Know Your Nonprofit: American Association of University Women
What is your mission statement?
AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.
What is your yearly budget (optional), and how many paid employees do you have?
The annual operating budget is approximately $23,000 a year. In addition, we have separate scholarship funds, including a charitable trust. We have no employees and operate on an all-volunteer basis.
What is your nonprofit’s history?
American Association of University Women is a nationwide organization, established in Boston in 1881. The Nevada County branch was established in 1937, and we celebrated 75 years of service to this community in 2012. Between 1937 and 1949, this branch donated to many important organizations including Red Cross, the Cancer Drive and Girl Scouts of Grass Valley and Nevada City. AAUW also established a Local Scholarship Fund in 1940 for Nevada City High School and Grass Valley High school female graduates going to accredited universities. AAUW was very active in the l970s and 1980s when it helped draft the county’s first zoning ordinance and started recycling programs. In the 1980s, AAUW helped draft the county’s first General Plan, worked toward establishment of a Volunteer Center, tutored students at Washington Ridge and established Phone Friends, a “warm line” for latch-key kids. Since that time, AAUW helped establish Citizens for Choice and has continued to make a positive impact in the community in a variety of ways and supported numerous other non-profit organizations with donations and volunteers.
Who is your primary audience?
Our membership is made up of college-educated women with either a two- or four-year college degree.
AAUW serves women and girls in this community and nationwide through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Locally, we are able to send eight eighth-grade girls each summer to Tech Trek, a week-long science and math camp. We also provide local scholarships to female local high school and Sierra College graduates. Nationwide, AAUW provides post-graduate scholarships and legal advocacy to women and girls through lobbying efforts and our Legal Advocacy Fund which supports litigation that fights discrimination in schools and the workplace.
List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit’s history (up to three).
1. Most people get very excited when they hear about AAUW’s Tech Trek Program. This is a week-long science and math camp for eighth grade girls, held on college campuses. These camps were established by AAUW California and the Nevada County branch has worked very hard to be able to send a significant number of girls. These girls learn about college life and living in a dorm, and are encouraged to learn about science, math and technology at a time when building confidence is so important. The current Tech Trek campus that Nevada County girls attend is UC Davis. For the last few years, our branch has been sending eight girls to Tech Trek camp each summer, the largest number for any one northern California Branch.
2. AAUW Nevada County provides four $1,000 college scholarships to local girls. They are awarded to two female graduates of Nevada Union High School, and one each to female graduates of Bear River High School and Sierra College.
3. AAUW was instrumental in the establishment of Citizens for Choice, an organization that provides education, outreach and a local clinic to provide a full range of reproductive health services and STD treatments to men, women and teens.
List the biggest challenges you face (up to three).
Our biggest challenge is maintaining and increasing our membership. We have an active membership carrying out our mission, but we need to constantly recruit new members to maintain our philanthropic programs and presence in the community while recruiting new AAUW leaders. Since we have no staff, an active membership and leadership structure is truly essential. We are especially interested in recruiting younger women to keep our group growing and dynamic. We think we have a lot to offer. In addition to carrying out our mission, we provide a wide variety of interest groups, including arts and crafts, book clubs, bridge, gadabouts, gardening, Great Decisions, walkers, gourmet adventures and world cuisine.
What is your No. 1 short-term goal for the next year?
Our No. 1 goal for 2013 is to raise enough money for our Local Scholarship Committee to increase our number of local college scholarships from four to five.
What is your No. 1 long-term goal for the next three years?
Our No. 1 goal for the next three years is to raise enough money to complete our Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund, which is part of the National AAUW Educational Opportunity Fund. These funds primarily support post-graduate studies for women. These are in the form of fellowships for women obtaining Ph.D.s, international fellowships for women from developing countries studying in the U.S., career advancement grants for women advancing or changing careers and community action grants for organizations supporting women and girls. Within this framework, the Nevada County Branch of AAUW established an endowment fund to celebrate our 75th anniversary that when completed, will permanently provide an annual research grant for women. Our goal is to raise $75,000 to complete the Endowment Fund.
What are your major fundraisers and dates?
1. Our first one is called Game Day, and raises money for our Local Scholarship Fund. It was held on February 23, 2013 and this year’s theme is Ooh, La, La – Fun and Games. With a French theme, lunch followed by an afternoon of games, including bridge, scrabble, Mexican train, puzzles and other games, a silent auction and raffle.
2. Our second fundraiser comes later in the year. Our “All About Unique Women” event raises money for the AAUW Educational Opportunity Fund, and more specifically for our Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund. It is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2013. It will take place at the historic Northstar House, designed by groundbreaking woman architect Julia Morgan. The theme is the Roaring ’20s, and we will feature unique women of that time making a difference in Nevada County and the world. We will provide entertainment, appetizers, wine from Chacewater Vineyards, silent auction, music and dancing.
What is the best way a person interested in your organization could help?
There are three good ways for people interested in our organization to help our efforts. The best way for women with a college education to help is to join our organization and become a part of our fundraising and women’s scholarship efforts, as well as enjoy the fellowship of our many interest groups. Two other ways that anyone can help is to attend our fundraising events and to donate to one of our scholarship funds: Local Scholarship Fund, Educational Opportunity Fund, and funds raised to send local girls to Tech Trek camp.
AAUW (American Association of University Women) – Nevada County is a member of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which provides the weekly Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about The Center for Nonprofit Leadership online at http://www.CNLSierra.org. The Center is on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/NevadaCountyNonProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.
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