Georgia Shares recognizes outstanding performance at UGA
The University of Georgia was presented with the Georgia Shares MVP Award for its role as the top contributor in the state. Leaders of several Athens area non-profit charities presented the award on August 5, 2009 to UGA in appreciation for stellar performance. University employees pledged a total of over $435,000 in the fall 2008 charity campaign.
Despite difficult economic times resulting in tight household budgets, UGA employees continued to their support for others in critical need in the community. Their payroll pledges add up to significant contributions helping many area charities.
“We want to recognize the exceptional generosity of UGA employees, and also to express thanks for all the UGA campaign captains for their work – kudos!” said Sue Lawrence of Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship fund.
UGA employees are making a difference in the lives of people in dire need every day, and they are truly unsung heroes in our community. The Athens area Georgia Shares charities comprise nine of the 38 member agencies: AIDs Athens, Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens Justice Project, Athens Land Trust, Athens Oconee CASA, Bike Athens, Cat Zip Alliance, Georgia 4-H Foundation, Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund and Samaritan Counseling Center of Northeast Georgia.
Our 33rd Annual Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 17th at The Classic Center in Athens, GA. We are thrilled that Melissa Fay Greene, award-winning author of Praying for Sheetrock and There Is No Me Without You, will be our guest speaker. Melissa Brooks, a 2008 JRF Scholar and recent graduate, will also join us.
Up for auction will be a Blue Ridge Mountain getaway, Widespread Panic tickets, local art and other exciting items. We’ll also continue the tradition of raffling a beautiful diamond bracelet, courtesy of JWR Jewelers, to support the scholarship program. The winning ticket will be drawn at the event, but you need not be present to win. More information about the bracelet. can purchase raffle tickets at the Dinner.
Thursday, September 17
Social hour is at 5:30 p.m.
Seating is at 6:15 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30.
The Classic Center
300 N. Thomas Street
Athens, GA 30601
Driving directions can be found at The Classic Center website http://www.classiccenter.com/directions.php.
Melissa Fay Greene
Greene is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Life and other national publications.
Her recent book, There Is No Me Without You, was named best book of the year by several publications including Publisher’s Weekly and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It tells of an Ethiopian widow who takes in and cares for AIDS-orphaned children. Greene’s insightful works tell compelling stories of people all over, from Georgia to Ethiopia.
Melissa Fay Greene will also be signing books, so be sure to bring your copy or buy one at the event!
You can find out more about Melissa at her website: http://www.melissafaygreene.com/
Save the date…
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund 33rd Annual Dinner Friday, September 17, 2009 The Classic Center, Athens, GA
Join us in celebrating our 80 outstanding scholars at our Annual Dinner. The 2009 keynote speaker is award-winning author Melissa Fay Greene. Her first book, Praying for Sheetrock, was named one of the 20th century’s top 100 works of journalism by the New York University School of Journalism. Her most recent book, There Is No Me Without You, was celebrated among the best books of 2006 by Publisher’s Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Christian Science Monitor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Chicago Tribune.
Featured speaker Melissa Brooks is a graduating JRF scholar. Melissa will receive her bachelor’s degree from Franklin University in August. We’re excited to hear about Melissa’s many accomplishments as a student, professional and mother.
Keep an eye on the blog and, of course, our homepage, for sponsor information, ticket sales, and more about some of our speakers in the next few weeks.
We can’t wait to see you in September!
White House proposes simpler FAFSA
We’re excited to hear about President Obama’s proposal for simplifying the FAFSA. The FAFSA, which is the federal government’s required form for college financial aid, is currently over 100 questions long. It’s so complex that as many as 1.5 million Pell grant-eligible students don’t complete the form. In other words, low-income students often find the form so daunting that they simply give up.
It isn’t just that eligible students don’t get the grants they qualify for. Forbes reports on one study that indicates that the FAFSA’s complexity sometimes pushes low-income students to more expensive, private loans instead of publicly-subsidized loans. The study’s author, Mark Kantrowitz, found that two-thirds of students who take out only private loans came from families with an income of less than $50,000.
At JRF, we’re for FAFSA reform that makes it easier for students to go to college, preferably without taking out expensive private loans. Plus, FAFSA reform couldn’t come at a better time, since, due to the recession, applications for student aid are up 12% over last year.
Anonymous donors support women students, college presidents
Funding for Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund comes from donations large and small. Some donors use named scholarships to honor friends and relatives; others support our general fund so that we can continue to administer scholarships as efficiently as possible.
Many of our donors tell us a little bit about themselves, including the reasons they share our commitment to women’s education. But in some cases, they let their donation do the talking. This spring, an anonymous donor stepped forward (through an intermediary, of course) to provide a $20,000 donation to support JRF scholarships.
A donation of this size is especially helpful this year, given the tough economic climate. The struggling national economy creates a perfect storm for organizations like JRF: endowments and donations are down, and the need for college funding is up, as laid-off workers return to school. As we mentioned below, this trend played out in our office, in the form of a 39% increase in scholarship applications. Our generous anonymous donor enabled us to maintain our commitment to provide 80 scholarships to outstanding students across the country.
Our experience with anonymous giving led us to follow another story about philanthropy and women’s education. Over the past several months, an anonymous donor has given more than $100 million to at least 15 colleges and universities. A portion of the gift is usually reserved for scholarships for women and minority students, and, most interestingly, all of the colleges are led by women.
Speculation on the Mystery Donor’s identity abounds. Maybe it’s a controversial celebrity or disgraced Wall Street financier, hoping to spare the colleges guilt by association. Maybe it’s a giving circle, ensuring that, as Brian O’Rourke speculates in USA Today, “women presidents in higher education are successful.” Maybe it’s Oprah. (A spokesperson for Oprah says it isn’t. But of course, that’s what a spokesperson would say.) The colleges themselves agreed not to investigate the donor’s identity; one school, Binghamton University, originally interpreted the request for anonymity so strictly that they didn’t even plan to announce the gift, until they realized it was part of a pattern.
Here at JRF, we sort of like the anonymity, both of Binghamton’s mystery donor and our own, no-less-important mystery donor. Of course we would like to say thank you, and tell our donor about the wonderful scholars their gift supports. But we also like that these donations say, in effect, “It’s not about who I am. I could be anyone, because supporting women in higher education is important to all of us.”