A press release: July 15, 2013

ALBANY, NY – The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region is pleased to announce that two outstanding women of achievement have been named as 2013 Trailblazers.

  • Beth Coco, Entrepreneur in Residence, University at Albany, and
  • Christine Standish, president of the Standish Family Foundation.

They will be honored for their generosity, spirit and leadership in blazing trails to make a difference in the lives of women and girls in our community. The awards will be presented at the sixth Trailblazers Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia.

Coco, currently Entrepreneur in Residence, University at Albany, founded MicroKnowledge, Inc. with just 50 customers and has built the company to where it stands today with more than 30,000 clients nationwide. Her successful formula of combining organic leadership skills with computer technology integration expertise and adult education industry experience has grown her firm into an industry leader. Coco has also played an important role in the Capital Region community, serving on numerous corporate boards and actively supporting and participating in many local nonprofit organizations.

Standish is a director of Albany International Corp., the world’s leading manufacturer of paper machine clothing and advanced textiles. She was elected to the Albany International Board of Directors in 1997 and currently chairs the Governance Committee. Standish serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and Albany Symphony Orchestra and as a Trustee of Siena College. She is also president of the Standish Family Foundation, where she works with three generations of her family to strengthen the region that they have called home for many decades.

This year, the event will also recognize outgoing chair, Susan Haigh Houpt, for her dedication, leadership and support since the inception of the Women’s Fund in 2006.

The Women’s Fund of The Capital Region is a dynamic collaboration of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and United Way of the Greater Capital Region and a core group of volunteer women. From 2007 through 2010, the Women’s Fund awarded grants to organizations which worked every day to help remove obstacles that stand in the way of women and girls. These programs helped women and girls find the inner resources to overcome barriers of abuse, neglect, poverty and fear. In 2010 the Women's Fund began a new education initiative to help motivated but struggling women achieve their goals of a college degree.

  • The Fund has awarded more than $273,000 in scholarships, emergency funds and grants:
    • $168,500 grants to 19 organizations
    • $95,450 in scholarships to 22 women attending Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) and Schenectady County Community College (SCCC).
    • $9,200 in funding for an Emergency Fund at SCCC that is available to assist non-traditional female students who are experiencing unusual or severe financial strain due to a sudden unforeseen crisis outside of their control.
  • The Women’s Fund is the single largest scholarship donor at SCCC.
  • In spring 2013, the Fund launched its Mentorship Program and facilitated workshops at SCCC and HVCC, helping women recognize the power of their own dreams.

“In this day and age -- when we continue to strive for equality – our mission to help women achieve economic independence takes on new urgency,” says Jane Golub, Trailblazers Honorary Committee chair. Proceeds from the awards luncheon will allow the Women’s Fund to expand these programs, helping a new generation of women become role models and trailblazers themselves.