All posts tagged: women

Jeannette Rankin scholar receives Courageous Educator Award!

Jeannette Rankin scholar receives Courageous Educator Award!

JRF | Feb 10 2015 |  · · · 

Angela was presented with the Courageous Educator Award by Educators for Social Justice! She works as an assistant professor in human services and serves as the department chair at St. Louis Community College. In 1997, she needed help paying for college.

"My Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarship allowed for me to complete my education and in doing so, spurred my professional development and community involvement," Angela said.

After earning her Bachelor's degree in Social Work in 1999, Angela went on to earn her Master's. She's kept busy since then, doing incredible work in her school and community.

Here's an excerpt on why she was selected:

“Angela’s fervor for social justice in the realm of education was clear from the very first moment we reviewed her nomination,” Accettola said. “She works ardently to organize her students to promote equality across the city through various student clubs. She also has her hand in addressing a wide variety of social justice issues, including homelessness and women’s rights. Simply put, Angela’s passion pervades all areas of her life.”

Congratulations, Angela! We are so happy your contributions and hard work are being recognized. To read more about Angela and her work in and out of the classroom, click here.


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Cheryl, Jeannette Rankin Alumna

JRF | Sep 22 2014 |  · · · 

At our Annual Dinner on September 16th, Jeannette Rankin Alumnae shared her story. Here's part of what she had to say:

I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share what the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund has enabled me to accomplish at the annual dinner. You see, my mother was a drug addict. I grew up in a home filled with drugs, violence and abuse. Then, I married an abusive man. I was convinced that I had no way out, not only because I couldn’t make it on my own, but because I believed that marriage was a sacred covenant not to be broken.


It took him threatening to put a bullet in my brain for me to make the decision that I had to leave despite the consequences. It was the most heart wrenching and scariest decision that I ever made. I had no home, no car, and no job.


While I was at the Domestic Violence shelter and trying to figure out how to start a life on my own with five children to take care of, I realized that I had a choice. I could get a minimum wage job, child support and government assistance and make ends meet, but I would always be reliant on the government to survive. Or, I could get extra government assistance, child support and scholarships to go back to school. Then, I would eventually be able to support myself without government assistance.


Everyone told me about all of the scholarships available for older, single moms, but as I tried to find them I found out that it was a myth. They just are not out there to the degree that many think. However, I was blessed to discover Jeannette Rankin Fund.


With Jeannette Rankin Fund's help, not only was I able to complete my degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but I was able to procure a job that supports my family and enables me to give back. I was even able to buy my very own home! I cannot tell you what it means to not have to fill out the free lunch form for my children or worry about how I am going to pay the electric bill and buy the supplies my children need for some school project. Our lives have been forever changed and it is a direct result of the Jeannette Rankin Fund.


There are three things that I want desperately to convey to each of you. One, if he hits you, slaps you, or shoves you, it is abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the face, head, shoulder, back or anywhere else. It is still abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it happens once a week, once a month, once a year or even every couple of years. It is still abuse, and it is ok to leave. You can do it! You can survive! You do not have to believe the lies that you aren’t worth it, or that you are incapable of surviving without him.


That leads to my next point. If you don’t like your life, you can change it! If you are in an abusive relationship, addicted to drugs, living in poverty, or just plain unhappy, you can change it. Make a plan and do it. You will want to give up. It will be hard. The key is to keep going no matter what, even when you feel like you can’t go on. At those times don’t think about tomorrow or even the next hour. All you have to do it determine to make it through the next minute. If you keep doing that, one day you will look around and realize you made it. All you have to do is not give up.


The third is that your gift matters! It can be the difference between success and failure. I know it was for me.


I would not be where I am, today, without the Jeannette Rankin Fund support. It has changed my life. It has changed my children’s lives. It has and will change all the women’s lives that I share my story with. It has and will change the lives of my children’s friends as they share it. I am just one woman, and you have had this much of an impact. Imagine what else can be accomplished!


My story is not over. I feel like I am just now getting to the good part, and I am so excited for the future. After my children are grown I plan on continuing my education to include a graduate degree. I hope to do research in Genetics and Epigenetics. It is a fascinating area of study that I believe can help so many suffering from everything from schizophrenia to PTSD and anxiety disorders. Until then, I will continue to share my story in hopes of encouraging other women to move past their difficult circumstances and making a better life for themselves and their children. 


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Two New Nursing Students

Two New Nursing Students

JRF | Jun 18 2014 |  · · · 

The hard work of selecting scholars is over, and the exciting work of preparing to send out scholarship checks is beginning. Two applicants that rose to the top during selection happen to be enrolled at the same school in the same program!

Pamela and Sandroe are studying Nursing at Athens Technical College, and their perseverance and goal-oriented approach to school made them stand out. Athens Tech was excited about this news, as well, and published an article about the two students. Click here to read it in full.

A big thank you to the volunteers and donors who make these scholarships possible. There are 87 incredible women receiving help to go to school and conquer poverty in 2014.

Key excerpts:

“Women selected for Jeannette Rankin scholarships are hard-working individuals who are attending college, keeping up with jobs and volunteer work in their communities, and caring for their families,” said Sue Lawrence, Executive Director for Jeannette Rankin Fund. “Sandroe and Pamela are great examples of women who are juggling a lot of responsibility and succeeding. They are very determined and persistent.”

A single mother with five children, Sandroe spent the last eight years working as a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant. She enrolled at Athens Tech fall semester of 2011 to begin her quest for becoming a nurse.  This past March, she left the Waffle House and has devoted her time to her academics.

Sandroe said: “My ultimate goal is to one day be a nurse specializing in behavioral health, and of course, I would like to volunteer some of my free time at the Mercy Health Center that helps those who don’t have medical insurance with their healthcare needs. I feel extremely blessed to have been chosen to receive the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship.”

In 2010, an oven burner ignited Pamela's husband’s clothing, and the resulting fire severely burned him. His treatment and recuperation through the burn clinic at Doctors Hospital in Augusta took nearly a year, and during that time, Jones got hands-on training from the nurses about how to treat her husband’s wounds and how to change his bandaging. The nurses were so impressed with Jones’ learning skills and abilities that they encouraged her to attend nursing school. She enrolled at Athens Technical College in 2012 to prepare for the Nursing program.


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Moving to an online application and review

JRF | Mar 05 2014 |  · · · 

Here at JRF, we’re excited to announce that we’ve just wrapped up our 36th scholarship application cycle and are about to begin the application review process. Last year, this involved sorting and screening more than 700 paper applications, organizing and distributing the eligible applications to teams of reviewers then sorting everything again when those reviewers were finished.


All told, JRF staff spent an estimated 116 hours coordinating the application review process. And that’s just on our end! Women downloaded paper applications from our website and often completed the application by hand. Because we required two copies, they either photocopied their entire application or transcribed a second copy by hand before organizing everything, driving it to the post office and sending it to us.


Often, applicants asked the same question we were asking ourselves: Can’t this be done online? This year, thanks to a generous grant, we made that happen.


Transitioning to an online scholarship application shows that the need for support for low-income, non-traditional students is tremendous—more than 3,700 women signed up on the new application system, and more than 1,500 of those women started applications! In total, 694 women submitted applications for Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarships for 2014. We are proud to provide scholarships and support to 87 applicants, and continue to work hard to serve more women who want to conquer poverty.


The online application process has already saved staff and volunteers over 30 hours of work, and we know the new system will only continue to increase our efficiency. Application review will take place online from March until May and gives us the opportunity to reach out to volunteers and supporters on a national scale, introduce more people to our mission, and help more women build better lives through college completion.


Moving online is a huge step forward, and we’re grateful to supporters across the country for making it possible. Thank you!


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Education and Social Mobility

JRF | Oct 02 2013 |  · · · 

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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