SheShinesOn… Käthe Swabeck

STAT BOX

Program Director

Has been with RAW Art Works since 1994

Grew up in Sacramento, CA

Mother to adopted twins

Q: Please describe your job in one sentence.

A: The Program Director oversees the development, coordination and administration of all aspects of RAW’s 50+ programs including planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and supporting staff in their roles and program activities.

Q: And what previous job or training was best able to prepare you for your work at RAW?

A: Before RAW, I worked as a psychiatric aide and art therapist for an 8-year-old boy with Bi-polar illness for 35 hours a week for an entire year. This was a deep intensive humbling experience where I learned a lot about working with explosive children, creative limit setting and positive reinforcement, the power of art therapy, and how to support families who are giving it their all and who are depleted.

Q: What would the world be like without your organization?

A: I think the world would be ok but 1400 youth each year would be missing a rich, deep experience in creativity, problem solving, and connection to this world.

Q: Finally, what has most surprised you since starting your with with RAW?

A: The good side: How deep engagement with youth in the arts can lead to such positive outcomes in skills, identity, and connection to others.

The hard side: Our society’s lack of resources, lack of skilled workers, and lack of funding for our youth – especially for our youth who have suffered trauma, sexual abuse, and have other forms of PTSD.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Mary Flannery, RAW Art Works

STAT BOX

Founder of RAW Art Works

Started RAW 26 years ago

Grew up in Maryland

Mother of two

Q: To begin, can you tell us a little about your professional experience?

A: I began my career as an Art Therapist working with young male sex offenders in a secure treatment facility. I was always amazed by their courage and trust when revealing deep personal stories with me through their art. From day one I was determined to exhibit their work with their written stories.  I believe everyone should be seen and heard.  Although I did not know this at the time, this would shape the 25-year mission of RAW ART WORKS.

Q: What previous job or training would you say best prepared you for your work at RAW Art Works?

A: I founded the first women’s rugby club at my college. I learned how to vision, take risks  (women tackling each other!), communicate in compelling ways, raise money, win, and CELEBRATE!

Q: What has been the hardest part of your job?

A: Feeling helpless when trying to protect one of our kids. Nothing is worse than knowing there is no magic blankie to protect them from the effects of neglect and abuse at home. So many times I have said to teen girls, you have to work hard, take yourself seriously, get out of your house–go to college—RAW is here to help!

Q: Final question: what did you have to learn in order to be able to do your job?

A: Don’t be scared to LEAD. Good ideas need a leader. Lead from both your head and heart. Take risks but know when to ask for help or apologize. When you get lost take responsibility for bad choices.  Lead collectively—shared vision is exciting, ever changing, and makes deep impact.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

 SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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End Hunger in America

One in six people in the United States don’t know where their next meal will come from. More than 49 million people in the country are considered hungry. Hunger is now considered an epidemic.

There are over 40,000 organizations working toward hunger relief but most of them send processed foods to food banks and food pantries. As a result, people aren’t receiving healthy and fresh foods they need. The United States produces 430 billion pounds of food annually, which is more than enough to feed the population but we throw away more than 40% of it.

Food distribution is the key issue at play here. Before food is thrown away, it needs to be rescued so it can get to the people who really need it. This would solve financial, environmental and health costs of wasting food.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls works to facilitate the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be thrown away to community organizations that will put it to good use by serving the hungry population. Ashley Stanley of Lovin’ Spoonfuls notes, “hunger…requires connecting existing resources to people that need it.”

lovin

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WhoIsShe? SHEGIVES Member Sydney Atkins Mason

STAT BOX

Has ridden the Tour de France route as well as competed in triathlons

Was a competitive big mountain skier and a collegiate lacrosse player

Married

Enjoys active pursuits as well as travel, oil painting, and interesting food and wine

Philanthropic interests include youth, education, entrepreneurship, and empowering women and girls

Investment Advisor for global investment banking firm

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING, PHILANTHROPIC ACTIVITIES YOU ARE INVOLVED IN?

A: I am a new board member at both UAspire and BUILD, two Boston-based organizations that are doing fantastic things for our youth population. UAspire is making a college education accessible and affordable for underprovided kids by utilizing untapped, existing financial aid money and channeling it through masterful programming and tutelage in the public schools. BUILD, a “college success program,” utilizes entrepreneurship to engage and empower youth. I have had the privilege of being a part of the journey as these kids enter the program as raw, misguided freshman and transform into confident, capable entrepreneurs, ready to tackle the difficult challenges of business and their promising lives ahead. UAspire and BUILD are two truly extraordinary organizations that are changing the lives of so many young leaders!

Q: AGREED! WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE OFTEN FIND SURPRISING, OR SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW, ABOUT SERVING ON A BOARD?

A: I believe we (especially women) underestimate the magnitude of what we have to give and just how important our contributions can be to an organization. As a board member (and perspective board member) we have many currencies that can be transformative. While money, professional experience, network, and fundraising are more obvious, there are other factors involved. We also have things like fresh perspectives, objective opinions, diverse experiences, and an ability to listen, identify problems, find solutions, support, and innovate. We can help build teams, lead people, and generate buy-in. I hope more women will remember this as they consider taking on new board positions and as they reflect on their ability to add value in existing board roles; often we are surprised just how much our varied contributions impact organizations the most!

Q: YOU HAVE SUCH A FULL LIFE OF ACTIVE, CREATIVE, AND PHILANTHROPIC PURSUITS. TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES!

A: Nothing makes me happier than to spend time on the ocean sailing or up in the mountains skiing on a powder day. No matter how much I have going on in my life, time seems to slow down on the water and up in the mountains! Spending time with family and friends and playing outdoors is how I recharge and relax.

Q: THAT DESCRIPTION MAKES ME WANT TO HEAD OUTSIDE RIGHT AWAY! LAST QUESTION: WHO BROUGHT YOU INTO SHEGIVES? WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HER?

A: Val Friedman introduced me to SheGives. Val is one of the most incredible women I know! She is a natural connector and loves bring people together. Val’s zest for life is contagious, and she always has a multitude of interesting things going on in her life, which she balances seamlessly. It is not uncommon to have Val introduce two people and say, “You two should get to know each other,” followed by a thoughtful and flattering synopsis of their common interests. Val has a huge heart and is a wonderful role model for all of us!

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Engineering is Elementary awards scholarships to Massachusetts after school programs

The Boston Museum of Science’s Engineering is Elementary has selected 30 after school programs from across Massachusetts to receive scholarships. These scholarships will provide educational materials from the Engineering Adventures curriculum. These scholarships have been made possible by funding from SheGives members and will provide after school programs with educator guides and and materials kits for the seven Engineering Adventures units. Educator guides provide teachers with instructions for setting up and leading each unit, along with worksheets and engineering journals for students to keep track of their work. Materials kits differ for each unit, providing items necessary for each lesson, such as recyclable materials for the “recycled racers” unit, in which students learn to construct race cars from recyclable materials. 

After school programs receiving the scholarships include: YMCA of Greater Boston, South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Red Oak Boys & Girls Club of Boston, and JFK Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, as well as schools and after school programs ranging from Cape Cod to Springfield. A second round of scholarship funding for Massachusetts schools and after school programs interested in implementing Engineering Adventures will begin accepting applications on October 6.

Engineering Adventures, developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, targets elementary school- aged children with the goal of promoting STEM education in a flexible, hands-on, fun environment. The program uses the cartoon, brother and sister team of India and Jacob as the travel the world, leading students in solving real-world problems though engineering. To learn more, visit Engineering Adventures online or sign up for the newsletter

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Celine Coggins, Teach Plus

STAT BOX

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Started Teach Plus as a pilot in Boston in December 2007 and launched as a national organization in 2009

Serial marathoner

Formerly a teacher in Worcester

Received her PhD from Stanford University

Q: What would the world be like without Teach Plus?

Teaching is typically work where excellence with students—far from being celebrated—is ignored. Great teachers, who want to know that their efforts are changing the world, tend to leave urban classrooms within their first few years. We’re changing that—offering the best teachers in urban systems opportunities to grow and lead from the classroom. As a result, they are extending their commitment to teaching, getting to work with top-performing peers, and building a culture that values success.

Q: What kind of training has best prepared you to launch and run Teach Plus?

I think doing marathons has been the best preparation for leading an organization that is trying to change the world. Both take endurance, optimism and clear goals.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to do be a leader?

I’m a nerd at heart with an overriding passion for changing the teaching profession to better serve kids. I’ve had to learn—and keep learning every day—that our success depends on me being more extroverted and less humble than my natural comfort zone would allow.

Q: That sounds like a lot of work! How do you manage to take time for yourself?

I recently went to Nantucket for a few days to celebrate the last weekend of my thirties. I guess it wouldn’t count as a major vacation in terms of length or distance from home, but it was a perfect moment in time that represented the capstone on an amazing decade of my life.

Q: That sounds amazing! How else do you make sure to unwind?

Sunday is kids cooking night in our house. I few days ago, my elementary-school-aged girls led the process of making filet mignon with roasted potatoes and cucumber, tomato, and mango salad in a lime vinaigrette. To borrow a phrase from Master Chef, it was “restaurant quality”!

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Teach Plus Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellowship Cohort

27 public school teachers from around the state just recently joined the cohort of Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellows for 2014-2015. These teachers will spend sixteen months interacting with education leaders, taking a course in education policy and advocating for policies to serve students and retain good teachers.

Sixteen of the teachers teach in the Boston Public Schools while six of them teach in other urban districts and five teach in charter schools throughout the state. These teachers were chosen to be part of the cohort due to the great work they do and their commitment to urban education.

The fellowship program is for teachers in the second stage of their careers who want to have a voice in the decisions that affect their profession. The program was launched by Teach Plus in 2009. The previous Massachusetts Fellows designed and launched a teacher-led professional development program and helped to shape how Boston Public Schools measure the quality of schools and their accomplishments.

The mission of Teach Plus is “to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers.”

Meet the Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellows 2014-2015 Cohort here

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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WhoIsShe? SHEGIVES Member Elizabeth De Montigny

STAT BOX

Grew up in St. Louis, MO – mom was a nun and dad was a priest (no scandal – they both left and THEN met!)

Has run three marathons (Boston, Paris, and Chicago)

Married with two kids

Enjoys spending time with her family, travel, reading fiction

Favorite places: In the world: Istanbul, Bangkok; Locally: Woodstock, VT and the South End

Vice president at a global investment banking firm

Q: TO START US OFF, COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT ON THE BOARD OF CRITTENTON WOMEN’S UNION?

A: Yes, of course. I am on the board of Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU), a non-profit that – at its core – is trying to pull women out of poverty. Not just with a Band-Aid of temporary housing or a six-week literacy program, but with comprehensive, long-term, multi-faceted programs aimed at teaching women self-sufficiency. I am very proud to be associated with CWU’s work on this big, hairy, complicated problem of “poverty” that means so much more than just one word. It means raising children without a support network; it means trying to find work without much by way of resources and education; it means being poor and trying to understand the logic of spending money on school rather than taking the only job you can find (even though the wage is so low, you’d still be considered “poor”).

Q: PLEASE GO ON.

A: I find being a working mom of two kids to be a challenge…and I have a graduate degree, a (more than) self-sustaining wage, a supportive husband, and a network of friends and family to lean on for advice. Most of the women and families that CWU serves have none of those things. So I’m here to spread the word about the great work that CWU is doing in this space and would love to introduce the organization to any interested She Gives members. (Shameless plug!)

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES, BESIDES YOUR PHILANTHROPIC ACTIVITIES?

A: My favorite things to do are spend time with my family (two little kids and husband) because it is so easy for other parts of life to take over, so I cherish the free evenings or completely free weekends when it’s just us. Outside of that, I love traveling both near (for a weekend, places we haven’t been in the area) and far (recent trips have been to Turkey, Croatia, Morocco, Mozambique…hoping to go to Portugal this year). I also am an avid fiction reader; I read books on my iPhone in taxis, standing in line when getting my coffee, while feeding the baby, and before bed at night. I read two to three books a month…ranging from book-snob-worthy to chick-lit.

Q: FINALLY, WHO BROUGHT YOU INTO SHEGIVES? WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HER?

A: Elizabeth De Saint-Aignan introduced me to SheGives, and what I like best about her is her name. I’m kidding…I like many, many things about Elizabeth. She’s a great friend and someone I try to emulate in many situations both personal and professional. She gives really candid, honest advice, and she is funny. But the thing I like best about her is her instant openness and her willingness to just be herself and “tell it how it is.”
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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Engineering is Elementary Expands West

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum is being implemented in schools in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and California this fall. Programming began with the start of the Fall 2014 school year and aims to integrate engineering into the science and mathematics curriculum at the select schools. 

Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools will introduce the curriculum in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms. Students will learn the fundamentals of engineering as well as what engineers really do. Complexity of the lessons will grow with each grade level. For example: kindergarteners will learn about engineering through popular fables such as “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.” In this example, the children will learn to understand why the brick house stayed standing while the straw and wood houses did not. The goal of WRPS is to spark an interest in engineering early in the students academic careers, inspiring them to stay active and interested in STEM fields. Further expansion of the program in Wisconsin Rapids schools will be considered based on the success of the 2014-2015 school year. 

California has recently adopted Next Generation Science Standards to emphasize the connections between science and engineering. These standards state that students should be able to “analyze data obtained from testing materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose” and “analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.” Engineering is Elementary will help California teachers to meet the new standards by integrating science, math, and engineering.

Follow the links to learn more about the programs being implemented in Wisconsin Rapids and California.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Connie Chow, Science Club for Girls

STAT BOX

Executive Director of SCFG for 8 years

Her mission is to galvanize individuals and institutions to support girls' equitable engagement in STEM

Claims to be not responsible enough to have children

Grew up in Hong Kong

What did you do before taking the helm at Science Club for Girls?

I was a tenure-track professor in biology at Simmons College. I’m trained as a molecular microbiologist, and always had an interest in education, in creating the a-ha moment – where beauty and certainty intersect. 

Being a faculty member is actually great preparation for being an executive director. You coach, create, read, research, experiment, represent, tell stories, write. Independent most of the time. Lots of multi-tasking and translating. 

Every step along my winding and varied career path has prepared me for the next step. Having started with a background in science, I am better able to make the connection between STEM professionals and the importance of our mission.

Sounds like you were able to hit the ground running! Did you have to learn anything in particular to do your job?

Accounting — somehow adding and subtracting seem much harder than calculus.

What has been the hardest part of running SCFG?

Effectively and creatively harnessing the amazing variety of experiences and people who want to contribute to our cause. Volunteer talent management CAN be a full time job! 

And has anything surprised you about your work?

Im surprised by how aware young women, especially young women of color, of the negative stereotypes and barriers society places upon them, and how eager they are to transcend those and prove that they are ambitious, hard-working, giving and joyful if allowed.

Okay, last question. What would the world be like without SCFG?

Homogenous and joyless! (Only partially joking). Without SCF We’d see yet another generation of women who would grow up and say, “I wish I had this when I was growing up. Then my life choices would be different”.

Dr. Chow will be stepping down from her position as Executive Director of SCFG as of December 12 of this year. More information regarding the search for a new Executive Director can be found here.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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