Annual Report

Operating Rules, Adopted 1-15-15

Washtenaw County Chapter

National Organization for Women

I. Meetings

Chapter meetings shall be held at least eight (8) times a year, at such dates, times, and places as determined by the Chapter Board. Any number present shall constitute a quorum, except for the annual meeting at which a quorum shall consist of at least 10% of the actual chapter membership.

II. Dues

New members’ dues shall be $40. Reduced dues are available on a sliding scale, as determined by the Board,  from as low as $15 for students.  Renewing members’ dues shall be determined by the National office.

III. Officers and Board

A. The Officers and their duties shall be as follows:

1. President:  Principal spokesperson and administrator of the chapter. Presides at all Board and Chapter meetings, and has other duties as outlined in the Chapter By-laws.  Manages the day-to-day affairs of the Chapter between meetings.

2. Vice-President: Assists the President, chairs meetings in the absence of the President and has other duties as outlined in the Chapter By-laws.

3. Recorder:  Takes and keeps the minutes of both Board and Chapter meetings.  Attends to general Chapter correspondence, and has other duties as outlined in the Chapter By-laws.

4. Treasurer:   Receives all funds of the Chapter and deposits them in such bank as may be designated by the Board.  Disburses funds by check in accordance with the budget or vote of the membership.  Gives verbal reports to the Board and membership at each meeting.  Gives written reports annually and when requested by the Board, and has other duties as outlined in the Chapter By-laws.

5.  Communications Coordinator:   Maintains the Chapter website and Facebook page, and has other duties as outlined in the Chapter By-laws.

B. The Officers shall constitute the Board. The Board shall meet at least quarterly. The President or a majority of the Board may call additional Board meetings.

C. Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice-president shall assume the office of President. Vacancies in other elected positions shall be filled by recommendation of  the President, with approval by a majority of the Board,  as soon as possible after the vacancy occurs.  Appointments will endure until the next regular election.

D. Qualifications and terms of office.

1. All officers shall have been members of NOW for six (6) months prior to election, except in the founding year of the Chapter. Each officer shall serve a one-year term, and no officer may be elected to more than two consecutive terms in the same office.

2. No person may hold two offices concurrently.

3. Officer’s terms shall begin immediately following the January election, and shall run through the beginning of the following year.

4. Any person who is appointed to fill a vacancy or who assumes the office of President due to a vacancy, shall be eligible to serve two full consecutive elected terms in that office.

IV. Agenda

The agenda shall include Call to Order, Introduction of guests, Approval of Minutes, Finance Report, Website Update, Old Business, New Business, Announcements, Adjournment.

V. Nominations

The Recorder shall serve as Chair of the Nominating Committee, along with two general members appointed by the President. The committee will convene in November and present a slate to the Board for approval in December.  The committee shall solicit nominations for officers from the entire membership. The names of those persons who have been nominated shall be mailed or emailed to each Chapter member with a notice of the date, time, and place of the annual meeting. Nominations will also be posted on the Website and may be received from the floor at the annual meeting.

VI. Elections

A. The election of officers shall take place each January at the annual meeting.

B. Elections shall be conducted by the Nominating Committee. Secret  balloting shall be used if any offices are contested.  If only one name is submitted for each office, a voice vote of general acclaim may be held. All current, paid Chapter members are eligible to vote.

VII. Delegates to National Conference

A. The President, Vice President and Recorder shall serve as the official delegates to the National Conference. If the Chapter is unable to fill all of its allotted delegate and alternate slots in this way, a call will be sent out to the general membership for volunteers.  If there are more volunteers than slots, an election will be held.  This may be done electronically if necessary.

B. All current, paid Chapter members are eligible to be delegates and to vote for delegates. There shall be separate ballots for delegate and alternate. Each member may cast as many ballots as there are delegate and alternate slots to be filled.

C. Notice of the election of delegates and alternates shall be given as far in advance as possible.  Elections will be conducted by a committee consisting of the Recorder and two Presidential appointees who must be non-candidates.

VIII. Committees

The President, with input from the Board, shall have the power to appoint committees for specific purposes and dissolve them when those purposes have been fulfilled. Chairs of said committees shall be members of the Chapter and shall be appointed by the Board.

IX.  Affirmative action

The Chapter is committed to the inclusion of diverse voices and experiences, and will act affirmatively to achieve a diverse membership and leadership.

X. Amendments to Operating Rules

A. These operating rules may be amended provided that such amendments are proposed by the Board or by any five (5) paid Chapter members. Written/electronic notice of proposed amendments must be given to all Chapter members at least 30 days before the meeting at which the proposed amendment will be presented for a vote.

B. Amendments to these Operating Rules must be approved by 2/3 of those members present and voting.  Approved amendments will become effective as of the next general meeting.

XI.  Grievance Procedure

The procedure outlined in the By-laws will be followed in the event of a grievance.

By-laws, Adopted 1-15-15

Washtenaw County Chapter

National Organization for Women

Section 1  NAME:  The name of the organization shall be the Washtenaw County Chapter of the National Organization for Women, commonly known as  Washtenaw N.O.W.

Section 2  PURPOSE:  The Chapter’s purpose will be to carry out the goals of National N.O.W.;  promote gender equity,  social justice and other issues deemed important to the membership;   take action to bring women into full and equal participation in American society.

Section 3 POLICY:  Washtenaw N.O.W. shall be guided by National N.O.W. by-laws

Section 4  MEMBERSHIP:  Any person who subscribes to N.O.W. goals is eligible for membership in Washtenaw N.O.W. upon payment of dues.

Section 5  DUES:  Dues are set by national and state N.O.W.    A sliding scale for reductions and exemptions is available and will be determined by a majority vote of the Executive Board on an individual basis.  The fiscal year shall be January 1 through December 31.

Section 6 MEETINGS:  General membership program meetings shall be held at least eight times a year.  Executive Board meetings shall be held quarterly and as needed.  Meetings may  be called or cancelled by the  President upon a majority vote of the Executive Board.

Section 7  PROCEDURE:  All procedures shall be governed by Robert’s  Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

Section 8  STRUCTURE:  The Executive Board shall consist of the elected officers. They shall meet  at least  quarterly  to establish Chapter policy and priorities consistent with National N.O.W. policy and priorities.  Fifty one percent of the elected officers shall constitute a quorum.  Where emergency  action is necessary or desirable between board meetings, the Executive Board may act on behalf of the chapter by discussing and voting electronically, provided that  a quorum is available electronically.  Measures are passed by a simple majority, except by-laws changes, which require a 2/3 majority .

Section 9  OFFICERS:  The elected officers shall be:  President,  Vice President, Recorder,  Treasurer and Communications Coordinator.   

Section 10  TASK FORCES:  The President shall be authorized to create  or dissolve task forces .

Section 11  DELEGATES TO NATIONAL CONFERENCES:  The Chapter Delegates to national conferences shall be the President and as many other Executive Board  members as Chapter membership warrants.  If the Chapter is allowed more delegates than there are Executive Board members available to attend, then  additional Delegates will be elected through the same process as Officers.


President:  Presides at meetings of the general membership and the Executive Board.  Acts as the official spokesperson for the Chapter in all dealings with the press or government bodies.  Relays state and national communications to the membership.  Appoints and serves as an ex-officio member on all task forces and committees except for the Nominating Committee.  Serves as the first Delegate to national conferences.

Vice President:  Presides at meetings and serves on task forces and committees  in the absence of the President.  Arranges for the programs at the general meetings in consultation with the Board and membership.  Serves as the second Delegate to national conferences.  Keeps a complete file and electronic record of all members, and arranges  for any necessary orientation for new members.  Notifies the Recorder and Webmaster  of upcoming programs  so that the general membership may be informed.  Succeeds the President the following year.

Recorder:   Takes minutes at all meetings, prepares  them for  the Board and general membership electronically and submits them to the Webmaster for publication in advance of  the following meeting.  Keeps a file of all minutes and the recorded Chapter history.   Prepares and sends any official documents from the Chapter.  Serves as the third Delegate to national conferences, and serves as Chair of the Nominating Committee.  Notifies the Webmaster  of upcoming programs and actions for posting on the website.

Treasurer:  Receives and deposits all funds, discharges all funds in accordance with the approved budget or at the direction of the Executive Board.  Keeps careful records and bank accounts.  Reminds members of dues status.  Sends dues to the State and National offices.  Issues all financial records to the Board for review on a quarterly basis, and to  the membership annually in January.   Serves on the Budget Committee.

Communications Coordinator:    Maintains the Chapter website.  Website content shall be determined by the Executive Board and the membership, but the Webmaster  shall have editorial discretion.  Responsible for all newspaper, radio and TV coverage and electronic media  for the Chapter.   Prints  and mails new web postings of official minutes and upcoming events to members who are not on line, at their request.   May  delegate duties  to others.

Section 13  Committees:

Budget Committee:  The Treasurer and two Presidential appointees from the general membership will serve on this committee.  The Committee will review the budget annually in December,  prior to the Treasurer’s annual report in January .

Nominating Committee:  The Recorder and two Presidential appointees from the general membership will serve on this committee.  The Committee will convene annually in November to  prepare  a slate of candidates for  Vice President, Recorder, Treasurer and Webmaster.  The Vice President will automatically be advanced on the slate to be the candidate for President.   The slate will be presented to the Executive Board in December.

Section 14  ELECTION PROCEDURES:  The President will appoint the Nominating Committee  in November and this  Committee shall submit  nominations for elected officers to the Executive Committee In December.    The general membership shall be notified of the nominations in writing in December.  The election will be held at the January  general meeting.  Only members who are current with local, state and national dues, or have been exempt according to Section 5, may nominate,  vote or run for office.   Additional nominations may be made from the floor on the day of the election.  No member shall hold more than one office at a time.  No member may serve more than two consecutive terms.

Section 15 VACANCIES:  Vacancies may be filled by recommendation of the  President with approval of the Board, and appointees will serve until the next annual election.

Section 16  AMENDING BY-LAWS:  By-laws may be amended by a two thirds vote of the general membership.   By-laws amendments may be initiated by the Executive Board  or by 20% of the general membership.   Notification of the proposed amendment must be presented  in writing to the President 60 days in advance of a vote, and in writing to the general membership   30 days in advance of  a vote.

Section 17  ANTI-DISCRIMINATION CLAUSE:  It shall be the policy of Washtenaw N.O.W. to never discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, age occupation, sex, sexual preference, physical or mental handicap, religion, personal beliefs or gender expression/identity.   All Officers, Committee coordinators, or paid staff shall be evaluated solely on the basis of quality of work performance .

Section 17  AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:  The Chapter is committed to the inclusion of diverse voices and experiences, and to that end, confirms that it will affirmatively act to achieve a diverse membership and leadership.

Section 19  GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES:  Any member who feels that she/he has been treated unfairly by any Washtenaw N.O.W. policy or procedure has a right to complain  to any member of the Washtenaw  N.O.W. Executive Board.  In the event that a grievance cannot be settled amicably by the Board, the grievance shall be submitted to the Board in writing and an Ad Hoc Grievance Committee shall be established consisting of  the Chapter  Vice President  and two members  elected at the next regular meeting who are not members of the Executive Board.  If the grievance is against the Vice President, the Recorder shall  replace the Vice President on this committee.  The complainant is entitled to a complete investigation and hearing within 30 days of receipt of the complaint by the Grievance Committee.  A written decision by a majority of the Grievance Committee shall be forwarded to the complainant and the Executive Board within 15 days of the decision.   If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the Grievance Committee, further appeals may be made to the state N.O.W.  Grievance Committee.

Section 20 DISSOLUTION:  The Chapter may be dissolved upon a 2/3 vote of members present at a general membership meeting , after advance notice of no less than 30 days to every member that dissolution of the chapter will be considered at that meeting.  Upon dissolution of the Chapter, the Executive Board  shall, after paying or making provisions for payment of all liabilities of the Chapter, remit all remaining assets to the National , State, or to any local Chapter of N.O.W.

Feminist Thursdays

The Happy Hour for Feminists and Allies!

Bona Sera Cafe!

200 West Michigan Avenue

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Thursday February 12th,  2015

from 7-9 PM

and every second Thursday of the month, 7-9 PM

Washtenaw County N.O.W. will be hosting a casual chat session

This is an opportunity  for like-minded feminist women and men to meet and discuss their experiences with wage inequality, reproductive rights and other local , state and national hot topics of the day

Come, and bring a friend!

Dear NOW members and Feminist Friends,


I have been working  with a dedicated leadership team since last fall to resurrect the once large, relevant and active Ann Arbor NOW  chapter  as Washtenaw NOW.    Goodness knows, the need for activism on feminist issues has not diminished!   Everywhere around us there is evidence of serious backsliding from our previous gains, such as the recent erosion of reproductive choice options by our State Legislature.


Your leadership team  has met three times.  We see NOW as a well established, recognized  brand.  It is an umbrella group, embracing / unifying all of the  issues that touch women’s lives.  We want to connect  local pioneers in the women’s movement with the next generation, and provide them  with support while also providing for succession within the movement.  In this way the re-energized chapter will be both relevant and sustainable .


Our plan is for Washtenaw NOW to be ACTION oriented, taking the leadership role on some issues and    following  the lead of other  groups when they have a good action plan on issues of importance to us.  For example, we will support Planned Parenthood as they spearhead  actions on reproductive health, and support AAUW actions on pay equity.

We believe an effective local NOW chapter can improve women’s lives and help to effect important legislative changes.  Our focus for the chapter will be legislative.  State Representative Gretchen Driskell has agreed to be our liaison, so that we are aware of pending legislation in time to provide pertinent  input from our feminist perspective before it becomes law.


Becoming an official Chapter of NOW is a process.  To date we have submitted the Convenors form, contacted the State NOW President with our intentions, and  been assigned  Chapter # 0030 (the old Ann Arbor NOW Chapter number.)   By-laws and Operating Procedures have been written and passed (see attachments),  a Federal Income Tax number (EIN) obtained, a P.O Box and official checking account opened.  So as you can see,  we are very close to completing this process of becoming  “official”  again!  Once we complete this process, you will be notified of the procedure for choosing Washtenaw NOW as your local chapter.


In the meantime, your nascent chapter has participated in the Ann Arbor Art Fair and EMU Feminist Fest, circulated a petition asking Congress for a legislative remedy to the Hobby Lobby decision,  sponsored a Love your Body Day event,  begun monthly Feminist Thursdays (happy hour chats for Feminist women and men), and started a Facebook page (“like” us!).  We recently sent letters to both the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Food Co-ops asking that they stop carrying Eden Foods products in solidarity with Eden’s female employees, who lost their reproductive health benefits after the Hobby Lobby decision.   Our  March event will dissect the topic of “Why Poverty has Female Face.”  Stay tuned for details on time and place.


We want your ideas for future events!  Here are some suggestions we have received.

politics and  reproductive justice – why your vote matters

real life challenges that women have faced and overcome

implications of the Hobby Lobby decision.

rape as a women’s issue AND  a men’s issue:   Role playing responses to potential rape situations

the need for respectful language and behavior for gender allies

the sex trade in the U.S. and around the world

Send us your thoughts on future programs!


More good news, one of the Women’s Studies Program classes at the U of M Dearborn is working with us to establish “best practices” for a NOW Chapter.   This study has the potential to benefit not only our Chapter, but the entire statewide NOW organization!


Our next Feminist Thursday event  will be held tomorrow evening from 7-9 PM at Bona Sera Restaurant in Downtown Ypsilanti.  Located on the NW corner of West Michigan Ave and North Washington Street,  there is ample parking on the street and in the lot in the first block of North Huron.  The AATA bus stop is a block away at North Washington Street and Pearl.  I practically live Downtown, so I will be walking over!   Hope to see you there!


Your Leadership Team,

Cheryl Farmer MD, Convenor/acting President

Anna Vockel, acting Treasurer

Dr. Georgina Hickey, acting Communications Coordinator

Dr. Jacqueline Goodman

State Representative Gretchen Driskell

Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township Supervisor

Beverly Fish, former President of Ann Arbor NOW