President's Message: July 2017

LWVDC at the Palisades Parade for the Fourth of July

LWVDC at the Palisades Parade for the Fourth of July

I hope that you all had a happy 4th of July.  Ours was great fun, as Hank and I joined Kathryn Ray and her daughter Anna, Alex Dickson, and Caroline Petti in marching for the League in the Palisades Parade.  The Parade stretches from Our Lady of Victory school down MacArthur Boulevard to Edmunds Place and over to the Palisades Recreation Center.  For a couple of hours this mile-long stretch of our cosmopolitan city looks like small-town America.  Marchers include the Boy Scouts, the Shriners, kids on bicycles, a whole group of dogs, Bolivian dancers, a troop of Chinese dancers, the Different Drummers band, most of the politicians in the city, etc.—and of course, fire engines, the Safeway truck, and various other commercial vehicles.  Many of our allies were there, and several statehood proponents marched.

The most thrilling part for me was the cheers we heard from the throngs lining either side of the street.  All through the march, we were greeted with “Thank you!”  “Hooray for the League of Women Voters!”  “We appreciate all you do!”  They clapped and hollered and made us feel really good.  We handed out our Rosie the Riveters stickers, which little kids love, as well as six pounds of Tootsie Rolls.  Do plan to join us next year!  It’s a great experience!   If we could get a large enough group involved, we could have a presence at Barracks Row in Ward 6 as well as Palisades.

Takeaways from Council

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find accounts from Anne Anderson and from me about the 2017 League Leadership Council.  As many of you know, the League holds a small Leadership Council in odd-numbered years and a Convention in even-numbered years.  This year the Council was far more interactive and peer focused than in previous years, and the theme was transformation to protect democracy.

Like Anne, I came away with a renewed sense of excitement about the League and very positive impressions of the national operations.  National Board and staff members actively participated in the activities, and we got to know several of them.  CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris has been in her job a little less than two years, and she has made substantial progress in modernizing operations.  We have had positive experiences in the past with Chief of Staff Kelly McFarland Stratman and Jeanette Senecal who leads the Mission Impact team—both were enormously helpful with our DC grant last year, for example.  This year we have had the pleasure of working with Kate Kennedy, Chief Development Officer, on another grant proposal.  Based on the two fundraising networking circles I attended, I think we can expect good help from Kate on fundraising.  And I appreciated working with Anisa Tootla, Chief Operating Officer, in the solutions group.  In my opinion we can expect really good things from the 17-member national office staff.

Help Needed

We have been subtenants of the office space of the Friends of the Earth (FOE) for many years.  In fact, we have moved to new office space with them at least twice in the past.  Now, however, we need to find new space.  FOE, which has been a really good landlord for years, is ending our lease October 31.  They had substantial empty space in this office and have been fortunate to acquire as a subtenant a large group who works in the same environmental concerns area they do.  Consequently, all of their smaller subtenants must find new space.

We need to form a small Action Team to research and recommend new space.  The most likely landlords would be either another non-profit that has some space to sublet or one of the many collaborative workspace companies in town.  We currently occupy the equivalent of two cubicles, and we have need for some fairly substantial storage space.  Our 14-member Board meets once a month in the evening so we need access to a conference room.  It would be nice if we could also have access to larger space for public meetings, but we can schedule those in public libraries.  We need to be near a Metro station and have parking available nearby.  I am sure that there are many options, but we need to get busy and find the right one.  

Please do contact me if you are willing to help in this endeavor—