Women in Philanthropy Article highlights the Indian Legal Clinic and students

These are just some of the expressions
of gratitude we heard March 28 at our Dollars at Work event at the beautiful
ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. While we gathered together for lunch we had the
opportunity to hear from not just program directors but students whose academic
careers were shaped by our investments.

Over the past 10 years, Women & Philanthropy has awarded $2.6 million through 67 grants and we learned that the impact of that is being felt around the world — from Arizona’s American Indian reservations to a village in Ghana, Africa, where children are breathing easier because we invested in new cooking technology.

As our Co-chair Cindy Watts said in her welcome remarks, Women & Philanthropy
members are affecting peoples’ lives: “Every penny has gone to an ASU
program; you all should be very proud of yourselves for that
.”

It was inspiring to meet students who have benefitted from our scholarships, and
to speak with the program directors who care so deeply about their work.

We tried something unique and broke into three groups, and each spent about 15 minutes hearing from participants. That way, Women & Philanthropy members could learn about programs in an “up-close and personal” way.

Here is what grant recipients had to say:

The Motivated Engineering Transfer Students (METS)
Program | 2011–12 | $100,000

Among
the several students we met from the METS program was Lauren McBurnett, who at
19 is in graduate school studying civil engineering despite struggling with
dyslexia, and who told our members:  “We really appreciate what
you guys do for our program…I know without this scholarship I would not be in
graduate school.”

And we met Erick Ponce, a civil engineering student from Guatemala who is
the first in his family to graduate from college and the first to go to
graduate school, who said:  “I’m so happy and I’m so grateful for
Women & Philanthropy because if it wasn’t for you guys I wouldn’t be
graduating.”

METS provides community college transfer students with tutoring, mentoring,
job-skills training and social and emotional support to help them transition to
a four-year university.

We learned from Mary Anderson-Rowland that this juncture in a student’s academic
career can be difficult. She likened a transfer student to a fish that has to
leap from one bowl, hang in the air, and then land successfully in another
bowl. Transfer students often don’t know what resources are available at a
university, they’ve already taken the easiest classes at community college and
they feel like freshmen all over again.

GlobalResolve | 2007–08 | $50,000

When we awarded funding to GlobalResolve it had 28 students involved in projects.
Today, it has about 140 in eight countries.

Henderson, its executive director, says our involvement was important to its success: “Thank you so much for the funding you gave us. It came very early in our founding and we have really made strides since then.”

GlobalResolve is a social entrepreneurship program in which students and faculty work
together on projects that improve the lives of people around the world. The
project we funded helped students develop clean alternatives to cooking fuel as
smoky cooking fires cause so many illnesses, especially in women and children.

Today students are working on projects from India to Peru. One student even developed a prototype light source powered by a chunk of coal, which is inexpensive and readily available to poor villagers.

Indian Legal Clinic | 2004–05 | $20,000

Patty Ferguson-Bohnee and her students were articulate advocates for the clinic,
which champions Native American voting rights and legal training at ASU.

Our funding was important because until last year the clinic received no state funding,
Patty said, and our grant helped establish its reputation:  “With
the initial money we received from you we were able to ask for money from
others, and because it was a success they were willing to donate.”

Native American voting rights is still a pressing issue. Arizona’s Native Americans
weren’t allowed to vote until 1948 and even then the state added literacy
restrictions that prevented many from voting until well into the 1970s. We
learned from third-year student Lily Yan how the Arizona Native Vote Election
Protection Project works to remove those obstacles.

We learned from third-year student Fernando Anzaldua how the clinic is making an
impact locally and nationally. In Arizona, students from the clinic do legal
work in tribal prosecutors’ offices as well as in civil cases. Nationally,
students are involved in important cases like that brought by Gulf Coast tribes
in Louisiana who are suing BP for the 2010 oil spill that devastated their
fishing grounds.

“How proud are you of what we’ve done?” Cindy asked after
spending time with these inspiring students and faculty. “Let’s be sure we keep
that going!”

How do we keep that going?

Guest speaker Roz Abero, vice president and managing director of Affinity at the ASU
Foundation, said Women & Philanthropy is building a culture of
philanthropy
within our families and communities that will ensure our
collective and individual impact endures.
At the same time, ASU and the foundation are deeply committed to connecting people back tothe university where they can connect to their passions.  “The
cool thing about ASU is — whatever you are passionate about, we’re doing it.
And we’re doing it well,” Roz said.

One way to continue that impact is to help meet our goal of 100 percent
participation in the Women & Philanthropy New American University
Scholarship Endowment. So far, 62 members have contributed $87,000.

“If you haven’t already invested in the scholarship — please do so. To those who have, we thank you,” Roz said. “How could anyone not want to be a part of this kind of impact?”

ASU Foundation for A New American
University

P.O. Box 2260 • Tempe, AZ 85280-2260

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