Friday, April 16, 2010

Idaho Women's Network Closes Doors

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 2:41 PM

The Idaho Women’s Network is shuttering its doors after 22 years, a victim of deprioritization of Idaho by politically progressive national donors, IWN public policy director Taryn Magrini tells citydesk.

Today is Magrini’s last day on the job, after the group lost grants from two large foundations in recent months.

“Quite frankly, I think we’re seen as a lost cause to national funders,” Magrini said.

IWN has lobbied on behalf of women, families, gay and lesbian rights and other progressive causes. This past legislative session was frustrating, Magrini said, with IWN taking defensive stances on many bills and failing to get hearing on others, like the Idaho Human Rights Act.

“Legislatively it wasn’t the greatest session for IWN,” she said.

IWN Executive Director Donna Wade sent an e-mail to supporters today announcing the closure.

“I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made our work possible, especially to our founding mothers who passed a hat all those years ago and started an advocacy organization that has been serving Idaho for two decades,” Wade wrote.

The IWN Board of Directors is considering keeping the IWN brand alive as a volunteer organization, Wade said.

Gail Heylmun, executive director at the Fund for Idaho, a local foundation that has supported IWN, confirmed that progressive foundations have pulled money from Idaho as it solidified as a red state over the last decade and especially as the recession took a bite out of their funding capacity.

At the same time, conservative foundations appear to be pouring money into the state.

UPDATE: Heylmun just sent over a long list of IWN victories over the years. Click the jump to view her list.

Idaho Women's Network history (via Fund for Idaho):

· won maternity benefits in health insurance coverage for small business employees
· led successful efforts to have women appointed as state appellate court judges
· improved the legal definition of "child support" to include medical care & health insurance
· improved judicial guidelines to presume that joint custody is not in a child's best interest where there is a history of domestic violence
· helped prevent weakening of child abuse reporting regulations
· helped pass legislation to improve child day care ratios for infants
· trained more than 50 women to run for local and state elected offices
· led successful effort to pass legislation to strengthen child support enforcement in Idaho
· co-sponsored and organized Walk-A-Mile project in 1997 & 1998, providing 36 legislators a firsthand experience with low-income families on public assistance
· Helped preserve $146,000 in federal family planning funds for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.
· Secured $1.5 million per year for treatment of breast and cervical cancer for women without health insurance, allowing over 300 women to receive potentially life saving treatment since 2001.
· Helped build statewide support for insurance coverage of prescription birth control.
· Trained more than 300 women and men to run for local and state elected offices.
· Conducted dismantling racism trainings and human rights trainings for organizational leaders as part of an ongoing commitment to human rights.
· Helped defeat anti-gay measures in 1994 and 1996; we are currently a lead organization in the coalition to fight the 2006 anti-marriage amendment
· Led successful efforts to include family planning services through Medicaid to low-income families
· Improved the legal definition of "child support" to include medical care & health insurance
· Improved judicial guidelines to recognize that joint custody does not suit children in families with a history of domestic violence
· Led successful effort for “Every Woman Matters” bill that ensured that low-income women receive treatment for breast cancer
· Helped prevent weakening of child abuse reporting regulations
· Helped pass legislation to improve child day care ratios for infants
· Trained more than 50 women to run for local and state elected offices
· Led successful effort to pass legislation to strengthen child support enforcement in Idaho
· Led efforts to defeat a proposal creating the felony offense of being pregnant and ingesting a controlled substance by encouraging policy makers to first consider increasing access to community based, affordable substance abuse treatment.
· Secured maternity benefits in health insurance coverage for small business employees
· Defeated anti-abortion organizing
· Helped build statewide support for insurance coverage of prescription birth control
· Helped defeat statewide anti-gay organizing
· Improved definition of child support to include medical care & health insurance
· Improved judicial guidelines to recognize that joint custody does not suit children in families with a history of domestic violence
· Helped improve child day care ratios for infants; helped to pass in-home daycare licensing bill
· Led successful efforts to have women appointed as state appellate court judges
· Co-sponsored and organized Walk-A-Mile projects, providing 36 legislators first hand experiences with the challenges of living on public assistance
· Worked as a member of coalition guaranteeing majority of Idaho farm workers’ inclusion under state minimum wage law
· Ensured treatment availability for women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer under the Women’s Health Check program, over 30 women have accessed treatment services since July 2001
· Conducted dismantling racism trainings for organizational leaders as part of an ongoing program and commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization
· Received a $100,000 organizational strengthening award from Jessie Smith Noyes
· Concluded statewide pharmacy surveys to determine who offers emergency contraception
· Helped stop legislation that would make it a criminal offense to “coerce” a woman to have an abortion
· Continued to work in coalition to increase understanding of the benefits of early childhood education for Idaho’s children
· Published bi-weekly legislative reports throughout the legislative session as well as a final legislative report
· Hosted a legislative roundtable for nine legislators
· Held our educational Annual Conference with over 50 participants and attendance of both national and local issue experts
· Worked in coalition to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act— In January of 2008, this bill was printed!
· Ran our first matching funds campaign that raised $20,000 for IWN; our 2nd campaign raised $19,000!
· Held a successful 7th annual Bread and Roses gala event that brought out 100 people and raised over $8,000
· Worked in Coalition to defeat major anti-GLBT measures in 1994 and 1996
· Led successful efforts to include family planning services for men and women in Idaho’s Medicaid Reform proposal
· Supported efforts to study human trafficking in Idaho, and to pass legislation providing for restitution for victims, and penalties for violators of human trafficking
· Improved laws and policies regarding domestic violence including child custody regulations and definitions of sexual assault and battery
· Supported “Every Woman Matters” bill that ensures that low-income women receive treatment for breast and cervical cancer
· Fought to protect access to abortion and other reproductive rights for the last 21 years- including parental consent, biased counseling, fetal rights, and Medicaid funding
· Worked to improve child care ratios for infants, and continue to work to improve child care facilities standards
· Led the coalition efforts to stop the criminalization of pregnant women who are addicted to controlled substances
· Worked with universities and colleges throughout the state fostering leadership development of young women
· Passed “Equal Pay Day” resolution recognizing the importance of pay equity for women and noting April 28th as ‘Equal Pay Day’; Resolution passed unanimously through the legislature
· Conducted statewide trainings on Reproductive justice framing and Community Organizing 101

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