2020-21 Five-Star Success Stories

Learn from AAUW affiliates that have achieved five-star status in their work towards equity for women and girls. And check out our Membership Matters news hub for more inspiring stories and advice from AAUW leaders.

Mt. Vernon Branch, Virginia

“We were delighted to achieve Four-Star Status in 2020-21, particularly in the midst of COVID challenges. We advise other branches to stay focused on AAUW’s mission and the needs of their members and community. Encourage members to submit program ideas regularly but hold an annual year-end planning session to make decisions and identify a point of contact for each project. Many hands make light (fun) work!”

—Patsy Quick, president, Elaine Kolish, funds chair, Joanne Clark, former program VP

AAUW Beach Cities, California

“The Beach Cities Branch of California uses AAUW’s mission statement and current public policy goals as a guideline for our branch activities. The Five-Star Program gave us a chance to proudly demonstrate our long-standing commitment to AAUW’s goals through our programs and events. If your AAUW branch remains up to date with AAUW National’s goals, achieving stars is as easy as filling out an online form.”

Vickie McCorkendale, former president

AAUW Longmont, Colorado

“Getting Five-Star recognition was not a driving force for our branch. But as it turned out, our strategic plan and the national criteria were very compatible. Our goal is always to focus on having impact on our members and in our community. The criteria helped us refine our direction and emphasize certain areas more than we might have otherwise. Reporting our achievements gave us the chance to be recognized for efforts that had been underway for a long time.”

—Kathy Hall, communications officer

Washington Online Branch

“As a completely online branch, we sharpened our skills in the areas of Zoom, social media and membership recruitment as we worked to reach the Five-Star goal. This program draws leaders’ attention to activities that they might not undertake otherwise. Working to meet the criteria is a way for branches to connect with AAUW National’s priorities and strategies in program content, communications strategies and public policy activities.”

Dorothy McBride, co-president

AAUW Carlisle (Pennsylvania)

“Our success over the past six years—as measured by community impact, community recognition and increased membership—is a result of publicly and boldly acting on AAUW’s mission. We decided to apply to the Five-Star program after identifying what we already accomplished and creating plans for completing what remained. We are pleased and humbled that our work was recognized.”

Kathleen Gorak, president

AAUW Greensboro (North Carolina)

“The Greensboro branch was well positioned to complete the 2021 Five-Star application in June with programs and practices in place. Since becoming a 501c3 service organization in 2016, we have steadily focused on governance, programs and communications. Our members are collectively dedicated to and active in public policy and advancement of AAUW. Greensboro branch committee chairs are creative and energized in our support of women and girls.

Our message to other branches is that Five-Star is a challenging but very useful template that helps us see the big picture while working on the details.”

Laura Tew, president

Palos Verdes Peninsula, California

“We are honored with the Five-Star Award and proud of the branch work it represents. Our early goal was one star. But, as we reviewed our year, we found our work matched more requirements and applied for five stars. If you’re thinking about the Five-Star program, realize that you do more than you might think. Review the requirements. Plan programs. Find matches in your branch work. Make the effort.”

Nancy Mahr, public policy chair

AAUW Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek (California)

“The most critical actions our branch took in the past year to meet the Five-Star challenge were to inspire our members to contribute to AAUW’s “Greatest Needs” fund and to greatly expand our external communications through using social media, holding Zoom meetings, updating our branch website, and aggressively promoting our events to the public.

Determine your branch’s priorities within AAUW’s overall mission and then look for action opportunities that fit into the Five-Star framework!”

Joanne Quijano, president