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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 17
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2015

    Document Title
    Fifth Annual Executive Summary Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia

    Author
    Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 11 (Regular Session, 2010)

    Executive Summary
    Creation and Charge of the Commission

    In 2010, the Virginia General Assembly established a commemorative Commission to honor the contributions of the women of Virginia with a monument on the grounds of Capitol Square. The charge of the Commission, as stated in the Joint Resolution was as follows: The Commission shall determine and recommend to the General Assembly an appropriate monument in Capitol Square to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia.

    The Commission shall seek private funding for the operation and support of the Commission and the erection of an appropriate monument. The costs of implementation of the Commission, its work, and the compensation and reimbursement of members shall be borne by the Commission from such private funds as it may acquire to cover the costs of its operation and work. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Commission, upon request.

    Members of the Commission

    As designated in the Joint Resolution, the commemorative Commission shall consist of a total of 19 members as follows: the Governor of Virginia who shall serve as Chairman thereof, the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Rules, one member of the Senate appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, the Clerk of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, one member of the House of Delegates at large appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Clerk of the House of Delegates; eight nonlegislative citizen members of whom three members shall be appointed by the Governor, two of whom shall be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and three of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The Secretary of Administration or his designee, the Librarian of Virginia or her designee, the Executive Director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, and the Executive Director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation shall serve ex officio with nonvoting privileges.

    Following the gubernatorial and legislative appointments, the members of the Commission are: Governor Terence R. McAuliffe, Speaker of the House Bill Howell, Delegate Jimmie Massie, Clerk of the House G. Paul Nardo, Chair of Senate Rules Committee Ryan McDougle, Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, Clerk of the Senate Susan Clarke Schaar, Secretary of Administration Nancy Rodrigues (ex officio), Former Secretary of Administration Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas (ex officio), the Librarian of Virginia Sandra Treadway (ex officio), Executive Director of Virginia Capitol Foundation Alice Lynch (ex officio), gubernatorial appointees Krysta N. Jones, Jacqueline Cook Hedblom, and EJ Scott; Speaker of the House of Delegates appointees, Mary Abel-Smith, Kitty Claiborne, and Mary Margaret Whipple; and Senate Rules Committee appointee Lissy S. Bryan.

    Meetings and Significant Actions
    The Women’s Monument Commission (full Commission or Executive Board) met on the following dates in 2015: October 27, October 1, June 26, and January 12.

    The Commission established a process and time frame for the nominations of women's names to the Wall of Honor. More than 200 have already been nominated, and the opportunity to submit names will be open until the end of March, Women's History Month. Some significant contributions to the project have been received and fundraising continues. In the meantime, a draft contract for further site work and design of the Monument has been prepared.
    __________________________________________
    Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission Executive Board Meeting
    Monday, January 12, 2015
    3rd Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, Richmond, VA

    Minutes

    Members in Attendance: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Susan C. Schaar, Lissy Bryan, Jacqueline C. Hedblom, Secretary Nancy Rodrigues, Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas, Dr. Sandra G. Treadway

    Vice Chair Senator Mary Margaret Whipple called the meeting to order. All present were welcomed and introduced. Members of the Full Commission in attendance were: Alice Lynch, Delegate Jimmie Massie, and Mary Abel Smith. Senator Whipple explained that she hoped to have meetings of the Executive Committee and Full Commission on alternating months to keep up the progress of the Commission.

    Criteria for the names on the glass wall of the monument were presented in a handout by Dr. Treadway. Senator Whipple read aloud each piece of criteria and then gave members and the audience a chance to discuss each item before a vote was taken. Lissy Bryan commented that she was pleased with the criteria because they reflected the original intent of the selections of the bronze figures. Comments were also made regarding the section that strategically mentions the women on the wall being a “representative and inspiring sample of women of achievement” so as to avoid being completely exclusive of those where there isn’t space to include. Mr. Charles H. Seilheimer, Jr. was a member of the public that gave comment once the motion was made to adopt the criteria. He was asked by Commission member Em Bowles Alsop to come and speak on her behalf to say that they hoped that the women selected would be chosen based on their own merits and not those who they associated with (i.e. who their husbands were). He also mentioned the hope that there wouldn’t be a lot of “hyphenated” categories and that the inclusion of different regions wouldn’t take away from densely populated regions with deserving women of achievement. His final comment was to encourage the body to designate someone or some group to come up with the names on the wall for the future. A unanimous vote was then taken, and the criteria for the names on the wall were adopted.

    Senator Whipple then led the discussion on the status of the Steering Committee. Susan Schaar told the Board that she is awaiting response from the lady she contacted about serving on the Committee, and should have an answer soon. Senator Whipple mentioned that Kathy Watkins, Pam Northam and Megan Beyer have agreed to serve on the Committee and she hopes to have the Committee in place by next month. She also mentioned a “Former First Ladies Circle” of the former First Ladies of Virginia who would serve on a more honorary basis – Lynda Robb is the only one who has been approached as of yet but has agreed to help. Senator Whipple asked that Secretary Rodrigues approach the others about participating. Lissy Bryan asked if we had a final list of people who needed to be contacted/have been contacted – Charlotte Gomer from the Virginia Capitol Foundation has this list. Mr. Seilheimer added that including former Presidents of the Garden Club of Virginia would be a good idea. Senator Whipple responded that there is still plenty of room for any more suggestions of those who might be interested in serving on the Steering Committee, and it shouldn’t be limited to just women participants.

    Lissy Bryan and Alice Lynch then followed up with a brief discussion on fundraising. Alice Lynch reported that they have completed the “Capitol Campaign Cabinet” – members including: Governor McAuliffe and the First Lady as Honorary Chairs, Mary Margaret Whipple, Lissy Bryan, Delegate Chris Peace, Chief Adams and Patty Lockridge. Buford Scott and Brent Halsey will also serve as honorary members. Alice added that a case statement has been completed and they are close to finishing the first drafts on the educational and landscaping components. They are also close to being able to approach some major area corporations for gifts and will report more on this at the next meeting.

    After the fundraising discussion concluded, Senator Whipple opened up the floor to members for comments. With there being none, she opened the floor up for public comment. With no public comment, she adjourned the meeting at 2:43 PM, concluding with directing members to expect a Full Commission meeting in February.
    __________________________________________
    Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission Meeting
    Friday, June 26, 2015
    Senate Room A, General Assembly Building, Richmond, VA

    Minutes

    Members in Attendance: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Krysta Jones, Kitty Claiborne, Senator McDougle, Alice Lynch, Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, Susan Schaar, EJ Scott, Dr. Sandra Treadway, Secretary Nancy Rodrigues

    Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Vice-Chair of the Commission, called the meeting to order. After each member was introduced, Senator Whipple recognized and welcomed Lillian Garland, a professional Elizabeth Keckley reenactor. Dr. Sandra Treadway then gave her report from the Subcommittee on Nominations for the Glass Wall. The first step of the process, setting the criteria for nominations, has been completed and approved by the Commission. Dr. Treadway then went on to explain that a database needs to be created in order to keep track of all of the names submitted, which the Senate Clerk’s Office has already begun to compile and will be maintaining throughout the process. The second step of the process would be to ask for nominations to put into the database, to which a wide net would be cast in seeking these submissions. A form for nominations and a handout with information about the project was then passed around to members. This form would be intended for distribution to the public as well as posted on the Virginia Women’s Monument website. The third step of the process would be to set deadlines for submissions: Dr. Treadway’s initial thought was to ask for submissions by March 2016 during Women’s History Month, but after some discussion it was decided that an initial deadline would be November 1, 2015 and a “last chance” push for submissions would be in March 2016.

    Senator McDougle asked if there could be a way for individuals to view the list of those names already submitted so as not to repeat, or to add comments/support to a nomination already posted. Susan Schaar then expanded on that idea, proposing the idea of having a public forum for those who wish to come give nominations and remarks on those already nominated. Senator Whipple agreed that this was a good idea and suggested using Women’s History Month as a good opportunity to schedule this gathering. Kitty Claiborne asked how we could better publicize the project and the opportunity for nominations. Alice Lynch directed everyone to the postcard that the Capitol Foundation drew up and has been distributing at various events.

    Senator Whipple suggested publicizing the amount of names that will be available to be featured on the wall on any documents that are being distributed. Susan Schaar added that she had spoken with John Crank, and he said that 80-100 names per panel (with 4 panels total) would be the maximum number that would fit but 60-80 names per panel might look more elegant. This also drew discussion on how the names would be listed – members seemed to favor a chronological listing, but Senator McDougle cautioned that space should be left for those that might have been overlooked historically (new discoveries as time passes, etc.). Senator Whipple then said that 200 names should be advertised for nominations, as it will help people be more selective about their submissions. Dr. Treadway asked that we share this list with her team of historical experts, then have the public forum in March, have the historians once more analyze the submissions, and then make the final decisions on the names. All names should be emailed to Maribeth Turner in Senate Committee Operations – names will be accepted even if they don’t fit the criteria for length of time deceased as they will be considered for the future. Dr. Treadway asked who had already been voted on for the wall and at that point no one had been officially added to the wall. It was then moved and seconded that Pocahontas be added to the glass wall, and the Commission voted unanimously to do so. Alice Lynch said that she would send a press release with the nominations flyer and with the list of women that are being featured in bronze. Secretary Nancy Rodrigues added that she would reach out to NPR and AP News for statewide media interest efforts.

    Alice Lynch then gave her report on fundraising, starting with the presentation of the postcards handed out earlier and that were also given out at Senator Whipple’s event in Arlington earlier in May. Members suggested that the donation language be solidified on the card so people will understand the need for gifts. Alice said that the event allowed them to make several contacts in the Northern Virginia area, and several women have since offered to host like events at their homes. Alice then went on to list several donations that have been made to the Capitol Campaign project with special funds being designated for the Women’s Monument specifically. One large gift that was given has led a grant to be matched, raising several hundred thousand dollars for the project. She feels confident from this one gift that other donors will see this and follow suit. She also explained that crowdfunding would not be a good idea to use as a tool until the closing of the project, as a point of strategy (crowdfunding had been suggested in the past as a way of involving the public in fundraising). Secretary Rodrigues asked that a list be provided with what has been pledged and what is actually in the bank. She wants to be able to show numbers to her fellow cabinet members for how much has been raised towards the overall goal. Alice explained that as a matter of discretion a lot of the “anticipated” gifts cannot be disclosed, but she did mention that a larger portion of the gifts have come from the efforts of members of the Commission.

    Senator Whipple then looked to the members in attendance to share their reports of reaching out to their communities for interest in the project. Krysta Jones hosted a dinner for women leaders in the Arlington community that generated lots of interest and enthusiasm. EJ Scott spoke at several events in the Northern Virginia area, mentioning the monument and trying to encourage interest. Kathleen Kilpatrick mentioned that she had been talking to donors of past “like projects” – many out of state but still hopeful of their interest in giving. Secretary Rodrigues said that a Latino sorority at VCU has taken on the project as their fundraising initiative which will appeal to the grassroots side of the fundraising effort. Dr. Treadway gave a talk to the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia League of Women Voters and mentioned the monument and also made a contact with a reporter who she wants to reach out to for publicity. She also suggested using Women’s History Month as a good time for “crowdfunding” and that nomination forms could be placed in the lobby of the Library of Virginia – Susan Schaar offered them to be handed out in the Capitol building too. There was discussion on various suggestions on how to publicize the project further ending with involving schools statewide in an essay writing exercise during Women’s History Month. There was no member of the public who wished to comment, and the meeting adjourned at 12:03 PM.
    __________________________________________
    Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission Executive Committee Meeting
    Thursday, October 1, 2015
    3rd Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building Richmond, VA

    Minutes

    Members in Attendance: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Susan C. Schaar, Lissy Bryan, Jacqueline C. Hedblom, Dr. Sandra G. Treadway, Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas

    On Thursday, October 1, 2015 the Executive Committee of the Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia was held in the 3rd Floor East Conference Room of the General Assembly Building in Richmond, Virginia. Vice Chair Senator Mary Margaret Whipple called the meeting to order a few minutes after 10:30 AM. She welcomed everyone and asked everyone present to introduce themselves. She welcomed John Crank, principal designer of The 1717 Design Group, and Elliott Schwartz, brother & partner of the artist, Ivan Schwartz (from StudioEIS) who could not attend the meeting. The main purpose of the meeting was to give and receive updates from the StudioEIS/1717 Design Group team since it had been 18 months since the last phase of the contract was completed.

    Elliott Schwartz started off the meeting by stating his intent to implement the next phase of the contract but first wanted updates on the status of what the Commission had achieved as of late. Senator Whipple explained that several gifts were anticipated in the near future. She asked the two men from the design team what the next phase entails. John Crank said that the next part of the project would be to have an engineering firm come to the site to draw up the topographic map and come up with the plan pertaining to design issues – it would take about 3-5 months. He has already met with a couple of firms and received proposals from them. These were suggestions by the Department of General Services as companies that they have worked with in the past on other projects. When he approached these firms for proposals about 2 years ago, the cost was roughly $101,000.

    Elliott Schwartz then discussed the more design-oriented artistic aspects of the phase – including staging of the figures, coming up with the storyline of the figures, and the research that would be necessary to fully and correctly represent each figure. He said there would be a mockup and photo shoot in New York at their studio where they would work to create the scene and establish what would work best in the plaza space – this would take roughly 3 days (he mentioned the photos would be a good promotional tool in fundraising efforts) and preparation/research would take around 4 months. He explained that he would need to rely on the Library of Virginia for as much of the research and information needed on each woman as possible – then would review it and come back with questions. Dr. Sandy Treadway told the members that she and her staff would handle the research and background information to make sure it is as historically accurate as possible – mentioning that she might need to employ the use of Jamestown historians for help with the earlier two figures, and that for some women there won’t be exact images available so she would come up with an image of a similar woman from the time period/region as a representation. Mr. Crank added that the Commission should come up with what age they want each woman to be portrayed as – Senator Whipple said that the inclination of everyone is that the women should be the age they were at the peak time of their achievements. She added as a side note that she was concerned about the height of each figure, that they might be too short compared to today’s women. The two men responded that they could take some artistic license to heighten the figures if needed, but others at the table expressed a feeling that the figures should be accurately life-size to give a more realistic feel to the monument. Mr. Schwartz added that if figures were enlarged it would increase the cost of the project. He then went on to describe the photo shoot and mock-up process in detail, mentioning that costuming would require a lot of research as props and wardrobe details would need to be as accurate as possible – this would take some time but there would be plenty of opportunity for changes as needed between the shoot and the actual rendering of the figures for the monument. Susan Schaar mentioned for informational purposes that the Edgar Allen Poe statue located nearby the site on Capitol Square is in process of being evaluated for relocation so it won’t feel “lost” among the new neighboring monuments.

    In wrapping up the meeting with the design team, Mr. Schwartz asked if the next phase could be implemented - Senator Whipple responded “Yes.” The conversation then transitioned into discussing fundraising. Alice Lynch from the Virginia Capitol Foundation led this discussion, updating everyone in attendance on where the project stands financially. She reported that so far, 1 million of the 10 million dollars needed for the Capitol Campaign has been committed – with $339,000 pledged just for the Women’s Monument project and roughly $250,000 in hand. She said that at this point they are looking for entire corporations to “adopt” an individual figure or for several to come together to sponsor. She mentioned that Senator Donald McEachin has offered to help make some connections and create public interest in the project. She also updated everyone on contacts made to host events for the project, of which there have been two ladies (additionally, Senator Vogel – Commission Member) who have offered. Susan Schaar suggested sending a letter to the Steering Committee to update them on where the project is now.

    Senator Whipple opened up the meeting for reports from any members. Lisa Hicks-Thomas informed everyone that she met with her sorority group (Delta Sigma Theta) in Loudon County and the ladies all seemed very interested in the Women’s Monument – they were given postcards and informational packets regarding the project. Senator Whipple directed Alice Lynch to follow up with them. With no further business or public comment, the meeting was adjourned at 11:49 AM. A meeting of the full Commission would hopefully be scheduled in the coming weeks.
    __________________________________________
    Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission Meeting
    Tuesday, October 27, 2015
    Senate Room B, General Assembly Building, Richmond, VA

    Minutes

    Members in Attendance: Senator Whipple, Lissy S. Bryan, Senator McDougle, Alice Lynch, Susan Schaar, EJ Scott, Secretary Nancy Rodrigues, Dr. Sandra Treadway, Jacqueline C. Hedblom

    On Tuesday, October 27, 2015 a meeting of the Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia was held in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building in Richmond, Virginia. Vice Chair Senator Mary Margaret Whipple called the meeting to order a few minutes after 2 PM. She welcomed everyone and asked everyone present to introduce themselves. She gave a brief overview of the agenda before going in to the first item: nominations for the glass wall of the monument.

    Staff informed Commission Members that over 219 names had been submitted for being honored on the glass wall. Interest in submitting nominations has been increasing due to the recently established Facebook page as well as post cards and materials distributed by the Virginia Capitol Foundation. Because of this spark in interest, the question arose about extending the deadline for submissions – the initial deadline being November 15, 2015. Susan Schaar made a motion to extend this deadline, mentioning a recent “Letter to the Editor” from the Richmond Times-Dispatch she had read that led her to brainstorm about more ways to spread the word about the opportunity for nominations to localities that might not yet have been reached. She suggested putting advertisements in local newspapers. The Commission agreed that an extension would be beneficial and voted to move the deadline to March 31, 2016 – honoring the end of Women’s History Month. Secretary Nancy Rodrigues requested that the database of names be shared with her office so she can send out press releases to the localities that do not yet have representation through the nominations.

    Alice Lynch, member of the Commission and Executive Director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation, gave her report on fundraising. She shared with the group that the Commission itself has $329,000 in the bank as several gifts have come through since the last meeting. She is confident that more gifts will be made in the next few months. She then directed the discussion towards various events that she is trying to organize to raise awareness about the project – utilizing Commission Member Lissy Bryan’s help with an event in Richmond at the Capitol. This event would not be a fundraising event, but rather an educational one to acquaint those interested with the site and project – Susan Schaar gave some dates to avoid in the near future due to some legislative conflicts, so a date of December 10th was tentatively agreed upon. Alice also mentioned an event at Virginia Randolph School’s Centennial celebration that was a huge success as she was able to learn from attendees about Virginia Randolph and share with them the goals of the Commission and the monument.

    After Alice completed her report to the Commission, Senator Whipple gave members a status update on the contract. She mentioned that at the Executive Committee meeting earlier in October, members approved moving into the next phase of the contract with money on hand to do so. She explained that the next phase of the contract includes site design and having an engineering firm come out to take measurements and come up with a topographic map of the area. The next phase would also enable the artist to implement costuming and actual placement of the bronze figures as part of a photo shoot to help stage the design for building the actual monument. The next part of the contract has not yet been placed in front of the Commission so there was nothing tangible to approve as of yet.

    Senator Whipple then opened up the meeting to member reports. Secretary Rodrigues asked that we recognize and give our thanks to Finn Fisk, an intern in her office, for all of her help in setting up (and continuing to update) the Commission’s Facebook page as well as the database where nominations are stored. Finn has also enlisted her classmates at Maggie Walker Governor’s School to help with fundraising for the monument. Secretary Rodrigues asked that we send a letter of thanks to her – Senator Whipple agreed, asking her to draft a letter for the Commission to send. Secretary Rodrigues also asked that Dr. Sandra Treadway and Senator Whipple be recognized for their job well done taking part in an interview segment on WCVE with David Bailey that explained and advocated for the Women’s Monument project. EJ Scott told the Commission about a “Stand for Women Now” event in Northern Virginia that she attended and had great success with, and she thanked Alice Lynch for the materials the Virginia Capitol Foundation provided her with to hand out. Keeping with the locale of Northern Virginia, Senator Whipple alerted members to a couple of upcoming events she and Krysta Jones, Commission Member have coming up in that area: an interview segment on Krysta’s community access television show and going to speak to Arlington Central Library about the monument as part of the library’s “Encore Learning” series. Susan Schaar added that she has been approached by a group to speak as well and hoped to share more about that at the next meeting.

    With no public comment, the meeting adjourned at 2:49 PM.