YWCA’s Women of Achievement
WHEN: March 25, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Glen Sanders Mansion, Scotia
TICKETS: $85 each. They can be purchased by calling Jo-Anne Rafalik at 374-3394.
The event will include a cocktail hour and dinner.
Literary Leads — Featuring Kristin Kimball
WHEN: March 27, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Schenectady County Community College’s Taylor Auditorium
TICKETS: $25 suggested donation, but a donation is not required. Reservations are required, as space is limited. Invitations can be found at The Open Door Bookstore on Jay Street, Whitney Book Corner on Union Street and all library branches.
When two community agencies plan a major fundraiser for the same night, the result, more often than not, is diminished attendance at both.
That could have been the case with the YWCA’s Women of Achievement awards dinner and the Schenectady County Public Library’s “Literary Leads — Featuring Kristin Kimball” author event, both initially scheduled for March 27. But leaders from the two organizations decided to join forces to ensure their events don’t compete and have made a pact to find more ways to collaborate in the future.
The Women of Achievement dinner will honor five yet-to-be-announced women in the Capital Region who have made a difference in the lives of others through volunteer work. The event makes the close of the Y’s 125th anniversary celebration.
The library’s Literary Leads event will feature a presentation by Kristin Kimball, who wrote “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love.” The work of nonfiction is Schenectady County’s 2014 One County, One Book selection.
In the book, Kimball details her journey from city journalist to running a Community Supported Agriculture Farm.
“[Kimball] talks about the book and the extension of their farm and their business since the writing of the book. She incorporates the years when the book was written to the present,” explained Cheryl Cufari, president of the library’s board of trustees.
Once it came to the Y’s attention that the Women of Achievement dinner and the library’s author event would fall on the same night, YWCA executive director Rowie Taylor reached out to library staff and offered to try to change the date of the Y’s event, which was slated to be held at Glen Sanders Mansion.
“We thought, you know what, let’s make this successful for everybody,” recounted Jo-Anne Rafalik, development and communications director at the Y. “Glen Sanders was extremely supportive of us and they agreed to give us the Tuesday before the [library’s] event. ... It’s still a busy week for people, but we’re going to still go with it and hopefully cross our fingers that both of us have a very successful event.”
Although the fundraiser dates no longer overlap, many of the organizations’ initiatives still do.
“We have a lot of the same people and the goal for both organizations is to do as much as you can to meet the needs of the community,” explained Karen Bradley, director of the Schenectady County Public Library system.
The Y, which provides housing, children’s programs and domestic violence programs, encourages its clients to take advantage of all of the resources the library has to offer.
“We need them very much. We need them to be part of our programs. We use them all the time,” said Rafalik. “When our women come into both our residence program and our shelter, we encourage them to use the library. It’s a free source of information. It’s a wealth of information.”
More and more organizations are discovering that working together is the way to go, noted Bradley. She cited the recently initiated Bridges Out of Poverty program, which has brought together many local health and human service agencies to work cooperatively to address and reduce poverty in the community.
“There are so many organizations, whether they’re non profits, educational institutions, that are really all in the same boat, dealing with a lot of the same issues of greatly reduced funding. Where groups had been operating kind of in silos in the past, what we’re seeing in the county and particularly in the city region is now these barriers breaking down and groups realizing they really can do more by working together on things, so it’s bringing people together,” Bradley said.
The Y and the library will collaborate on future literacy initiatives, she noted.
“Literacy for us is kind of at the core to build success, so we have a great interest in that area,” Bradley said. “So instead of kind of working at opposites, it was kind of like, ‘Hey, what can we do together to each be able to meet our goals and what can we do to help each other?’” Rafalik called the arrangement a “really nice collaboration. Both agencies are extremely important to the growth in Schenectady County and we want to do as much as we can to support both,” she said.