Friday, November 24, 2006

Ladies who lunch: a rebuttal


I am writing this in response to the Sorority Girls post below which was written by a close friend of mine on his blog.

I hardly know where to begin. I guess I will leave the analysis of sorority girls alone as I was never one of them, neither were any of my sisters, I’m guessing neither were yours. I’m sure I have a few friends who were but I couldn’t tell you who.

I do know many society gals, however. And, yes, we threw a big party this month to raise funds for Newborn Hope. We also educated the 1600 people in the room about prematurity and gave them further opportunity to get involved with the cause.

Because we fed our fat faces, migrant workers on the Western Slope will have access to prenatal care; Peak Vista will have money to see high-risk indigent pregnant women; McKee Medical Center will have a bi-lingual social worker on staff, Penrose Community will hold smoking cessation classes for pregnant teens, etc.

In August we threw a big party called Pasta in the Park to raise funds for TESSA. We challenged each other to make the tastiest pasta sauce, dressed up as though we were heading off to Ascot, and made a bunch of money so that abused women and their children have a safe place to go. Ask Cari Davis what she thinks of the work we sorority gals do, and what she would do without us.

I think in December, it’s S-CAP. The Red Ribbon Ball. Yet another garish event designed to raise funds to help those suffering with AIDS.

In February, it’ll be the Heart Ball. We’ll raise more than $100,000 in a single night. The men will dress in tuxes and we girls will get to wear our ball gowns, maybe even our furs. We’ll once again eat delicious fattening food and dance to the mellow sounds of Moments Notice, or some other local boring band.

I was part of the organization that started the Children’s Literacy Center. Remember, we used to hold the Celebrity Dinner at Jose Muldoon’s? “Important” people served us tacos and margaritas and we made enough money to kick off our fledgling project. If you don’t know what a difference the Children’s Literacy Center has made in Colorado Springs, you should really check out their website. Or talk to any educator in town.

Guess what? The same 100 or so society women hold every one of these fundraising events. EVERY ONE. We also do the Festival of World Theater, the Dance Theater’s wine tasting weekend, the Fine Arts Center’s annual gala--all kinds of arts and culture undertakings that benefit our community mightily.

I took a graduate course on Nonprofit Management a few years ago at UCCS. It was taught by Cathy Robbins who heads up the El Pomar Foundation. She taught us that the role played by society women, the fund raisers, in the world of philanthropy is immeasurable and critically important.

The thing about your post that is the most upsetting to me is the accusation that Newborn Hope has played into the hands of the anti-abortion activists. As the person who was recently in charge of granting the nearly $300,000 we raised last year, all I can say is NOT ON MY WATCH. The ironic thing about society gals is that we are smart. Really smart. Maybe we gave up careers to marry the big guys and raise families, but we were chosen by those big boys because of our DNA. Because of our charisma. Because of our mental acuity. We were chosen by them because of our genes. Not because of our jeans.

My Advisory Council co-chair, former Kappa Kappa Gamma turned attorney who has recently published her fourth book, and I understood very well how the issue of prematurity might be linked to the issue of abortion. She and I are actually on opposite sides of the abortion issue. Be we are most definitely on the same side when it comes to prematurity prevention and the work done by Newborn Hope.

I’ll give you a little education. We give a lot of money for pregnancy tests. This has never felt to me like a great use of our funds. However, because we have several physicians, neonatal nurses and social workers on our committee (we’ll only accept them if they have a least one strand of genuine pearls and understand that Birkenstocks with knee socks are not allowed in any circumstance), the pregnancy test is a very important first step. It is imperative if (1) a provider wants to enter the woman into the healthcare system (2) the provider wants to enroll the woman in the Medicaid system (3) the provider wants to take control of the woman (usually a young girl) to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.

Those in category 3 usually are also interested in funds for “early ultrasound.” From a medical standpoint, there is almost no reason to do an ultrasound at six weeks except to show a young girl that this is in fact a “baby” living within her womb that should not be aborted.

My co-chair and I, despite the fact that we are society gals, are not idiots. Nor are any gals on our committee. We understand very well the dynamic. As a result, we changed the way Newborn Hope grants funds. We now have a rubric that we use to evaluate grant proposals. If the pregnancy test is a first step in getting the patient into Medicaid, or if it is a first step in referring the woman to a doctor who will provide “continuity of care” all the way until birth, we’ll pay for the pregnancy tests. If not, we won't. On our watch, a local medical care organization, which is actually closely aligned with the anti-abortion movement, got nothing. NOT ONE DIME. For the first time in years. Check out our website at NewbornHope.org to see who gets our money. Our evaluation rubric is posted there as well.

So make fun if you must. But this town would be a much different place without the ladies who lunch. People in the non-profit world know it. They would never belittle our efforts, because we help them achieve their ends in a way they couldn’t without our support.

If you’d like me to throw a little soiree to raise funds for one of your pet projects, maybe the PPJPC, my sorority friends and I could have about a hundred grand in your pocket by the end of next week. So let us know. Even with the holidays fast approaching, lots of shopping to do for our little silver spooners, we’d still love an opportunity to feed our fat faces! And shop for new outfits from our fine local merchants! You don’t have to ask twice!

2 comments:

Eric said...

Very well said. You are brilliant!

Marie Walden said...

Sorority girls are always good writers. All those thank you notes!