November 2020 President’s Message

Lesley Danziger

Dear Branch Members,

Hopefully, you are all staying safe and well.  Despite the constraints of COVID-19, our branch has been extremely active the last few months.  Here are some of our recent Fall 2020 activities:

Scholarship Funding Update and new High School Scholarship

  • We have allocated $25,000 in scholarships this year to local high school girls and college women and $1,000 to AAUW for national scholarships.  In addition to Laguna Beach and Dana Hills high schools, we are now offering a  scholarship to a student from Estancia High School in the Newport Mesa Unified School District.  This scholarship honors the merging of Newport-Mesa-Irvine AAUW Branch with ours.  We continue to fund scholarships to re-entry women attending Saddleback College, Orange Coast College, Laguna College of Art + Design and UC Irvine.

College Scholarship Fundraising Appeal

  • We are crushed that Covid prevents us from replaying our very successful Fashion Show Fundraiser from 2019 which helped us boost our college scholarships.  This year, we will be hosting an online College Scholarship Fundraising Appeal in mid-November, centering our appeal on a video highlighting the stories of some of our 2020 scholarship recipients and the donors who helped sponsor them.  Check the Scholarship page in the website for photographs of students receiving scholarships. And stay tuned for communication from the College Scholarship Fundraising Appeal Committee.  Please donate to this appeal to support the many women who are struggling to stay enrolled in higher education during this pandemic.

New Interest Group Let’s Connect 

  • Vivian Clecak and Georgie Monahan are facilitating a new Interest Group.  Let’s Connect meets via Zoom every second and fourth Thursday in the month.  Contact Esther  Hessong  if you would like the zoom link.  If there is an Interest Group you would like to see happening and you would be willing to facilitate, contact Deana Pink.

Mindfulness Program

  • Many thanks to Marion Jacobs for a super successful two session program this month on the subject of Mindfulness.

New Communications Committee Update

  • Nancy Miller is Chair of our new Communications Committee which is developing ways to keep connected with our members via Zoom, Newsblasts, our amazing website and Facebook.  Check our our website and Facebook page and make sure to keep your own Interest Group information up to date.

Public Policy

  • In the months leading up to our national election, Sigrid Moranz, our new Public Policy Chair and Alice Apkarian, our Facebook manager, have worked hard to keep members informed of AAUW Public Policy positions and webinars.  We hope that this information has helped you navigate the many important political decisions we all face.


  • Our membership total this fall is 158.  This includes 22 members of the former AAUW Newport-Mesa-Irvine Branch.  Members represent 14 local cities in addition to Laguna Beach.  Check the back of your directory where members are listed by city to see who lives in your neighborhood.

Heading into Thanksgiving, we all have much to be thankful for.  I am thankful that I belong to this particular AAUW Branch and its extraordinary group of members, who are committed to sharing their expertise, their wealth of experience and their funds to supporting the education and ultimately financial and professional equality of opportunity for girls and women.

Lesley Danziger
Co-President, AAUW Laguna Beach