Celebrating 100 Years of First Woman in Congress

Celebrating 100 Years of First Woman in Congress

JRF | Apr 27 2017 |  · · ·  Tags: women, jeannette rankin, jrf news, education, women in congress, social justice, women's equality

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Jeannette Rankin becoming the first woman to hold a seat in Congress. On April 2, 1917, Jeanette took her oath as a U.S. Representative. Not only was Jeannette the first woman to hold a seat in Congress but, she was elected for this position four years before women nationally had the right to vote. Montana was one of t

he first states that allowed women to vote. “We're half the people; we should be half the Congress.” said Jeannette. She used her power to help women gain equality and continue her pursuit for social justice. She even helped draft the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote. This created one of Jeannette’s most famous quotes,

“I want to be remembered as the only woman who ever voted to give 

women the right to vote.”

It wasn’t easy being the first woman to run for Congress. Jeannette was often criticized and had media commenting on her physical appearance rather than her ability to lead. According to a recent article, before Jeannette’s first election, her team sent information to The New York Times about Jeanette. They in turn ran a mocking article which used this information to encourage Montanans to vote for Rankin because “if she is elected to Congress she will improve that body aesthetically, for she is said to be ‘tall, with a wealth of red hair.’” Jeannette didn’t let this affect her and persisted through all the negative press that surrounded her.

After Jeannette’s first term in Congress she went on to continue to fight for social justice and later served a second term starting in 1941. During both of her terms she voted against the United States entering war. In one of Jeannette’s most elegant quotes she said, “There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense; for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.” This made her the only person in Congress to vote against entering both world wars. “As a woman, I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else,” said Jeannette in 1941 during her congressional speech. After her time in office she continued to fight for equality and peace.

Jeannette passed away in 1973 at the age of 92 but, her legacy continues to live on. After her passing, Jeannette left part of her Georgia estate to help mature unemployed women. Jeannette’s personal assistant, Reita Rivers, along with friends Sue Bailey, Gail Dendy, Margaret Holt, and Heather Kleiner, used that money to establish the Jeannette Rankin Foundation to help adult women who face difficulties returning to school. Later we changed the name to Jeannette Women’s Scholarship Fund to better reflect our mission.

Since Jeannette’s monumental first day as the first women U.S. Representative, more than 300 women have held a seat in Congress. Although women continue to endure the negative media attention that Jeannette faced, we persist in showing America why women deserve to have a voice. As Jeanette once said, “Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn't make sense not to use both.” Every day we celebrate Jeannette and her historical legacy of fighting for women's equality and social justice. We have come a long way since 1917 but, we still have a long way to go.

To read more about Jeannette's life check out this articles:

9 Facts About Jeannette Rankin

Has Anything Changed for Female Politicians?

First Woman in Congress: A Crusader for Peace

Remembering Rankin



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6 Study Tips to Help You Ace Your Exams

6 Study Tips to Help You Ace Your Exams

JRF | Apr 21 2017 |  · · ·  Tags: education, women

The school year is coming to an end and we all know what that means...finals. You have worked hard all semester and only a few exams stand between you and the finish line. This can be a stressful and overwhelming time but it doesn't have to be. We have come up with these 6 tips to help you be better prepared to ace these exams. Follow these tricks and you’re sure to conquer those finals!

1. Make a calendar to plan your remaining few weeks.
Using a different marker/highlighter for each of your classes, mark your exam dates and schedule times to study starting at least one week before your exam. Spreading out your study time will allow you to study in small chunks rather than cramming all at once.

2. Have a designated study area.
Creating a space that is specific for studying, preferably at a table or desk, will help you to stay focused on studying. Make sure to pick a place with little distractions and has enough space to lay out all your study materials. DO NOT study in bed or on a couch. Your brain already associates these spots with relaxation and will not give you the focus you need when studying.

3. Listen to instrumental music.
Listening to instrumental/classical music has been proven to help stimulate your brain and increase your ability to learn. This type of music relaxes your mind and allows you to focus on your task at hand. It cuts out the distraction of singing lyrics to a song or a TV show playing in the background. TV and songs can disrupt your brain from processing the information you are trying to remember.

4. Create flash cards.
Flash cards are proven to improve a person’s ability to retain information rather than just reading and highlighting. Flash cards allow you to incorporate multiple senses making it easier to retain the information. You are reading, writing, and speaking the information. This also gives you the opportunity to test yourself and put your brain in exam mode early on.

5. Take breaks.
Studying for big exams like final exams are tiring. There is a lot of information to remember and can get overwhelming. When you start to feel stressed, walk away. Have a snack, talk to someone, go for a walk, etc. Set goals for yourself to study for 20-30 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute break. If you sit and look at your information for too long you won’t retain any of it because it all starts to get lumped together.

6. Ask for help.
If you are having trouble with a concept or problem, ask for help. Your professors/instructors are there to help you understand. Send them an email, ask them in class, or go to their office hours. They want you to do your best and will help you if you ask. There is no shame in asking for help.

Good luck!


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Donor Spotlight - Amanda Bennett

Donor Spotlight - Amanda Bennett

JRF | Mar 07 2017 |

I first got connected with JRF when I was working at UGA around 2006. I wanted to volunteer somewhere in the community and found JRF through searching a list of local organizations. I was intrigued by the volunteer opportunity and helped as a Level 1 scholarship application reader that year.

That was all it took for me to want to become more involved with JRF. I volunteered to be an application reader at whatever level they needed and I began attending fundraisers. The stories of the scholarship applicants were so diverse and inspirational. Reading those applications was actually a large part of what motivated me to go to back to school 10 years after I graduated with my undergraduate degree from UGA to pursue my Master's degree in Nonprofit Management.

I saw the huge value in what JRF was doing for its scholars and I knew I wanted to give back. When my husband and I were financially able to give enough for an annual scholarship, we started giving every year to JRF. We moved to Nashville almost three years ago, but I enjoy staying connected to JRF. I look forward to being engaged however I am able. I am humbled to be a small part of helping the JRF scholars not only achieve their dreams but also realize their potential and value.


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Alexandra Dale Munro Kilpatrick’s Gift - Honoring the Legacy of a Life Well Lived

Alexandra Dale Munro Kilpatrick’s Gift - Honoring the Legacy of a Life Well Lived

JRF | Mar 01 2017 |

Alexandra Dale Munro Kilpatrick, better known as Alix, was an exceptionally intelligent woman whose life path drew her away from traditional educational opportunities. As the prospect of her life ending drew near, she contacted her cousin and childhood best friend, Donna Zenor, and asked her to research organizations that “enhance the lives of women through education.” She was interested in leaving a substantial portion of her estate to such an organization. Donna identified the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund. Unfortunately, Alix died suddenly and was unable to leave the funds directly to JRF. Donna initially contacted JRF’s Executive Director, Sue Lawrence on October 17, 2013. From there it was a long and winding road that Donna pursued with persistence and dedication in order to honor the dying wishes of her dear cousin and friend Alix.

Alix lived a non-traditional life. A single child whose mother was the youngest of nine children of immigrant Norwegian parents, Alix was born in Phoenix, Arizona. However, she lived life on the world stage. She worked in a theater in Paris, France, and for a number of years she flew for American Airlines. She later settled in rural New Hampshire with her husband, Bob Kilpatrick. Alix became a master at various yoga disciplines, eventually opening a school after moving to New Zealand in her mid-fifties.

In the words of Donna; Alix was one of the most generous spirits to have ever inhabited this earth and the scholarship fund which the donor is establishing upon her death should be counted as one of the many gifts which are her legacy.

We received this transformative gift this year. We are grateful that Alix cared so deeply about the women we serve. We are grateful that Donna found us. And, we are grateful that Donna persisted through navigating the challenges of getting the funding to JRF.

This gift will transform the lives of JRF Scholars and their families for years and years to come.

Thank you Alix and Donna.


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Annual Dinner Raises Critical Funds for Scholarships - Your Support of JRF says, “YES YOU CAN!”

Annual Dinner Raises Critical Funds for Scholarships - Your Support of JRF says, “YES YOU CAN!”

JRF | Oct 11 2016 |  · · ·  Tags: scholar stories, women higher education, jrf news, supporting jrf, education, women, annual dinner, jeannette rankin

Annual Dinner raises critical funds for scholarships - Your Support of JRF says, “Yes You Can!”

Daily at JRF, we have the privilege of connecting with inspiring women from across the US who refuse to give up and remain dedicated to pursuing higher education. Sometimes on the calls, there are laughs and sometimes there are tears of pain and joy. All of the time, there is financial, academic, and emotional support— none of which could be made available without you— our donors and volunteers.

Through our social media channels, we show you as much as we can about the journeys of the women served and essentially what the foundation values.

But, as seen at our recent Annual Dinner, there is nothing like meeting the women behind the phone calls, blogs, and social media posts in-person to hear them share their own stories and to connect them with generous people like you who have decided that their education matters.

During the dinner, Scholars from Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida and Portland, Oregon were honored for their academic dedication, but more importantly for their willingness to share their journeys with us, inspiring us to be more vigilant, optimistic, and resourceful in all that we do.

One JRF Scholar, Khadijah, joined us in pursuit of her Associate’s Degree after enduring years of abuse and homelessness. She had heard about the scholarship opportunity via word-of-mouth and said she really only applied on a whim because someone said, “Yes you can!” Khadijah shared to some of the attendees at her table that it wasn’t until she could quiet that little voice of doubt that always said, “no”, that she could really hear and listen to the voice that said, “Yes you can!”

It took a village of support and the sisterhood of the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund to convince her that she and her family truly deserved a higher quality of life through higher education. She just completed her first year of law school and because so many decided to pour into her future, she spends time each week mobilizing women within her own community.

Your attendance at the Annual Dinner, your financial support, and your invested time all breathe life into that little voice (one we all need to hear at some point) that says to women, “Yes you can.”

You have probably heard that when you educate a woman, you educate a village, and if one ever had any doubt that this isn’t in fact true, they haven’t met you or the scholars and families that you support.

Thanks to digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter, our Scholars are building bonds and empowering each other, across state lines and amidst differing time zones, extending the value of their shared Jeannette Rankin Foundation experience.

To know where we are heading, we must remember where we have come from and that’s the beauty of the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund. We celebrate Jeannette Rankin’s role as a social justice advocate and realize how her legacy lives on through JRF.

We celebrate our Scholars and our incredibly supportive communities because with each scholarship provided, another woman is provided with resources to empower herself, her family, and her community.

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund’s 40th Anniversary Annual Dinner celebrated these collective investments and accomplishments of women’s education with an eye to providing ever more support for the women who need us.  

As a result of the dinner, $86,680 was raised. Know that your support as donors and volunteers gives so much more than scholarships.

Thank you again to all of our donors, our volunteers, our sponsors, and our board for making this event possible! Special thank you to our proud sponsor, Delta Air Lines! We hope to see your faces again soon at our SMART Party on November 10th at Ponce City Market, General Assembly.

Missed the event? Check out the pictures via our Flickr page.


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