Columbia College Annual Report 2013
A League of Their Own A local nonprofit sponsors scholarships for women By Whitney Dreier
The Assistance League of Mid-Missouri contributes passionately to the Columbia community. The nonprofit provides emergency room survivor kits to victims of sexual assault; it donates books to preschoolers; it even operates a thrift store that sells quality clothing and accessories. Although Columbia College students might have taken advantage of these – and other – resources, there is one ALMM resource that directly affects the school’s female population. The Assisting Women’s Achievement Scholarship provides tuition assistance for nontraditional female Columbia College students 25 and older. The thinking behind the scholarship is that a college degree improves employment opportunities and security for women. “I know that every dollar we work so hard to make through our resource development programs and Upscale Resale store sales translates directly into assistance for women and children in Columbia,” says former president Sue Finlay, who has been a member volunteer of ALMM for 11 years. “That is important to me — that our assistance stays local — and helps our neighbors.”
What is the Assistance League? • The Assistance League of Mid-Missouri is the 90th of 120 chapters in the Assistance League nationwide network. The first Assistance League chapter was formed in 1919 in Southern California, in response to families impacted by WWI, and ALMM grew out of that effort. Chartered in 1994, the mid-Missouri organization is now 19 years old. • The Assistance League has 26,000 member volunteers who give 2.6 million service hours, return $36 million to local communities and assist 1.2 million people in need.
Approximately 10 women are selected each year to receive scholarship money. More than $125,000 has been awarded to 69 deserving adult female students since 2005. Each student also receives a mentor from the Assistance League. “As treasurer and as president, I’ve had the opportunity to meet the people who have been helped by our programs,” Finlay says. “That is a very good feeling — to know the person who has received the scholarship, or the parent whose child has just received a new set of clothes, or the teacher who has just received a Links to Learning teaching grant to enrich their school classroom.” On May 3, 2013, Columbia College celebrated the Assistance League’s $200,000 gift, which will help continue to provide support for the Assisting Women’s Achievement Scholarship. The Assistance League has a room named after the organization in the science center in honor of its generosity. Finlay says supporting Columbia College is important because the goals of the organizations align. “The population of the school closely matches those we assist,” Finlay says. “With our goal of helping women and the college’s education of adult female students, ALMM and Columbia College make great partners.” Right: Assistance League members, in the Upscale Resale back room, work to help the Columbia community through a store that provides support for women and children. A scholarship for adult female students directly affects Columbia College students. Back row, from left to right: Donna Buchert, Carol Hurt ’89, Sondra Flaker, Rosemary Christensen ’00 and Sharon Ginsburg. Front row, from left to right: Jan Mees, Susan Brooks, Barbara Mayer and Jolene Schulz ’61.