Benchmark II March 2011 Archive


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Ten years ago, Women 4 Women embarked on a study called Benchmark 2000. That study named an intractable problem: the welfare of women and girls in our community was in jeopardy. We then set out on a journey to find solutions that would enable us to improve the lives of women and girls, work that would give us the power to change social and economic problems.

Over the years, under Ann Coffey's leadership, we designed and developed interventions and programs that have helped women and girls in Louisville. Other attempts at change have done little to improve the situation. We are grateful to have had Ann's steady focus for eight years on how best to frame what can and must be done long term to change some of these deep social and economic barriers for women and girls.

This last year, understanding that Ann might be ready to pursue her own professional goals, the Board encouraged her to lead a second Benchmark study that could determine our focus on several targeted initiatives - ones we know DO make a positive difference - and begin the development effort that can support the work long term. Benchmark II is in its final preparation. It will set the direction for the work of Women 4 Women as we move toward our 20th anniversary, under new executive leadership.

Shirley Willihnganz, Vice Chair of the W4W Board of Directors and the University of Louisville Executive Vice President and Provost, has agreed to head a national search for our next president. We are also grateful to Lopa Mehrotra W4W Board Member and 2010-2011 Co-Chair of our Annual Luncheon, who has taken a leave from the Board to serve as our interim President and CEO. Lopa has been integral to the work of Benchmark IIand is excited to assist W4W in the implementation of its new initiatives.

We want to say that Ann, our staff, and many program leaders and volunteers have worked extremely hard these last eight years. They have broken new ground, tried new approaches, overcome barriers, and named problems candidly - resulting in our having SOME power to change the lives of women and girls in positive ways. The Benchmark II study is our essential framework as we go forward. It does nothing less than articulate - NAME - the most critical issues and clarify what it will take - the POWER - to continue being a change-maker for women and girls.

Just as we are grateful for Ann's service to the work, we remain grateful to you for walking beside us on this journey. You have brought your passion and commitment to what we have accomplished thus far. The work continues. Your thoughts and recommendations will be important as we go forward.

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Becky Phillips
Chair, W4W Board of Directors

Benchmark II Sponsor:
LG&E Foundation

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Women 4 Women
323 W Broadway, Suite 201
Louisville, KY 40202