A press release: May 20, 2009

ALBANY, NY – The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region announced its 2009 grant recipients and Trailblazing Women of 2009 at its Third Annual Trailblazers Luncheon May 20 at Wolferts Roost Country Club.

The 2009 Trailblazing Women, selected for their philanthropic leadership, longstanding commitment to community initiatives and for being role models for women and girls, are Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.; Jan Smith and Lorraine Power Tharp. Also at the luncheon, $25,000 in grants was awarded to programs serving women and girls.

Founded in February 2006, The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region promotes the independence, growth and self-determination of women and girls by supporting projects that create systemic change and move women and girls toward financial stability and independence. Since 2007, the fund has granted $126,000 to area programs.

  • Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has led an exemplary career, holding leadership positions in government, industry, research and academe. An active member of many boards, and recipient of many prestigious awards, she has cleared the way not only for all women who aspire to great achievement.
  • Jan Smith recently retired as Manager of Public Affairs at GE Energy and is an active volunteer and community leader, playing an important role in many Capital Region organizations. She joined General Electric in 1985, and has also had an outstanding career in human resources, communications and public affairs.
  • Lorraine Power Tharp, Esq. (posthumous award), was a community leader and attorney, and well-known for her volunteer leadership of many arts, health and equine-related organizations, as well as for her years of service to the New York State Bar Association. She was partner in the firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, and passed away in 2008.

Grants were awarded to the following programs:

  • Women Build Careers Initiative – This program will provide resources and expertise to help low-income women find a fulltime career. Partners for this program include Albany Community Action Partnership, SEFCU and Equinox, Inc.
  • St. Patrick’s Home-Based Child Care Partnership – This neighborhood-based project emphasizes the support and training of childcare providers residing in low-income inner-city areas of Albany. Partners for this program include Catholic Charities, SEFCU, Holy Family Parish and the Capital District Child Care Council.
  • Money Smart – This program will engage low-income women in learning the basics of financial literacy, including banking, credit history, budgeting and owning a home. Partners for this program include Commission on Economic Opportunity and Capital Communications Federal Credit Union.
  • Project Independence – This project enables domestic violence victims to develop skills and find employment, ultimately allowing them to live independently. Partners for this program include YWCA of Schenectady and the Schenectady County Department of Social Services.

The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region is a groundbreaking collaboration of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and United Way of the Greater Capital Region.