Women’s Fund Seeks Applicants for Leadership Institute
EASTHAMPTON — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts wants local women to make an impact on social change by serving on boards of directors, getting involved in civic affairs, and even running for political office. To help develop future leaders, the foundation developed the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact. The Institute is now accepting applications for the 2014-15 training cycle. The deadline to apply is June 27, 2014. The Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact encourages women to think seriously about becoming more involved as civic leaders in their communities and running for office. Focusing on areas such as community organizing, the legislative process and policy making, fund-raising and campaigning, and running for office, the Institute gives women the tools — and, more importantly, the confidence — they need to become political leaders. To date, 140 women have graduated from the Institute, and 34 graduated this past May. They represent Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. Some already hold local offices, others are planning to run, and others are pursuing leadership positions on boards of directors. At each training session, a woman working at the elected level presents her experiences. These include state Rep. Ellen Story, former Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins and her campaign manager Elizabeth Silver, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, and many others. Julie Kumble, interim CEO of the Women’s Fund, noted that, “perhaps more than ever before, the issues of our society require the engagement of increased numbers of women representing our diverse communities. When women enter the political decision-making process, the perspective broadens and the conversation changes. It is time to create a pipeline of diverse women leaders who will create the change that our local, national, and global issues require.” The year-long Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact will begin for new members in September, but applications are being accepted through June 27. Applications are available on the foundation’s website, www.womensfund.net.