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This article was prepared for the February 6, 2002 edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

In the years before two-income families, women dominated

the volunteer field. Even now, as the Bush administration calls for

volunteerism, women make up the bulk of volunteers. For this Women

in Business issue, we honor women who — as paid or unpaid workers

in social service agencies and other nonprofits — are taking the


Nearly 300 of these women gathered on Monday, January 28, at Princeton

University’s Frist Student Center to network, hear an inspiring

keynote speech by Deborah Brittain, president of the Association of


Leagues International, and participate in some of the 30 workshops.

For example, Stephanie Bray of Thomas Edison State College taught

"How to Ask for Money in Tough Times," and Claire Sheff Kohn,

superintendent of Princeton Regional Schools, led "Strategic


for Boards and Organizations."

Entitled "Community Works," this endeavor was founded five

years ago by Marge Smith, former executive director of the Princeton

YWCA, and a committee of women who comprise Princeton’s nonprofit


Yet the attendees come from all over. A drill team from Newark, for

instance, made an important connection with a Rutgers scholar that

night. "It’s been fabulous," says Smith, "how all the

different people in the community were networking. Learning skills

was only the first part."


One of the area’s best-known non-profit leaders, Jane

Kurtz Rodney, died on January 30 at the age of 61. As director of

the Princeton YWCA’s Breast Cancer Resource Center, and chair of New

Jersey’s Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure, Rodney was

one of the most visible advocates for breast cancer awareness in the

nation. She led the center’s corps of more than 300 volunteers on

a non-stop campaign that reached hospitals, community centers,


and schools throughout the state.

Because of her upbeat sturdiness and vibrant smile, it was hard to

imagine Rodney any way but healthy. When asked how she persevered

in the face of a deadly disease, Rodney responded with Zen-like humor.

"I was terminal the day I was born," she said. "I decided

not to focus on when I am going to die, but how well I am going to

live." "Hotline of Hope," May 5, 1999


Sad news travels fast and far. Reporter Melinda Sherwood, who had

interviewed Jane Rodney for a U.S. 1 cover story on the Princeton

YWCA’s Breast Cancer Resource Center, is now living in Korea, and

she E-mailed this epitaph: "Jane Rodney accomplished more in the

years after she was diagnosed with cancer than most of us accomplish

in a lifetime."

The next generation of non-profit entrepreneurs is represented by

Roxanne Black. Thirteen years ago, she was starting a non-profit


from her Rutgers dorm room. Her agency, the Friends Health Connection,

can help someone get through a serious bout with illness. It matches

individuals suffering from a disease with someone who has been through

a similar experience. Black now has seven employees, a $500,000 annual

budget, partnerships with 43 New Jersey hospitals, and — most

important — a clean bill of health. See Kathleen McGinn Spring’s

profile (

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