Members’ Philanthropy continued from page 41
Sharon Hewitt and Achievement Rewards for College Scientists
Sharon Hewitt was the first president of the Portland chapter of Achievement
Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). She and four other women, including
MAC members Nancy Fischer and Cornelia Stevens, were involved at OHSU in
various capacities when they sat down to meet with representatives of OHSU and
ARCS. That was five years ago, and in the meantime the Portland chapter of ARCS
has grown to more than 80 local women.
The organization began in California in 1958. After the Soviets launched
Sputnik, many were concerned about where the U.S. stood in comparison to other
countries with regard to technology and science. Since then the mission of ARCS
has been to provide scholarships to the best and brightest U.S. graduate students.
In its five years, the Portland chapter has supported a total of 62 graduate
student scholars and committed more than $920,000 to these students. Oregon
State University’s College of Engineering and OHSU are the two institutions the
Portland chapter supports. These schools take the ARCS scholar awards, which
equal $18,000 over three years, and use them to entice potential students. ARCS
scholars are free to use the awards in a variety of ways. An award is not simply a
Sharon Hewitt (left) visits Michelle Berny in the lab to talk
tuition scholarship. This flexibility is important to students, who can use the money
to the ARCS scholar award winner. Berny is a Ph.D. candi-
as they see fit.
date researching blood coagulation and stroke prevention
ARCS members pay $500 in dues annually to fund the scholar awards, and the
for the biomedical engineering department at OHSU.
chapter also organizes donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.
ARCS has given scholar awards to 62 students in Oregon.
Hewitt and her husband, Henry, offer two separate ARCS scholarships on their
own, as do many other MAC members.
“We’re extremely happy with the way things are going,” says Hewitt, who serves on ARCS’ national board. She recently returned from a trip
to Tampa to assist in the development of a new ARCS chapter there.
Hewitt says the ARCS women are excited to support Oregon universities and the state by attracting bright, dedicated students to Oregon
schools. The innovations provided by OHSU and OSU’s College of Engineering make a positive economic impact in the community, and the
universities are grateful for the support provided by ARCS.
Lori Flexer Sackett and Circle of Giving
Lori Flexer Sackett played an instrumental role in launching a local Circle of Giving group
to improve medical research dedicated specifically to women. Until about 10 years ago, Flexer
Sackett says, this type of research was limited. Five years ago, Flexer Sackett met with the head of
the Center for Women’s Health to discuss philanthropic funding. With a core group of women,
including MAC members Joann Albers, Mary Wilcox and Kathy Rudd, the group set out to
improve research about medical issues facing women.
Flexer Sackett says the group has discovered an approach to philanthropy that works for
women. It’s an energetic collection of like-minded women who are engaged in the community.
Together they have a bigger voice than they would have individually, and the whole process is an
education for the group.
With the help of Dr. Michele Berlin, head of the Center for Women’s Health at OHSU, the
group narrows down a list of grant proposals to three and meets in the spring to hear presentations
and select a winner. The group discusses each presentation and ultimately votes to fund one.
“It’s a phenomenal education,” Flexer Sackett says of the grant presentations. “They are so
compelling we wish we could fund all of them.” In some cases, individual members have agreed to
offer some funding for a specific project that wasn’t selected by the group as a whole.
Today the group is in its fourth year, awarding $125,000 annually to a specific research project.
Flexer Sackett says the initial group was concerned that they wouldn’t find enough women willing
to pay the $5,000 dues. “We’ve been stunned by the positive response,” she says. The group is now
Lori Flexer Sackett, left, and Dr. Michele
made up of 60 women, roughly 20 of whom are MAC members.
Berlin, head of OHSU’s Center for Women’s
The group receives ongoing updates from researchers, which keep the group plugged in and
Health, put their heads together to improve
positive. The research allows the group’s members to participate in advances that could change
medical research specifically for women.
the face of health care. Flexer Sackett says the contributions from Circle of Giving are especially
Flexer Sackett is a founding member of
important in light of the dearth of gender-specific research and the lack of research money avail-
a local Circle of Giving group that works
able in the current economy.
closely with the Center for Women’s Health.
Members who want to share their philanthropic stories can email email@example.com
DECEMBER 2009 | The Wınged M | 43
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