What is our mission? How are we structured? What is our history?
Phil Kadner of the Chicago Sun Times wrote an op-ed in September 2018 that describes the best of The League of Extraordinary Women. We hope you enjoy it.
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.
To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters of Colorado Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.
Our Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions guide our activities.
With this heavy agenda, the young Greeley League found its members not only overwhelmed but also competing with 60-70 different clubs for women in a town of slightly more than 12,000. Records also indicated "a general lack of interest in government" which is hard to believe with New Deal programs soon to emerge like bindweed in spring. So in 1934, the pioneer League disbanded.
Earlier, on the national level passage of women's suffrage in 1920 (the 19th Amendment) had sparked formation of the League of Women Voters by many formerly suffragist groups. The first national League convention, dedicated to helping women become informed participants in government, had an ambitious agenda. Making no little plans, these newly franchised women voiced positions on collective bargaining, child labor laws, minimum wage and equal opportunity for women in government and industry.
In 1923, the purpose was enlarged to include efficiency in government and international cooperation to prevent war. The year 1938 saw the League's objective as promoting "political education through active participation of citizens in government." Furthermore, "the League may take action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest. ... It shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate." This purpose and policy remain the same today.
Back now to Greeley.
In 1945, World War II was over, Harry S. Truman was president and L. L. Wilkinson was mayor of Greeley, a city with 4,000 more residents. Twenty-one women took it on themselves to reorganize the League of Women Voters of Greeley. Mrs. Oliver Troxel, wife of a Colorado State College of Education professor (now the University of Northern Colorado), became president. With support from national and state leagues, the Greeley group expanded its horizons to become in 1974 the League of Women Voters of Greeley/Weld County.
In terms of structure, local leagues are obligated to "board the train" carrying program commitments developed by member leagues throughout the years. This train has fostered support for the U.N., guarded civil liberties, opposed discrimination, endorsed positive environmental policies, advocated fairer tax policies and initiated presidential debates. In the 1970s, without a name change "discrimination" against males ceased, and many men became active members.
Locally the League of Women Voters of Greeley/Weld County is best known for candidate forums and TV broadcasts prior to each election and for pro/con analyses of ballot issues on state and local levels. Throughout the years, League members have studied and taken stands on county home rule, welfare, historic preservation -- actually 16 items termed "continuing responsibilities."