Corrections or additions?
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
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