Silent Angels

by Mary Feidner

Supporting the education of non-traditional women students has long been a priority of our Bennington Branch of AAUW.  We have in the past had various fundraisers, including “pass the hat” at public meetings, and helping the Norshaft Lions as food vendors when the Bennington Car Show was at the Pownal Racetrack.  When this collaboration ended in 2010 we thought about other food possibilities, such as having an annual dinner at a Bennington venue.  As the requirements for that type of project became clear at a board meeting, one member said, “I would much prefer to give $100 a year and not have to do all that work.”  A vote was taken with unanimous results to individually give $100 a year to a Scholarship Fund for three years.  Board members also spoke with other Branch members and that first year we had 20 donors, thus $2000 to start sustaining resources for the Scholarship Fund, and Silent Angels began.  I was ending my tenure as president of the Bennington Branch and volunteered as coordinator for the Silent Angels.

After the first three years we continued our annual contributions of $100, adding new donors and deleting others when their circumstances changed.  The number of donors now ranges between 18 and 22 each year with September being the month for collection. I send an email reminder to each contributor in August.

All Bennington Branch Members are welcome to become Silent Angels, which means that I alone know who is contributing.  If you wish to start at a lesser amount than $100 as some have done, then gradually work up to $100, that would be fine.  Just email me and I will put you on the list for 2020.

When Marge Carter, the Organizer of the Book Group, died in 2011, members of that group learned that our scholarship recipients had difficulty paying for expensive books. They chose to establish a Memorial Fund in Marge’s name to assist those students. The collection of that fund takes place at the September Book Group Meeting.  Marge’s husband Bob has consistently matched the amount of that collection, thus increasing the benefits for the students.

Anyone wishing more information on either the Silent Angels or the Marge Carter Book Award please contact Mary Feidner.