are working in non-profits doing work with families and the community. I believe this internship is a great way for me to reach out to the community!

This fall my goal is keep you all informed with all of the amazing activities that JRF has planned for the next few months! I am very excited to start my journey of blogging this information to you! 


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