Women’s Policy Forum Concludes 2017 with Celebration, Awards Ceremony
On Dec.5, 2017, Women’s Policy Forum members and guests gathered at the City Club in downtown Fort Worth to reflect on 2017 and the organization’s successes and commitments to education.
Pat Cheong, 2017 chair of Women’s Policy Forum, summarized the group’s achievements during her time as head of the organization. Her top 10 list follows:
!. WPF increased its Tarrant County College scholarship to single heads of household with dependent children to $1,000 per semester from $500 per semester. The scholarship was created in 2011 to honor the late Erma Johnson Hadley who was the chancellor of TCC and a member of WPF. Hadley was the last featured speaker at the annual Celebrity Breakfast fundraiser for the WPF Foundation.
2. In 2017, WPF participated in three consecutive community conversations on race and culture as part of Mayor Betsy Price’s call to support the Task Force on Race and Culture. Three organizations, Links, Junior League and Hispanic Women's Network, participated along with WPF. Margaret DeMoss, Kathleen Culebro and Lisa Nichols were WPF's representatives. Kathy Livingston, WPF member, coordinated the last of the three meetings in November.
3. In the fall, WPF convened a meeting of new board members and member for a planning meeting facilitated by WPF member Cindy Johnson to set goals and objectives for the organization in 2018. A dozen members participated in the session.
4. On Oct.4, WPF’s annual Emerging Issues Symposium, “In the Driver’s Seat: Fueling Economic Security and Opportunity for Women,” led by Rose Bradshaw and Linda Garcia explored women’s issues in the public and private sectors. Dallas Women’s Foundation updated its report on the status of women in Texas.
5. A first-time summer event at the Fort Worth Library in partnership with the Fort Worth Library Foundation featured a jazz concert and social.
6. In April, the Fort Worth Hispanic Women’s Network, Fort Worth Sister Cities International and WPF sponsored a three-day conference, “Women: Engine of Change”, between women in Fort Worth, Texas and Toluca, Mexico on immigration, empowerment, and domestic violence. The conference followed a meeting in Toluca in 2015. Members of WPF and Fort Worth Sister Cities International, Ann Rice and Judy Harman, chaired the event.
7. WPF’s newsletter provided information to the membership throughout the year supported by the newsletter editing committee.
8. During Women’s History Month in March, in partnership with the Fort Worth Library, WPF celebrated the 30th anniversary of the organization’s founding with the families of cofounders Pegg Knapp and Karen Perkins and many past chairs. Shortly thereafter, WPF celebrated the life of Perkins who died on June 1.
9. Outstanding programs and networking opportunities attracted 15 new members and maintain a membership close to 135 members.
10. Throughout the year, at our monthly luncheons, WPF members and guests learned about policies affecting women and girls in Tarrant County. Karen Myers, incoming chair, led the committee setting the program agenda.
Liz Sisk, senior donor relations officer, Tarrant County Foundation, expressed her gratitude to the WPF Foundation for a five-year, $5,000 scholarship established for single heads of household with dependents attending TCC. She explained that scholarships are about more than money. “Scholarships provide a sense of emotional support and inspiration,” she said. The scholarship was established in honor of Erma Johnson Hadley, former TCC chancellor and WPF member.
TCC Chancellor Dr. Eugene Giovannini spoke to three primary challenges that affect students’ prospects for completing their studies – public transportation, child care and “life”, events that cannot be predicted. He pointed to a study by the state of Tennessee that found anyone without post-secondary education can expect to earn about $9,000 annually. With that information, the state decided to offer free tuition to community college.
“Two-thirds of all jobs today require some type of post-secondary education,” Giovannini said. “That’s why we have a 4.2 percent employment rate and six million unfilled jobs.”
TCC’s value proposition is that 90 percent of its graduates stay in the area, which is a $1.7 billion impact on the community. TCC is working closely with businesses, such as Oncor, to identify jobs that can be filled by individuals in the TCC system.