Board to Board, Part 2-Summer 2017


Donna Mertens, President, AAUW CA,

Our state leadership has been re-energized by a new mission that was crafted at our recent Board of Directors’ retreat. We realized that the prior mission statement was not capturing what we really do, which is to support the branches. So now it reads:

AAUW California facilitates California branches in meeting the vision and mission of AAUW by providing programs, education, and resources.

The new mission will guide the Board and state committees in our planning, much of which took place at the great July Leadership Day in Sacramento. The committee members spent a rewarding and busy day setting goals to help achieve our important purpose.   We  are still looking for a few more people to serve on state committees. This is a chance for leaders who have served for many years in their  branches to try a new level of leadership. If you are interested in Membership, Programs, Leadership Development or Nominations and Elections, you will find it rewarding to contribute and we could sure use you. Please fill out the vita form and send it in.

The Tech Trek management transition is still being worked out. We had a fruitful meeting last week and hope to have everything worked out before the next B2B. Several members of the state board met with Kim Churches, the new AAUW CEO, last week to work on the final draft of the agreement for the transfer. AND don’t forget that in April 2018, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Tech Trek at the state convention in Irvine. There will also be a Tech Trek camper reunion. So mark your calendars.

I am so proud of all that our branches do. If any branches need some support or guidance, don’t forget that your state board is here to help. Please contact Ainsley Nies, Director, Branch Support, if there is anything we can do. Enjoy your summer.


Partnering vs collaboraing – Terminology is Important

Donna Mertens, President, AAUW CA,

I recently had to notify my branch that we are not allowed to develop “partnerships” with other agencies. I discovered that we are not the only branch that is using this terminolgy. Please make sure that you use the correct terminology when referring to “collaborating with community organizations” or other entities. Let me know if you have any questions.

Here is an excerpt from the National policy manual:

“Although it is common for nonprofit organizations to be described as “partnering” with other organizations, there are certain legal ramifications that may adversely affect the affiliate because of their use of the term “partnering.” Any use of the term “partner,” or variations of the term, whether as a verb, a noun, or an adjective, imply that a “general partnership” has been created. The law provides that general partnerships can be created orally, casually, and without the parties involved realizing the implication of their actions. Even without authorization, that means every general partner can bind the partnership with respect to third parties, and every partner is liable for all of the debts, actions, and liabilities of the partnership. Accordingly, absent unusual circumstances, AAUW will not allow its affiliates to be described as partnering, being a partner, or being in a partnership or partnering relationship, and no AAUW affiliate shall have the right, power, or authority to create a partnership involving AAUW (that is, using the national organization’s name). Indeed, in many cases it will be appropriate for the affiliate to expressly record that all parties recognize that no partnership exists.”


            Sue Cochran, Governance Chair,


As noted in earlier articles to branch leaders and branch members, AAUW California has a critical governance issue that must be addressed through an every member vote.

It is important that every member of AAUW CA cast a vote in favor of changing the non-profit status from Mutual Benefit to Public Benefit.

On September 10, 2017 the polls will open for AAUW California members to vote on a change to AAUW California’s  status from a Mutual Benefit to a Public Benefit entity.  The vote will be taken online through SurveyMonkey and all members with e-mail will receive an electronic notice of the vote and voting directions.  Those members for whom we do not have an e-mail address will receive a postcard, prior to the opening of the polls, with instructions on how to vote by phone or online. Members will have until October 1, 2017 to cast their votes electronically or by phone.

A sample ballot and more detailed information is available on the AAUW CA website and in the Fall Administrative Packet that will be mailed to each branch in September.  Please share this information with your branch membership.

QUESTIONS?  Any questions should be directed to  The period for questions/discussion will be open until midnight September 9th, prior to the commencement of voting of September 10th.


Sue Cochran, Governance Chair,

Every branch should now have on file with AAUW National their updated bylaws that reflect the mandated updates from AAUW National. If your branch does not have these bylaws on file with National you will be receiving a “non-compliance letter” from AAUW National with notice of a required deadline by which your branch must be in compliance. Branches that are not in compliance by that deadline, per the national policy, risk having their affiliation revoked, which means the branch will no longer be recognized as an affiliate/AAUW entity. This means the branch will no longer be eligible to participate in AAUW programs at all levels and have no insurance coverage or recognition as an AAUW entity.

The AAUW California Governance Committee has received a list of those branches that do not have bylaws on file as of August 1, 2017. Governance Committee members will be reaching out to those branches in the coming weeks to assist you in rectifying the issue of non-compliance. If you are contacted and you have submitted updated bylaws to AAUW National please provide the committee representative with the date on which they were submitted to AAUW National as well as the way in which they were submitted: a direct e-mail to or through the National website MSD portal.

For reference your branch contact for the coming year with the AAUW CA Governance Committee is by district designation. Ruth Ann Hines ( and Jean Simutus ( are the members on the AAUW CA Governance Committee who are your “go to” resource people.

Ruth Ann will be working with branches in

Districts 1, 2, 3A, 3B,. & 4A. 

Jean will be working with branches in

Districts 4B, 5A, 5B, 6, & 7.

1     Northern 4B  South San Joaquin
2    East Bay 5A  North Central Coast
3A  North Coast   5B  South Central Coast
3B  Golden Gate 6    Los Angeles
4A  North San Joaquin 7    Southeast
  8    Southern

If you are uncertain which District your branch lies in please contact and we will provide that information. The AAUW CA Governance Committee is here to assist you with any governance issues or questions. Please feel free to contact us.


Shelley Mitchell, SPF President,

The AAUW California SPF Board of Directors is recruiting new board members for terms starting in January 2018. AAUW California SPF is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit public benefit corporation that was created by AAUW California to receive and distribute contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and AAUW California for programs and projects that further education and equity for all women and girls in the communities served by AAUW California branches. The SPF Board is independent of the AAUW California Board Of Directors since the AAUW California SPF stands as a separate corporation.

Any member of AAUW California may be appointed as a director of SPF with the exceptions of members of the national AAUW Board of Directors or the director or treasurer of a project being served by the AAUW CA SPF. We are looking for people who have experience managing funds for nonprofit organizations, managing investments and/or organizational communication.

Click HERE for the SPF Application form. If you have questions or need more information, you may contact SPF at


            Sharon Westafer, Director, Chair, AAUW Fund Committee

The AAUW Fund luncheons: Save the dates!! Each year AAUW California is especially delighted to formally present our Fellowship and Grant recipients at the Fall Fund Luncheons. Thanks to the longstanding, generous contributions of AAUW California members, a broader community of women continues gaining access to educational and economic opportunities, breaking through educational and economic barriers so that all women and girls have a fair chance.

  • Sunday, October 15th at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach
  • Saturday October 28th at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco (We heard the requests from members on the south side of “The Bridge” and are happy to oblige. We hope the South San Francisco luncheon will draw attendees from the Santa Cruz-Monterey area, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and branches in the South San Francisco area.)
  • Sunday, October 29th at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville. 

Donations: When deciding where to donate your money to AAUW, please consider the unfinished California endowments. These endowments are completed at either $75,000 (Research and Projects grants) or $200,000 (American and International Fellowships).  The initiator of the endowment must complete it in either 10 years (R&P) or 15 years (American or International). If the endowment is not completed in that time, the interest is still used; however the endowment is not named so whomever the endowment was supposed to honor is not named on the endowment. You can imagine how difficult it can sometimes be for a branch to finish an endowment. That’s why we encourage other members and branches to help them. Unfinished endowment names and numbers, along with the amounts required to complete them, can be found on the AAUW website by clicking (HERE). Your help will be greatly appreciated.


            Patricia (Pat) Ferrer, Director, AAUW California Chief Financial Officer,

Thank you to all outgoing or incoming Branch Treasurers/Financial Officers who  completed the year end tasks listed below.  If not yet complete, please do so soon.

Annual Financial Report to AAUW California:  Input is ONLY online by clicking HERE. All that is needed is the total income and total expenses.  The purpose of that report is to help us identify branches that may be experiencing financial distress and need help. The website was updated to allow you to print your input.  If you made a mistake, just re-enter the data.

Federal and State Income Tax Filing:  Although this isn’t due to the IRS until 11/15/2017, if your branch income is $50,000 or less, you can file it now.  Either opt in with National (if your branch or IBC is NOT a 501(c)3) or just complete the postcard form.  To reduce fraudulent submissions, you will need to create an account with the IRS—this is new, so old branch logins will NOT work—just follow the instructions.  While you can opt-in for National to file your Federal income tax return, it CANNOT, nor can AAUW California, file your State of California Franchise Tax Board submission Form 990 or 990 N for you.  If your branch has income less than $50,000, you can complete this postcard form online too.  If your branch has greater than $50,000 income, a 990 EZ or 990 must be filed with the IRS and a 199 EZ or 199 must also be filed with the California Franchise Tax Board.  Links to these forms may be found HERE.

Fundraising:  Raffles and similar fundraisers are considered gambling.  The State of California Attorney General’s Office has strict guidelines and requirements for those types of fundraisers that include mandatory registration, fees (I believe around $30), and reporting.  Please click HERE for information about these types of “gambling” fundraisers:

Need just general fundraising guidance? Please click HERE.

Need more help?  Email me at or call 562 597 4781.


Cathy Foxhoven, Leadership Development Committee Chair,

Are you a new branch leader wondering what programs support AAUW’s mission? Or have you been a leader for decades because no one else is stepping up?  Members of the state leadership team can help branches and IBCs overcome common challenges such as growing and retaining membership, developing branch leaders, implementing AAUW-relevant programs and better understanding the breadth and scope of AAUW’s mission.

The Leader on Loan Program is designed to bring state AAUW leaders to branch and IBC meetings, events and programs. The state leadership team members have a broad spectrum of expertise and can assist branches and IBCs that are working to strengthen their internal organization and AAUW’s presence in their communities. Learn more about “Leader on Loan” or, to request a Leader, click HERE.


            Harriet Tower, AAUW Tech Trek Financial Liaison,

As our last camp runs this week, we are winding up the 2017 Tech Trek camp season. Approximately 900 girls have been served this summer at the 10 camps around California. We are very proud of this great program and another successful year.

Please let your branch members know that donations mailed to Camp Treasurers should continue to be payable to AAUW, with the camp name and the branch written in the memo line, until further notice. We know you are aware of the pending transition of Tech Trek’s finances back to SPF and will let you know when it happens. Your Camp Treasurer is a good contact for information.


            Tina Byrne, Chair, College/University (C/U) Committee,


Each spring the AAUW National office begins the process of renewing College/University (C/U) partner school memberships by sending an invoice by email to the C/U representatives and the institution’s president’s office in late April.  If the institution has not renewed, another invoice is sent in June-July.  Still not renewed?  Then the final invoices are sent in September.  As of July 31, of the 90 partner colleges and universities in California, about 45% have renewed.  Now is a perfect time for branch C/U Chairs/Coordinators to check if your C/U partner school has renewed.  As you make contact with C/U reps, consider setting up a planning meeting for fall semester opportunities.  Our committee continues to monitor the list as institutions renew, so we are able to give you information if you contact us at

The College/University (C/U) committee has new members.  We welcome Jo Wagner from the Stockton branch and Kathy Toister from the Redlands branch as they join Dorothy Burk from Marin, Lesley Danziger from Laguna Beach, and Tina Byrne from Newport-Mesa-Irvine.


            Donna Lilly, Nominations and Election Committee Chair,

I welcome your help to identify leaders who know many AAUW members, enjoy making phone calls and sending email messages. The time commitment on this Committee will be approximately 6 hours per month from August 2017 through April 2018.  Our role on the Committee is to seek candidates to run for office on the AAUW California Board of Directors 2018-2019. Volunteers who want to serve on our state Nominations and Election Committee should fill out a vita form by August 15th.


Jane Niemeier, and Stormy Miller, Program Co-Chairs,

AAUW CA Convention: Time does fly, doesn’t it?  The 2018 AAUW California state convention will be held April 27-29, 2018, and your state team is already planning a wonderful experience at the Irvine Marriott.  It’s time to submit a proposal for a workshop or panel that you or your branch would like to present.  Proposed presentations must focus on the mission of AAUW or share successful ways we can mobilize our branches and members to achieve it. Submit your application online by October 15, 2017.

Program of the Quarter:  Does your branch have an outstanding mission-based program that’s had a positive impact on your community and branch?  Did you know that through our Program of the Quarter, AAUW California honors one or more programs in September, December, and March – and recognizes these programs at the state convention?  Mission based programs are designed to educate and inspire members and the community to implement the AAUW mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

If you have a program that underscores what makes AAUW unique, inspire other branches by sharing your program details with AAUW California. To ensure your outstanding program will be considered for Program of the Quarter, send your branch newsletter to:

Mission-Based Program Guidelines

Here are some things to consider while you are planning your programs for the year.

  1. Does the program support the AAUW mission, i.e. equity for women and girls?
  2. Does the program inform the public about what makes AAUW unique?
  3. Have you considered national and global social issues and AAUW’s position regarding them before setting your program?
  4. Are you using issues in your community to focus attention on AAUW’s position on a topic?
  5. Does the program welcome and educate the surrounding community members and other organizations?
  6. In planning the program, have you considered the target audience other than your members?
  7. Will the program successfully attract new members?
  8. Have you tried to make a connection with local colleges and universities?
  9. Does the program build connections with diverse audiences?