Questions on changes to LAF

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 13:19:07 -0400To: Jill R. Birdwhistell
From: Nancy Shoemaker <>
Subject: Remaining LAF questions

Jill –

I think you’re the right person to receive these remaining questions about LAF from AAUW NC. If not, please forward.

I’ve read all the information sent to the state presidents at least twice –
o April 4 Q&A
o April 9 LAF Express
o April 24 Updated talking points

I understand the new focus moves from “sex discrimination in higher education” to the broader “sex discrimination in the workplace.” I agree that the shift from plaintiff support to support for “world changing” cases makes sense and may allow us to increase our impact. I also agree that, for instance, the 4/4 Q&A discussion of “why we still need donations to LAF” needs to be reframed, but I think that can be done by concentrating on what’s being accomplished rather than highlighting that it will be staff who will accomplish it.

Questions whose answers might help bring members support:

1. What, specifically, will be funded under the new model? [It’s somewhat easy to see that there are costs involved in mobilizing the members to support the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but if her case had still been in the courts, what expenses would we have to demonstrate/publicize our support for the case? ]

2. What is AAUW’s added-value in the coalition of groups that form around a particular case? What expertise do we need to bring to the table? our research? will we have any legal staff (or contractors) preparing briefs? is this support an expense in #1?

3. It may have been a minor part of the LAF program, but under the plaintiff-support model, there was always the possibility that members would be asked to sit in court rooms to demonstrate the organization’s support. Would this be part of the new model, or is there any way for the “average member” to expect to support these cases other than through donations?

4. How will the advisory board that determines that a case is of national significance be selected? [I heard staff and ??? — making recommendations to the board. Certainly one would expect that outsiders would be needed — but are there a few folks from our current membership to be involved? as on the model of the EF review panels? Will there be an open call for volunteers for the panels? I’d suggest that transparency in selection of cases — though it may be less of an issue than when selecting plaintiffs under the old model — can be an excellent complement to transparency in financial reporting.]

5. Are there other ways that members will participate in the new model?

The AAUW NC Summer newsletter will go to press at the end of May — I’m hoping to have a few crisp paragraphs to explain this change to the members. I’ve probably got the information I need, but will look for other information that engages the “community” part of the value promise (as well as the “breaking barriers” piece).

Thanks so much for all you’re doing to advance equity!


2 thoughts on “Questions on changes to LAF

  1. Jill replied almost immediately and is promising a reply to the “thoughtful questions” sometime soon. The AAUW NC deadline isn’t until the end of May, so there’s no particular time pressure here.

  2. Jill sent a long reply on 5/2 and said she’s looking at a way to engage more members in a discussion of these topics — so I won’t post her reply here (yet).

    She mentioned the “discussion board” — I suggested DiaLog or Facebook rather than … We’ll see.

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