Wisconsin Women’s Network Annual Report 2005 The Wisconsin Women’s Network is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to improve the status of women in Wisconsin through education, communication and advocacy. A top priority of the Network is to foster communication among our organizational and individual members to strengthen our voices while working together on issues of common concern. The Wisconsin Women’s Network is a non stock and non profit corporation under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The WWN is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The WWN is also exempt from state income taxation. Programs and Events The following programs and events were sponsored by the Wisconsin Women’s Network in 2005. The 18th Annual Catherine Conroy Milwaukee Legislative Breakfast was held on February 5 at Alverno College, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County. The topic was Women’s Health Care. The Breakfast is a successful and popular event, where participants can hear from greater Milwaukee area state legislators, and discuss and share their views on important issues of the day. The WWN 2005 Women’s Equality Day Celebration was held August 25 in the Senate Parlor of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Professor Genevieve McBride, Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, presented a selection from her newly published book, Women’s Wisconsin, a compendium of articles from issues of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Magazine of History. The annual Stateswoman of the Year Brunch was held in Milwaukee on November 6. Milwaukee-based Board members, Ann Crump and Eileen Hanson, with Nominating Committee Chair Patti Yunk, put together a beautiful, elegant tribute to US Congresswoman Gwen Moor, the 2006 Stateswoman of the Year. The Artful Women Art Show and Sale, held November through December, at the UW Hospital’s Skylounge Gallery, provided a venue for Wisconsin women artists to show their work and introduced visitors to the work of many talented women in our state. Art was offered in a wide range of prices for all levels of collectors. Handblown glass wall vases, commissioned from glass artist Anne Sauer, were a special feature of the Art Show. The Stateswoman and Other Communications The Wisconsin Women’s Network publishes The Stateswoman, a newsletter which includes information on issues of concern to women, a resource section, news from member organizations, and a calendar of events. The Network also publishes an “interim bulletin” between issues of The Stateswoman, which often takes the form of a legislative update, and issues “electronic information sharing,” a well-received bi-weekly E-bulletin with a calendar section, information on current events and new resources on a variety of issues of concern.
WWN sponsors monthly statewide teleconferences for organizational representatives, with the goal of facilitating networking and increasing information sharing among WWN member organizations, particularly those located outside of Madison. Representatives of WWN member organizations can share plans and solicit support for their projects and agendas, attending the teleconferences by phone or in person. Publications The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Wisconsin provides objective data regarding how much income is needed, for a family of a given composition in a given location, to adequately meet its basic needs without public or private assistance. It differs significantly from the federal poverty threshold, and directly addresses the need of employers, advocacy groups, nonprofit service providers, and policymakers for accurate information. The Self-Sufficiency Standard furnishes a tool to assist direct service providers, policymakers, program providers, and advocacy organizations in their efforts to improve the economic situation of low income individuals and their families. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Wisconsin was first published by the Wisconsin Women’s Network in April 2000, in collaboration with Washington DC-based Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) as part of their Family Economic Self Sufficiency Project. The original report was prepared in consultation with a Wisconsin advisory group chaired by Eileen Mershart, executive director of the YWCA - Madison. Participants included representatives from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison Area Technical College, the WI Department of Workforce Development, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy at UW-Madison, the Urban League of Dane County, and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. In 2004, the WWN published an update of The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Wisconsin. In 2004 the WWN published a second edition of Uncommon Lives of Common Women: The Missing Half of Wisconsin History, originally published in 1975. The book helps to recover some of the “lost” history of Wisconsin women from the 1700’s through the 1950’s, history lost because it was not deemed important enough to preserve. Uncommon Lives was distributed to school districts and public libraries throughout Wisconsin. Publication of this project was made possible by an in-kind contribution from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and support from the Wisconsin Women’s Network. Task Forces The task forces of the Wisconsin Women’s Network provide a mechanism for the sharing and coordinating of information on important public policy issues. There are currently task forces focusing on child care, reproductive rights, and women and aging. All task force chairs and members volunteer their time and efforts to the Wisconsin Women’s Network. The following are examples of task force activities throughout the year. The Reproductive Rights Task Force supported Wisconsin’s Family Planning Waiver program, working against proposals to make young women age 15 – 17 ineligible. The program allows Medical Assistance to provide reproductive health care services to women who are at 185% of the poverty line or less, but who are not otherwise eligible for Medical Assistance. The task force applauded an informal opinion issued by Wisconsin’s Attorney Wisconsin Women’s Network 2005
General that current Wisconsin anti-discrimination law requires employers who offer a prescription health benefit to include prescription contraceptives, and that public universities and colleges that offer a prescription drug benefit, but fail to include prescription contraceptives, violate anti-discrimination law applicable to public educational facilities. The task force successfully utilizes teleconferencing for its monthly meetings, significantly increasing participation of organizations around the state. The Task Force on Women and Aging has as its mission statement, “Through research, education, and advocacy, the Wisconsin Women’s Network Women and Aging Task Force works to ensure that older women have access to affordable and appropriate programs and services that enable them to live dignified, healthy and safe lives.” The task force selected long term care issues, especially SeniorCare and Family Care, and Prescription Drug Fair Pricing as their priority issues for the year. Their annual Mother’s Day press packet focused on Family Care. They also monitored other issues, such as Medicare. The task force has also started to conduct their monthly meetings via teleconference to allow members outside Madison to more effectively participate in task force activities and information sharing. A new LGBT Task Force formed with the immediate goal of opposing the constitutional amendment to ban civil unions projected to be on the Fall 2006 ballot statewide. Wisconsin Women=Prosperity Project In 2005 WWN was, for the second year, the fiscal sponsor Wisconsin Women=Prosperity (WW=P), a statewide economic development initiative chaired by Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton, with the full support of Governor Jim Doyle. The project builds on the report, The Status of Women in Wisconsin, issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in November 2002. The goal of the project is to create and implement policies to support women’s prosperity based on specific, clear understanding of regional priorities. The vision is to drive economic success for the state by increasing the well being of women. At the end of 2005, WW=P gained 501(c)3 non-profit organizational status from the IRS. WW=P funds held by WWN as fiscal sponsor, were transferred to WW=P. WWN was pleased to be able to facilitate the formation of this new organization dedicated to empowering women in Wisconsin. Wisconsin News Connection A new organization formed in early summer to prepare and disseminate news articles to radio stations throughout Wisconsin. WWN publicized this effort to its member organizations and encouraged participation in this progressive news network, the Wisconsin News Connection. WWN and member organization, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, joined forces to share one membership in the Connection. The radio production is carried out by professional radio journalist who gives participants excellent and detailed summaries of what is produced, and where and how often news items are picked up by radio stations. Wisconsin Women’s Network Staff, Board of Directors and Committees The work of the Wisconsin Women’s Network is carried out for the most part through volunteers. A half-time Administrator, Stacy Harbaugh, is employed to maintain the office and provide administrative support for the Network’s programs, with the board of directors providing the day-to-day direction for the organization. A major focus of the Network in the fall of 2005 was to recruit an intern and service learning student from UW-Madison, fulfilling a strategic goal of establishing closer ties with the University. Wisconsin Women’s Network 2005
Each organizational member was entitled to have a representative at the two membership meetings held in May and December. At the annual meeting in December, a 2006 budget was adopted and elections were held for open positions on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors schedules meetings monthly. Members of the board serve two-year terms. Members of the 2005 board of directors were: Mary Ann Fahl Nora Cusack Judy Taylor Sharyn Wisniewski Mona Steele Nancy McCulley Ann Crump Eve Galanter Eileen Hanson Chris Wing
Chair Vice Chair/Chair Elect Secretary/Treasurer Vice Chair/Communications Vice Chair/Public Policy Vice Chair/Special Events Member at Large Member at Large Member at Large Member at Large
Board Committees met throughout 2005. The Development Committee worked to identify funding sources to ensure the WWN will have the funds necessary to accomplish its goals. The Membership Committee is devising strategies to increase the number of WWN members, both individuals and organizations. The Communications Committee, composed of both board, and off-Board members, met regularly working specifically on web link between WWN and member organizations. The Events Committee planned and executed WWN special events. Financial Status Revenues in 2005 were chiefly derived from membership dues ($11,916), Community Shares of Wisconsin ($6,323), donations ($2,500), special events ($30,160), and fiscal agent fees ($1,119). Expenses in 2005 included salaries and taxes ($18,883), special events ($14,039), professional fees ($2,450), administration [rent, insurance, postage, printing, supplies, telephone, website and e-mail] ($11,107), equipment replacement ($1,412) Community Shares dues ($350), and Wisconsin News Connection ($750).
Wisconsin Womenâ€™s Network 2005