Sunday February 19, 2017
Dear Members, Supporters, and Partners of OWL:
It is with a heavy heart that the OWL Board of Directors shares this news with you. After much consideration and deliberation, the Board has unanimously decided to wind down operations of OWL National after 37 years. Tish Summers and Lorie Shields founded OWL in 1980 as The Older Women’s League to address issues of special concern for midlife and older women, through education, advocacy, and (through the chapters) mutual support. We have had many notable accomplishments. Most recently we successfully challenged the insurance companies practice of charging five times as much or more for older worker health insurance; in the Affordable Care Act we got this reduced to three times - which is still an age penalty, but not as severe.
We have fought to maintain Social Security by “scrapping the cap” and demonstrating that Social Security privatization is a false promise for women. We have published special Mother’s Day Reports on a wide variety of topics: for example, Medicare for All, End of Life Choices, Elder Abuse: a Women’sIssue, and Long Term Care. Legislators have cited many of these reports.
Unfortunately, while our work remains needed and our voice important, our National organization cannot sustain itself in its current form. We are currently working with our dedicated staff and volunteers to finalize termination. Thank you for your tremendous support over the many years. Without our grassroots support, and institutional/foundation supports, extraordinary staff and dedicated board, we could not have continued to operate as we have. We appreciate all the donations, large and small, which have enabled us to persevere. I want to especially credit our long list of staff members and board members who have generously contributed over the years to our vitality.
We hope that all OWL members and friends will continue to advocate for OWL issues, and present the “OWL’s eye view” on proposed and actual policy and practices that impact the lives of midlife and older women. We have a few local OWL units that are operating under their own 501©(3) status, and they can continue to carry out the OWL mission.
Please contact me if you want to discuss these decisions.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors,
Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D.
President, OWL National Board Chair