EF Donors Making a Difference
The Education Foundation (EF) depends on donors to support our educational programs. With your help, we provide educational materials and resources for the people of New York State. Programs like Students Inside Albany—a four day conference to educate high school students about their role in state government, and timely community information programs on current issues like Campaign Finance Reform are only possible because of your generosity.


While gifts are normally made with cash or an equivalent, as the economy has changed, donors have looked at different and creative ways they can continue to support the Education Foundation and make an impact on their communities.


Dorothy Westhafer

Sustaining the FutureDorothy Westhafer (left)

Dorothy Westhafer first joined LWV as a young bride in Dayton, Ohio. Her husband, Jim, was the co-pastor of a Presbyterian Church and she met many League members who were part of the congregation. She began going to meetings regularly and, by the time she left Dayton in 1962, she was Vice President of the Dayton League.

Little did she know, but, through her League leadership, Dorothy was following in her grandmother’s footsteps. In 2010, Dorothy discovered that her grandmother, Jennie Holloway, had served as president of the Akron, Ohio League from the time of its organization until a few months before her death in 1928.

A cum laude graduate of Miami University with an art major and Phi Beta Kappa member, Dorothy put her considerable talents into community leadership. In 1962, Dorothy and James moved to Lockport, New York where there was no local League but she maintained her membership at the state level and began a “Keeping Up” program through the YWCA Board. Soon Dorothy found herself coordinating a provisional League. When the family again moved, this time to Grand Island, New York, Dorothy joined the LWV of Buffalo. Last year, she was honored as a 50 Year Member of the League.

As with many League volunteers, Dorothy was more than a member and a mother, she also worked as director of the Niagara Community College Art Gallery for 11 years and did some teaching in art history at Buffalo State and Niagara University.

Today, Dorothy continues to volunteer in her community. In addition to being a lifetime League member, she enjoyed tennis, taught Sunday School, has served as a docent at the Albright Knox art gallery, and is active in the Western New York Land Conservancy. She also serves on the Conservation Advisory Board for the Town of Grand Island.

The League owes much to Dorothy for her volunteer leadership over more than 50 years but, as is typical for Dorothy, she goes further and gives financial support to the state League. Dorothy has made an annual gift to the state League every year for over 10 years. Her leadership level support allows the League she loves to continue to educate voters and support good government. In her own words, “The League of Women Voters is a critical group due to its non-partisan education of voters and its encouragement of citizens to participate; participation is crucial for democracy to work.”

We thank Dorothy for her dedication to making democracy work.


When you make a gift of appreciated stock, you can take a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the stock and you don’t have to pay tax on the gain from the appreciation. To find out how to give a gift of stock, please call the state office at (518) 465-4162.

Joanne and Michael EspositoJoanne Esposito has been a member of the LWV of Albany County for many years. She is also a member of several other local community boards and committees but she feels that the League is unique because of its non-partisan tradition, approach to study and consensus on issues, and the diversity of issues. Each year, she and her husband, Dr. Michael Esposito, make a gift of stock to the New York State League Education Foundation. “We give appreciated stock because it is a great way to make a gift. You avoid paying capital gains tax on the stock you donate, take a charitable deduction for the donation, and, best of all, get to help a charity you believe in.”

When asked why they give to the state League Education Foundation every year, Joanne said, “Michael and I make it a priority to give to the state League every year because, over our years as League members, we see that volunteerism has changed in America. Our local Leagues need the state League to support the volunteers we do have and provide necessary resources and coordination to the local Leagues across New York. Our grassroots membership is what makes us strong and that does not exist without energized members who know they can count on support from the state League.”


You can let us know that you would like a donation charged to your credit card each month automatically. To join our monthly giving club, use the online gift link and choose Monthly from the Donation Schedule drop down menu.

Members of the LWVNYS Monthly Donor List

Virginia Adler Arlene Makl
Donna Dardaris Doris Reed
Lauren Frank and Annette Miller Clare Simeone
Linda Frank Dare and Douglas Thompson
Kate Jankowski Janalyn Travis-Messer
Myra Hiemstra


Donna Dardaris

Donna Dardaris, “I am a donor to the state League because I value all it does for local Leagues in providing educational materials and support to our members across New York. Having a strong state League also means that we maintain a presence in Albany and have a powerful voice for change. I am a monthly donor for two reasons, it is easy to set up a monthly gift and it allows me to give more than I would be able to if I made a one-time gift.”



Janalyn Travis Messer

Janalyn Travis-Messer, LWV of Shelter Island: “I give to the League of Women Voters Education Foundation because I believe in what the League does and for whom and what it stands. I give monthly because it allows me to give at a higher rate than I would be able to if I only gave one gift annually and I can easily budget my gift and calculate it at tax time. If everyone gave even $10 per month, what the League could achieve would be even more amazing.”




Gifts made from your annual IRA Required Distribution are not considered income to you. If you are at least 70½ years of age, you may make a gift of up to $100,000 from your IRA to the Education Foundation and it will not be considered income to you. To find out more about this, please call the state office at (518) 465-4162.

Aimee Allaud

Aimee Allaud, also an LWV of Albany County member, makes annual donations to the Education Foundation from the required distribution of her Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Based on current tax code, donors can select a charity or charities to receive distributions directly from the IRA. The benefit of this type of gift, besides helping the charity, is that the IRA distribution is not counted as income to the donor. As she puts it, “The state League is essential to having strong and vibrant local Leagues and this gift from my IRA allows me to contribute more than I might otherwise be able to because it helps keep my taxable income amount lower.”

Aimee urges other members who may be able to make this type of creative gift to join her in supporting the state League. “It is easy to do and it makes me feel good about continuing the League’s long tradition of advocacy for voting rights and voter education at the local, state, and national levels—something that drew me to the League and has kept me an active member for 40 years.”


Remembering a charity in your will is a wonderful way of ensuring that your values survive you. The LWVNYS Education Foundation has a special recognition society for people who have designated the League in their will. The 1919 Society was created in celebration of the state League’s 90th birthday. Find out more about the 1919 Society.


The League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation is the educational and fund-raising arm of The League of Women Voters of New York State which derives its strength from the energy and commitment of the women and men in about 60 local Leagues throughout the state. It is strictly nonpartisan, and works primarily on projects that enlighten the electorate i.e., empower through education.

The charitable support of individual people, corporations and foundations throughout New York State help us accomplish three central missions:


The LWVNYS Education Foundation has a proven track record of providing the creative programs, materials, and support our local Leagues need to continue their work.

Our latest accomplishments include: