A Message From The President

October 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon who worked tirelessly to advance the status of women her entire life.  Her death was a blow to all of us as she epitomized the same principles that serve as the foundation of the Athena Society.  One member contacted me to tell me that she and her husband were contributing to Athena’s philanthropy fund in honor of Justice Ginsburg.  She suggested that other members might be interested in contributing in her honor as well, and I was immediately moved by the suggestion.  Her death felt like both a call to action and a need to honor her life, and what better way than to benefit other women through our career assistance grants program.

It is a Jewish tradition at death to say “may her memory be for blessing.”  While I’m not Jewish and apologize to my Jewish friends for any misinterpretation, I understand the expression to mean something along the lines that those who remember and honor her should keep her work alive and carry on her legacy.  The pursuit of justice is viewed as one of the highest callings of Judaism, and charity is viewed as a balancing of the scales and an active working towards justice.  Charity is especially good if the giver and recipient are unknown to each other, as it provides dignity to the recipient and frees the giver from an expectation of a reward, praise or gratitude.

All this also epitomizes Justice Ginsburg, who worked thoughtfully and tirelessly to create a more just world for millions unknown to her.  Before her time on the Supreme Court, she filed 9 major sex discrimination cases that were heard by the court.  If you don’t think her life’s work affected you, just remember that before her work, women could not have a credit card or hold a mortgage in their own names!

After her lifetime of tireless work for us, it’s her time to rest – and our time to work and fight for her ideals.  We should continue to advocate for equal justice under the law, full rights for women, and dignity for everyone, regardless of their race, place of birth, or religious background.  We should vote, march and lead; we should fight for her vision of a world that values the dignity of every human being – and we should further honor her memory by contributing to Athena’s philanthropy fund in her honor as a charitable act that benefits those unknown to us now but who need our help as they pursue their dreams and their rights with dignity and perseverance.

If you wish to join this effort, be sure to designate “in honor of RBG” on your check or online donation. Click here to donate directly to our fund at the Community Foundation.