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September 28, 2006


The YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge announces the nomination of 26 area women for its 24th Annual Women of Achievement Awards.  The list of distinguished nominees with their brief biographical summaries is attached.  The Awards Gala will be held on Wednesday, October 18th and will celebrate these 26 women who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement, personal accomplishment, and community service. 

The 2006 Women of Achievement Gala theme, “Renewed Passion and Reinvigorated Mission”, is particularly appropriate for this year’s venue, the stunningly renovated Hilton Capitol Center, the former Heidelberg Capitol House.  During the Gala Awards Dinner in a room with glittering views and sparkling nominees, the 2006 Women of Achievement Award recipients will be announced.  The award presentation will be immediately followed by dessert and a time of celebration and dancing.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden.  Special guests include Mary Durusau of JP Morgan Chase Bank and 
Baton Rouge-native Lynn Whitfield, the Emmy Award and NAACP Image Award-winning and Golden Globe and Cable ACE Award-nominated actress.

Women of Achievement Gala proceeds advance the mission of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge by funding the multi-site, multi-parish programs which provide education, racial and social justice, health care and women’s empowerment services.  Tickets for the gala are on sale now.  Tickets for the pre-gala reception with special guest Lynn Whitfield and the awards gala dinner are $100 per person.  Tickets for the awards gala dinner are $75 per person.

The YWCA is actively seeking sponsors for remaining sponsorship opportunities.   Current 2006 YWCA Women of Achievement $5,000 Empowerment Sponsors are All Star Automotive Group, Rosie For All Kids Foundation, and Woman’s Hospital.  $3,000 Leadership Sponsors are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Capital One Bank, Coca Cola Bottling Company, and Louisiana Lottery Corporation.  Additionally, there are many generous $1,500 Sustaining Sponsors.  For more information regarding 2006 Women of Achievement Awards Gala tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Traci Dumas at (225) 383-0681 ext. 15 or access the website at

June 22, 2006


The YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge announces Emmy award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield as Special Guest of the 2006 YWCA Women of Achievement Awards Gala on October 18th at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. This celebration marks the 24th year the YWCA has honored local women who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement, personal accomplishment and community service.  

Baton Rouge-native Whitfield has won Emmy and NAACP Image Awards, in addition to Golden Globe and Cable ACE Award nominations, all for her portrayal of the entertainer Josephine Baker in HBO’s “The Josephine Baker Story.”  More recently, Whitfield won an Image Award in 2005 for her performance in “Redemption” (The Stanley “Tookie” Williams Story) opposite Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.   Among young audiences, she is better known for her portrayal as “Cheetah Momma”, the mother of Raven, in the successful Disney movie “Cheetah Girls.”  Whitfield recently completed filming of the “Cheetah Girls” sequel in Spain.

Whitfield co-starred in the landmark production of Oprah Winfrey’s “The Women of Brewster Place” and has had starring roles in numerous television movies and mini-series, including “Without a Trace,” “Touched By an Angel,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” She appears this fall with James Woods in a new series, “Shark.”  She has been seen in such feature films as Chris Rock’s directorial debut, “Head of State;” “Stepmom” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon; “Eve’s Bayou” co-starring Samuel L. Jackson; “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” “Silverado,” “Doctor Detroit,” and this year’s feature film “Madea’s Family Reunion.”

Proceeds from the gala will be used to support the mission, programs and activities of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge.  Some of this year’s sponsorship benefits include a reception with Whitfield. 

Monday, May 8, 2006



(Pictured L-R): Kathleen Callaghan, President of the Board of Directors of the YWCA; Roberta Madden, Director of Public Policy and Women's Health at the YWCA; Kristin Sosnowsky, Managing Director of Swine Palace Productions; Fabian Blache, III, Guest Speaker; Michael Tick, Artistic Director of Swine Palace Productions; and Isonel Brown, CEO of the YWCA. Photo by Isaac Netters


Colletta Barrett, of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, addresses the audience at the YWCA Racial Justice Award Breakfast.  OLOL has been a dedicated sponsor.


Nancy Miller was honored as a 2006 Racial Justice Award Winner for her tireless volunteerism for social justice.

The YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge held its 13th annual Racial Justice Award Breakfast Program on Friday, May 5th at Juban's Restaurant. Two awards were presented this year, one of which honored Nancy Miller, for her initiation of the Charter for Racial Justice at First United Methodist Church and for her tireless volunteerism for social justice, including her work with the church's HOPE Ministries, Louisiana Correctional Insitute for Women and her work with adoption and foster care for African-American children.
The second award went to Swine Palace Productions for its plays which have explored social equity themes, for its offering to audiences the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue surrounding the productions and for its creation of a Community Relations Task Force, which fosters awareness and helps the theater focus on themes such as tolerance. The non-profit company also distributes free tickets through social service organizations to needy individuals and reduced price tickets to schools.
Awards were presented by Roberta Madden, Director of Public Policy and Women's Health at the YWCA and the invocation was delivered by Rabbi Barry Weinstein of B'Nai Israel Synagogue. Colette Barrett introduced guest speaker Fabian Blache, III, who spoke movingly of his family's personal encounters with racism in New York and Baton Rouge.
Opening remarks were delivered by Isonel Brown, CEO of the YWCA. Kathleen Callaghan, President of the Board of Directors, presided over the program events.

March 29, 2006 
Abadie Secures Grant for YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge

(Pictured L-R) Isonel M. Brown, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge, Ramona Boatner, ENCOREplus Assistant Director, Roberta Madden, Director of Public Policy and Women’s Health, Robelynn H. Abadie, LUTCF, RFC, of Baton Rouge, and Kathleen Callaghan, Board President of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge.
Robelynn H. Abadie, LUTCF, RFC, of Baton Rouge, secured a $5,000 grant from the MDRT Foundation on behalf of YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge.

Abadie, of Abadie Financial Services, and a 10-year MDRT member is an active supporter of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge and endorsed the grant application to guide the charity through the application process.  The YWCA is a non-profit organization that provides community programs to empower women.  The MDRT Foundation grant will support the ENCOREplus program, which provides educational outreach to low-income women to encourage breast and cervical health awareness and then links them to free screenings.

This year, the MDRT Foundation will award nearly $1 million in grants to more than 100 charities.  Representing the MDRT Foundation, Abadie  presented this grant to theYWCA on March 27 at a meeting of the Board of Directors.

The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities.  Since its inception, the Foundation has donated $15.3 million in 63 countries around the world.  The majority of these funds were raised by MDRT members from MDRT members.  Some of the organizations that have benefited from MDRT Foundation grants are: Make-A-Wish Foundation, UNICEF, and Habitat for Humanity.

The MDRT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Million Dollar Round Table, the Premier Association of Financial Professionals.   MDRT is an international, independent association of about 33,000, or less than 1 percent, of the world’s best life insurance and financial services professionals from 74 nations and territories.  MDRT members demonstrate exceptional product knowledge, strict ethical conduct, and outstanding client service.  Membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.

March 28, 2006 


Nominations for the YWCA Racial Justice Award “for exceptional and creative contributions” toward the elimination of racism are now being accepted. Sponsored by the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge, the award is given annually to an individual, organization, or business. It will be presented at a breakfast meeting on Friday, May 5 at 7:30 a.m. at Juban’s restaurant, 3729 Perkins Road. The event is sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

The prestigious YWCA award for furthering racial justice has been given in past years to Rupert Richardson, former NAACP president; Rabbi Barry Weinstein; the Rev. Jimmy Stovall; Victor Bussie, president emeritus of the Louisiana AFL-CIO; the Town Meeting Committee which sponsored “What Color Is Community?”, a town meeting on racism; former state Senator J. D. DeBlieux; 100 Black Men; civic leader Jan Bernard; B. K. Agnihotri, former chancellor of the Southern University Law Center; Ethel Harris, former director of the Casey Family Foundation’s Baton Rouge office; attorney Jill Craft; the Rev. Jeff Day of the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues; Sister Kathleen Bahlinger, CSJ, of the St. Paul Adult Learning Center; philanthropist Bill Dickerson; and Maxine Crump, who designed the Dialogue on Race for the YWCA.

Deadline is April 21 to turn in nominations to the YWCA, P. O. Box 66435. Baton Rouge, LA 70896. To receive a nomination form or for information about the May 5 breakfast meeting, call the YWCA at 215-1326 or vist

February 23, 2006 


All Baton Rouge area legislators have been invited to participate in the YWCA’s 18th annual legislative breakfast on Friday, March 17 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The program will be held at First Baptist Church, 529 Convention Street. Also invited are all the women legislators statewide.

As a special feature of this year’s event, Judy Day will speak on how to have your voice heard in the legislative process. She is a governmental relations specialist for Woman’s Hospital and other clients.

The annual forum is sponsored by the YWCA to provide its members and friends an opportunity to meet with their legislators and exchange ideas on issues important to women. Cosponsoring the event is the American Association of University Women, Baton Rouge Branch.

The event is open to the public, but advance registration is required. A $7 fee will be charged, which covers a continental breakfast, an information packet, and free parking. To register, call  Vernita Nelson at 383-0681.

  January 27, 2006 

Local Organization Recognized With Support From National Program

Demonstrating how to do a breast self-exam, the YWCA’s Aniqua Winfrey (right) uses a breast model to show the correct technique to Ashley Barton, a social worker at the Battered Women’s Center in Baton Rouge; and Brandi Darby of the YWCA.
The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund has awarded a $75,000 one-year grant to the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer. It is the 11th year that the program has received Avon Foundation funding to support its work on this important health issue, and in recognition of the excellence of the program.

The YWCA’s ENCOREplus program educates women in the Greater Baton Rouge area and refers them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. The Greater Baton Rouge area includes the following parishes: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Livingston, Iberville, Ascension, and St. James. While the incidence of breast cancer in Louisiana is slightly lower than the national average, the death rate among African-American women is significantly higher, due in part to lack of early detection. The YWCA program is designed to help medically underserved women get access to quality health care and take personal responsibility for their own health.

Since April of 1995, the ENCOREplus program at the YWCA has reached more than 227,000 women with information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has referred more than 31,000 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the U.S., and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55.  Based upon 2005 data from the American Cancer Society, YWCA’s ENCOREplus anticipates that 3,870 new cases of breast cancer will be detected in Louisiana this year and 740 lives will be lost. Nationwide, there is a
new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as the YWCA’s ENCOREplus help ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options, even poor and medically underserved women.

“We are proud that the Avon Foundation shares our mission and has chosen to support our program,” says Roberta Madden, director of the YWCA’s ENCOREplus. “With these funds we will be able to provide life-saving information to 27,000 women and refer at least 3,200 of them for clinical breast exams and mammograms. Avon’s support will enable the YWCA to overcome many barriers for low-income women, including lack of culturally appropriate information and lack of health insurance,” she added.
The Avon Foundation has funded more than 1,000 community-based breast health programs across the United States in the past 12 years, including ENCOREplus at the local YWCA. These programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services.

The Avon Foundation and Breast Cancer Crusade

The Avon Foundation, an accredited 501©(3) public charity, in 2005 celebrated its 50th anniversary committed to improving the lives of women. The Foundation currently brings this mission to life through the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which raises funds and awareness for access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Since 1992 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised and awarded more than $400 million worldwide for medical research; access to care; support services; screening and diagnostics; and education and awareness. The largest fundraising program in the U.S. is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series.

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund

The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund is administered by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, non-profit breast health programs across the country. The Fund’s National Advisory Board selected the YWCA’s ENCOREplus as one of 117 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2006 cycle of Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund grants.  These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income, and older women, who are often medically underserved.

For More Information

For more information on the YWCA’s ENCOREplus, please call Roberta Madden at 215-1324.  For more information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or, or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit, where you can also access the free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish. For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit or call 1-877-WALK-AVON.

January 9, 2006 


Isonel M. Brown has been named CEO of the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge, announced Board President Dianne Guidry. She has served as Vice President of Operations / Program Director of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations (LANO) for the past six years. In 2004 she was selected for the “40 Under 40” award given by the Baton Rouge Business Report.

For the YWCA, she will lead a staff of 67 who administer programs designed to eliminate racism and empower women; and a budget of $3.7 million.  She begins on January 18, replacing Mary McClure, who retired after 16 years in the position.

“The YWCA is very fortunate to have this superb woman as our new leader,” said Guidry, adding that “her enthusiasm for the job is contagious. We look forward to her taking what is already an outstanding organization to a whole new level.”

The new CEO will address the YWCA’s annual membership meeting on January 23 at noon at First United Methodist Church, 930 North Boulevard. The public is invited, but reservations are required; call 383-0681.

YWCA Greater Baton Rouge - 8281 Goodwood Blvd, Ste B1 - Baton Rouge, LA 70806
email: - Phone: 225-383-0681 - Fax: 225-383-5733
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