The State of AAUW
Dear AAUW Members,
In November AAUW turned 136 years old. My, how it has grown from the original 17 brave and visionary women who started us on this path. AAUW has developed and transformed since then, adapting to new technology and expanding the range of activities, initiatives, and programs that have become our hallmark. I think, however, that Marion Talbot would still recognize the organization today. Why? Because our foundational theme and mission remain the advancement of equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
As we grow so too must our efforts to ensure that we are relevant, effective, and efficient in our impact. That means paying attention not only to issues that affect women and girls, but also strategically planning how we will best deploy our resources to accomplish our mission and making sure that we are inclusive as we chart our way forward. Toward that end the AAUW Board of Directors recently approved a recommendation to develop a new strategic plan; in the first quarter of 2018 you will be hearing more about that undertaking. This effort will involve staff, board, and member and stakeholder input. Since this is an organization-wide effort, states and branches are encouraged to embrace the goals and strategies that will emerge from the plan, establish their own plans, and determine how they can contribute to our shared organizational success within the parameters of their own resources and communities.
Many of you attended the AAUW National Convention in June and had an opportunity to meet and greet our dynamic new chief executive officer, Kimberly Churches. More of you have had the opportunity to get to know her a bit better as she has been traveling across the country on her listening tour. This has allowed her to hear your passionate commitment to our organization as well as your concerns and ideas about the future direction of AAUW. A great deal of what she has heard as chief executive officer and what I’ve heard from you as board chair is being weighed and considered by the national staff and board.
Looking back at just a few of our accomplishments during 2017, we sent more than 270,000 messages to lawmakers. Through AAUW Start Smart and Work Smart workshops 17,000 people learned to negotiate their salaries; but we’re not resting on those laurels. We plan to train 20,000 women by 2020 — and that’s just in San Francisco with a new partnership launched in December 2017! Stay tuned for news about additional partnerships we’re launching across the country.
We awarded $3.7 million to women and community projects, and we held science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs in 35 states! We celebrated 100 years of awarding International Fellowships to more than 3,600 women representing more than 140 countries, and we travelled to Morocco, Tunisia, and Dubai to share our research and programs with women leaders and activists.
With respect to our organization’s fiscal health, AAUW’s finances and investments are solid and on track. We are appropriately scrutinizing budget development and implementation, being mindful of our fiduciary responsibilities, and employing best practices to maximize our human and materiel resources. Management and the board are examining existing and potential initiatives and programs designed to make the organization more visible and distinct from other equity organizations, increase engagement with stakeholders, and grow our organizational productivity.
Whether we’re talking about public policy, legal case support, member leadership training, global connections, or educational funding, the state of AAUW is sound. We’re planning for our move forward to the next level. Thanks to each of you for your support and hard work in helping to make sure that we remain the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Onward and upward in 2018!
Julia T. Brown, Esq.