Liz Bathgate Gives Her All to AAUW

December 19, 2018
Three white elderly women pose for photo. All are members, donors and leaders in AAUW California.

Liz Bathgate (center) poses with Linda Slater, president of The Hayward/Castro Valley branch of AAUW (left) and Tech Trek chair Judy Harrison at a recent board meeting.

Close up of woman's hands holding U.S. coins and small note that says, "Make a change."

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In the nearly 50 years she’s served as an AAUW member and donor, Liz Bathgate has been a giver in every sense of the word.

She has devoted hours, days, and weeks of her time to the organization, serving as a previous branch president, program chair, and member of myriad committees. She’s enriched the lives of countless women and girls, from mentoring students to setting up a charitable gift annuity for her 95-year-old stepmom, who was able to receive a steady income through those funds until her death at 104.

Bathgate is also among the organization’s most generous financial donors — and she says her legacy gift to AAUW is the contribution that matters most to her. “The Legacy Circle is what’s going to last forever,” she said. “I really think [that’s] the best way to be involved.”

The Legacy Circle honors anyone who has included AAUW in their long-term financial or estate plans. It’s a way to ensure that future generations of women keep benefiting from work of the organization. “I think it’s so important that they continue on this march toward equality,” Bathgate said.

Over the years, she’s seen how AAUW has shifted its priorities to adapt to the biggest challenges facing the women and girls of the day, whether those included access to education, job training, or pay equity — the organization’s current focus — of which she says “I think it’s the most important thing we’ve done.”

When Bathgate took her first job as a physical education teacher in 1962, her annual salary was in the four figures. Salary negotiation generally wasn’t part of the picture for women in those days, so she built off of that low base until her retirement 26 years later. “Years and years down the line, when you get to retirement, you realize [women get] a quarter of what guys get.”

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She became a member of AAUW in 1972 and has been giving back ever since. She created an AAUW fellowship endowment that pays for part of a young woman’s education each year. Bathgate, who lives in Castro Valley, Calif., enjoys meeting the people who receive those funds and has kept in touch with many past recipients.

Bathgate continues to spend at least two hours daily on AAUW activities, including promoting the new Work Smart salary negotiation course to the members of her Hayward / Castro Valley AAUW branch and serving on the Legacy Circle and Education Foundation committees. In her free time, she enjoys golf and tennis, both of which she has played competitively throughout her life.

When asked what she would she say to the young women whose future she’s helping to support through the Legacy Circle, she said “they need to look at their future and see where life is going to lead them. AAUW can help by providing focus, friendships, mentors and so on. I just feel so strongly about its mission.”

Christina Folz By:   |   December 19, 2018