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Alumnae Initiatives

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The Smith College Center for Community Collaboration (CCC) works with communities around our campus and around the world in partnerships for shared learning and growth.

The CCC works with a number of alumnae, including:

Smithies like these are making remarkable contributions toward change in policy and practice in the areas of education, government, politics, community health, community organizing and social justice. The CCC directors encourage alumnae to contact the center to discuss their ideas and interests.

Unless otherwise specified, descriptions are based on those found at Smith College's Notable Alumnae Web page.

Joan Griggs Babbott '48

Joan Griggs Babbott, a physician and public health administrator, won the Smith College Medal in 1994. The Rally Day program from that year describes her as "an innovator who helps connect people to health care and education in their communities," referring to her "tireless work to expand and improve health care for women and children." As the director of Child Health Services for the state of Vermont, Babbott "set up new programs to involve college students in fieldwork and to provide early detection for children with communication problems." She "started a family planning program and a mobile pediatric unit for rural areas." Babbott also helped found Planned Parenthood of Vermont and served as the medical director there and as the executive director of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut for five years. As the director of Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles, she was "again known for inspiring and nourishing innovative programs. Under [her] leadership, clinics have been opened in needy areas, old clinics have been renovated and a mobile one has been added. [She] initiated the development of a 10-year strategic plan that aims to expand services threefold, and meanwhile helped to create new outreach, education and support groups for diverse populations."

Source: 1994 Rally Day program

Irene (Cebula) Baird '45

Believing in the transformative power of literature and committed to the education and wellbeing of all women, Irene Baird has revolutionized the way female prisoners are treated in Pennsylvania correctional facilities and has gained widespread recognition for creating innovative models for helping prisoners. Baird's program consists of reading and writing groups that challenge inmates' use of violence and their addictions and encourage them to change. By publishing several collections of inmates' essays and incorporating others into a play that was performed in community theaters, Baird has focused public attention on this often ignored population. As affiliate assistant professor of education at Penn State University, Baird continues to publish scholarly papers and to present at professional conferences.

Source: www.smith.edu/newsoffice/releases/RallyDay07.html

Julia Bolz '83

Julia Bolz has dedicated her life's work to making the world a better place for women. In 2001, she left her successful career as a partner and practicing immigration attorney in one of Seattle's most respected law firms for a commitment to advocacy and grassroots action on behalf of women and the disenfranchised in some of the earth's most inhospitable locations. Bolz currently works to provide aid and build new business, education and healthcare structures in Afghanistan, focusing on the welfare of girls and women in the war-torn country. She returns to Seattle regularly to guide and assist high school children in serving their community. In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, Bolz was recently awarded Seattle's Tom C. Wales Citizenship Award. She also won the Smith College Medal at Rally Day, 2006. Bolz presented at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival in 2007 and more recently won A Fund for Women's Fabulous Firsts Award for "Women Who Led the Way."

Leecia Eve '86

As counsel to Senator Hillary Clinton and highest ranking member of the senator's staff, Leecia Eve helped craft legislation co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton prohibiting racial profiling and worked closely with civil rights groups and the law enforcement community. She entered the race for New York lieutenant governor in 2005. From 1999-2001, Eve worked as an attorney and partner in the firm Hodgson Russ Andrews Woods and Goodyear (Buffalo's largest law firm), the first female African American named partner. She is a member of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, New York State and Erie County Bar Associations, and Women's Bar Association of Western New York, as well as a volunteer at the University at Buffalo Law School, encouraging minority students to remain in the area after graduation. She has also served on the Board of Directors at the Buffalo Philharmonic and Botanical Gardens. Eve currently serves in Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York's administration, as senior vice president of the Empire State Development Corporation.

Elisabeth McLane-Bradley '42

The Smith College Rally Day 2000 program describes Elisabeth McLane-Bradley, a Smith College Medalist, as "an exceptional role model of civic participation," explaining, "[a]s a lifelong volunteer, she has dedicated her remarkable energy, commitment, and community spirit to improving life in New Hampshire and Vermont. Her broad range of activities and interests spans the fields of education, land conservation, housing and mental health." McLane-Bradley chaired the Dresden School Board, which oversaw first interstate school district in U.S., served on board of trustees of University System of New Hampshire, played a crucial part in establishing the first public school A Better Chance program in the United States, and led the establishment of Upper Valley Community Foundation, raising a $20 million endowment by 2000. She has served on the board of the League of Women Voters, the United Way, the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers, the New Hampshire Alliance for Children And Youth, the New England Regional Advisory Council for the Trust for Public Land, and the Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire.

Source: Rally Day 2000 program

Lynden Breed Miller '60

Lynden Breed Miller "believe[s] that city gardens could and should be restored," and was able to improve the quality of life in entire communities through her work as a public garden designer. She has worked with gardens around New York City including the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, Bryant Park, the New York Public Library garden, and the Central Park Zoo. A Smith College Medalist in 1995, the Rally Day program of that year writes, "Because of your own commitment and participation, you were able to involve members of the surrounding communities in your revitalization projects. In part due to this involvement, your finished gardens have been enthusiastically received by their neighbors." According to the Huffington Post, "[t]hat more than any other New Yorker she has largely reversed the ill effects of the city's 1970s era of disinvestment in public places is indisputable." In 2009, Breed Miller published the book Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape.

Anne (Wadsworth) Moody '64

Anne Moody has spent her life working behind the scenes to bring the arts to her community. With her husband, the notable playwright Michael Dorn Moody, she produced theatrical productions in bars, banks and barns throughout Maine. Moody worked in the local school system developing special programs, primarily for kids on the local Indian Reservation. She has accessed dozens of volunteers for the theatre and dance projects, including Robert Savina's Liz Lerman Dance Exchange-the Hallelujah Project (1999). In 2003, she produced a staged reading of her husband's play "The Fool," starring stage and film actor James Gammon at the University of Maine theatre. Moody also produced "The Fool" on a municipal pier with New York and local talent.

Suki (Terada) Ports '56

A community activist since the 1960s, Suki Ports founded the Family Health Project in New York City, which provides information for local and national policymakers, holds workshops for doctors, academics and philanthropists, and conducts outreach to low-income families of color. She is also the co-founder of Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, the National Minority AIDS Council, Voices of Women of Color Against HIV/AIDS, and Iris House, the first comprehensive center for women with HIV/AIDS in New York City. Ports received the Purpose Prize fellowship in 2006, an honor given by Civic Ventures to individuals over 60 who are making innovative strides in the area of social change.

Anne Strong '66

As the executive director of CityKicks, a unique school-based after-school program providing underserved girls in Boston's public middle schools grades 6 thru 8 with their only opportunity to learn and play soccer at virtually no cost to them, Anne Strong raised seed money for the program, which was launched in the public middle schools in 1999 with teams at 6 schools in Roxbury and Dorchester, serving about 80 girls. City Kicks now serves over 130 girls a season with teams at schools in Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale, South Boston and West Roxbury. A former attorney, Strong serves on the Community Service Board of Harvard's Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Shirley Sagawa '83

A prominent leader in nonprofit development, philanthropy and community service, Sagawa has been called the "founding mother of the modern service movement." After drafting the original national service legislation in the late 1980s, she played a vital role in the formation of the Corporation for National and Community Service. There she served as executive vice president and spearheaded the development of AmeriCorps. Previously, she drove the Clinton White House agenda on philanthropy and other issues as deputy assistant to President William Clinton and deputy chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sagawa's leadership continues as a partner in sagawa/jospin, a consulting firm that provides strategic counsel to nonprofit organizations, foundations and corporations. Throughout her career, her vision for national service has inspired collaboration and bipartisan support, most recently through a coalition that resulted in the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which increases AmeriCorps to 250,000 positions. A recipient of several national awards, Sagawa was named one of the 15 "women to watch in the 21st century" by Newsweek and one of the "25 most influential working mothers" by Working Mother magazine. She has written three books, including "The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America" (2010). Sagawa earned a master of science in public policy and public administration from the London School of Economics and a law degree from Harvard Law School. She currently serves on President Barack Obama's Education and Labor Team, and was awarded the Smith College Medal in 2011.

Source: www.smith.edu/events/rallyday_2011.php

Nancy Keebler Bissell '61

Nancy Bissell, class of 1961, is a professional counselor and teacher in the Tuscon area who has spent years working to improve her local community. She spent two years in the Peace Corps in Bolivia after graduating, and has since founded several organizations in Tuscon including St Martin's Center and the Primavera foundation. St Martin's Center is a free kitchen and social service center, and the Primavera foundation provides services for the homeless such as day shelters, an emergency shelter, transitional housing complexes, employment training programs and other important services. In 1987 she was recognized by the National Association of Social Workers as citizen of the year.

Anne Bass, 1970

As a philanthropist actively involved in the Fort Worth, Texas community, Anne Bass aided in the development of the downtown area in numerous projects such as renovating buildings, financing hospitals and museums and contributing to local universities and high schools. The foundation that she started with her husband focuses upon funding human services for children, health care, and medical organizations. She is also involved with many philanthropic organizations including the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Trinity College Board of Visitors at Duke, co-chair of Stanford University's Campaign for Undergraduate Education, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Brite Divinity School.

Penelope Partrige, 1970

Before attending the Smith School of Social work, Penelope Partridge served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria. After graduating in 1970 she has since worked on many projects in her community, focusing in particular on issues surrounding adoption. She is an active advocate for adoption reform and the opening of adoption records, was the first president of the American Adoption Congress, and wrote the book "Daughter of Four: In Search of Perspective on Being Adopted," which views the adoption experience from a wide variety of perspectives. She also speaks out about these important issues, testifying frequently before courts about adoption issues and in legislative hearings, and has addressed schools of social work, child welfare training programs and juvenile court justices.

Mary Cowhey, 1997

Mary Cowhey is first-grade teacher at Jackson Street School in Northampton, and a winner of several educational awards including Milken Family Foundation's National Educator Award. Her book Black Ants and Buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades focuses on how teachers can create a Peace Class and encourage students to make the world a better place. She herself has spent years as a volunteer community organizer, fighting for the rights of people in need. Mary attended the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Africa and organized a book drive for her students and families which shipped over 2,000 books to establish libraries in three rural South African schools. In her own community she currently co-chairs the curriculum and professional development sub-committees of a district-wide committee on diversity, civil rights and multicultural education, and is a co-founder of Familias con Poder/Families With Power, a grass roots organizing effort among low-income families of color.

Joyce Siegel, 1955

Urban reformer and social activist Joyce Seigel worked hard to inspire and enable members of a small, poor minority community to improve the quality of their own health, education, recreation and housing. Joyce organized and trained citizens and volunteers to work within the system, transforming the area into a model low-income community. She has received many awards for her community involvement, including the Montgomery County Human Relations Hall of Fame (2001), Citizenship Award (2002), and Montgomery County Citizen of the Year (1980), and the Smith Medal in 1970. She is President of Interfaith Housing Coalition (1999-2003). With her prior work in housing, she was a consultant for Masters Public Admin U.S.C Affordable Housing in 2003.

Patricia Mott, 1978

The Community REACH program, of which Patricia Mott is the program director, specializes in reproductive health program management, work with HIV/AIDS, and community-based family planning. Previously, she has held positions as senior program officer in Latin America and the Caribbean and Family Planning Service Delivery Specialist in Nairobi.

Luma Mufleh 1997

Luma Mufleh is the founder of the Fugees, a non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war, by creating soccer teams for the children to join and pairing it with educational opportunities and incentives. The program has expanded and gained national recognition, including a front page article in the New York Times in 2007. The program includes an afterschool tutoring program, a middle school, and frequent community events. Mufleh also founded Fresh Start for America, a program providing immigrant and refugee adults work opportunities and professional development. She was the recipient of the Smith Medal in 2010, as well as a number of other awards.

Simran Sethi '92

Simran Sethi is an Emmy award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she currently teaches courses on sustainability and environmental communications and diversity in media. She is currently writing a book on the psychological barriers to environmental engagement for Harper Collins. Simran is the contributing author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, winner of the bronze 2008 Axiom Award for Best Business Ethics Book. She is also the founding host/writer of Sundance Channel's environmental programming The Green and the creator of the Sundance online series The Good Fight, highlighting global environmental justice efforts and grassroots activism. Named one of the top ten eco-heroes of the planet by the UK's Independent and lauded as the "environmental messenger" by Vanity Fair and "environmental woman of impact" by Daily Variety, Simran has contributed numerous segments to Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNBC, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Martha Stewart Show and History Channel. She is committed to a redefinition of environmentalism that includes voices from the prairie, the inner city and the global community.

Source: The University of Kansas

Farah Anwar Pandith '90

As Special Representative to Muslim Communities since 2009, Farah Pandith works directly under the Secretary of State to engage with Muslims around the world, on a people to people and organizational level. Before taking this position, she has spent many years working in policy and foreign relations, in positions such as the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affaris, focusing on Muslim communities in Europe, and the Director of Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council (NSC). She has also been involved with her community through organizations and boards such as the Governor's Asian Advisory Commisson of Massachusetts, The American Cancer Society of Boston's Asian Advisory Committee, and the Steerling Committee of The Silk Road Gala working to stop domestic violence.

Source: Adapted from www.smith.edu/narratives/IdealismAndCompromise.php