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Founding Mother’s Scholarship Fund

If you would like to donate to the scholarship please send your check or money order, made out to MD NOW and designate for scholarship, to:

Maryland NOW
PO Box 7716
Silver Spring, MD 20907

Or make a contribution directly to Maryland NOW via PayPal.

 

About the Fund

In 2006 we lost a Maryland NOW member who clearly left her mark on each of us and our organization. Dolly Yvonne Packard was an extraordinary feminist who graced our NOW world for 40 years. (Read more about Dolly below.)

In 2007, a former Maryland NOW President and Maryland NOW Council Member, Dot Howze, lost a battle with cancer. We also lost a leader in our Frederick Chapter, Sandra West, who over the years had been Maryland NOW Treasurer and PAC Treasurer as well a leader in her own community.

Following our loss of Dolly 2006, Maryland NOW created a scholarship fund for contributions that were made in her honor. In 2009 we expanded this to include all of our “founding mothers” — and thus created the Maryland NOW Founding Mother’s Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund now contains memorial contributions made in honor of all these outstanding women.

What better testament to the spirit of these women! We hope to pass the torch in this way for others to benefit from the honors friends and family gave in these womens’ names.

Please contact our President for more information if you are interested in applying for a grant from this fund.

Dolly Packard Memorial

Below is a portion of the remarks that Linda Fihelly (Southern Prince George’s NOW) made at Dolly’s memorial service. These remarks were based on content from two publications: Women of Achievement in Prince George’s County History, 1999 and Women of Achievement in Maryland History, 2002.

“I have so many vivid memories of Dolly so it’s difficult to select just one. However, I’ll relate some details on one of the last meetings we both attended. Several of us had gone to the Prince George’s District Court to support a domestic violence victim at a public hearing. The judge disappointed us and ruled against the abused woman and her children, despite the evidence and the public outcry.

As we stood in the hall discussing next steps, I asked Dolly what she thought. She basically didn’t mince words about the judge. At the same time she was concerned over the safety of the family and how to help the two minor children at risk; in other words, she wasn’t leaving until we had hatched a plan. This was the Dolly I knew and we all loved. In life, she always cut to the chase and had a heart of gold. And she never backed down even in the face of challenge – she understood the value of standing your moral ground.

In 1945, veterans returning from World War II reclaimed their jobs, which women who wanted to do their part for the war effort, had filled while the men were away. Despite their industrious and dedication, many young women were then fired solely because of their gender. One young woman, Dolly Packard, who worked as a transportation packer in a General Mills plant in Fort Worth, Texas wAS among the casualties of a new peacetime. Dolly had had her first taste of sexual discrimination and it changed Dolly’s life.

Dolly’s interest in politics, particularly women’s issues, continued to intensify. In the late 1940’s, she moved to Washington, DC to work for the Democratic National Committee and began researching national political campaigns. In the nation’s capitol, Dolly’s issues and strong personal commitment to justice were on fertile ground. Here in the DC area, Dolly met Dr. Alice Paul, founder of the National Women’s Party in 1912 who became her mentor. Together they lobbied the federal government for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), an amendment that Dolly addressed the heart of injustice: equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Dolly was involved in the work for women’s rights on more than the political level. She personally took battered and abused women into her home well before victims’ shelters had become a reality. Later, she became a leader in bringing together many different women’s organizations.

Dolly moved to Prince George’s County in 1954. And in 1968, after a long stint at the Census Bureau, marriage and the birth of her son, she joined the National Organization for Women (NOW). A charter member and officer of NOW’s Southern Prince George’s Chapter and founding member of the Prince George’s Chapter of the Women’s Political Caucus, Dolly was instrumental in the two organizations’ collaborative efforts to produce the Prince George’s County Report on the Status of Women which led to the creation of the Prince George’s County Commission for Women. She also helped create the Prince George’s County Sexual Assault Center, the Family Crisis Center, the Women’s Center and Referral Service, and the Center for Child Abuse.

With her boundless energy, firm determination, and dedication to the cause of equality, Dolly led the modern feminist movement here in Maryland. Although her strategies and tactics varied as necessary, Dolly never wavered or deviated from her goal – justice for women.”