Making Democracy Work


What is our mission? How are we structured? What is our history?

Our Mission and Roles

Mission Statement The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Principles The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States. Democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens.

Every citizen should be protected in his right to vote; every person should have equal access to free public education which provides equal opportunity for all; no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.

Efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.

Responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people, maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of problems which affect the general welfare and promote a sound economy.

Cooperation with other nations is essential to the solution of world problems; the development of international organization and law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.

Political Activity Policy

Purpose The purpose of the League of Women Voters of Winnetka-Northfield-Kenilworth is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government and to take action on selected governmental issues. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization; it is not bipartisan or non-political. Bipartisan means representing both parties; the League represents no party. The League as an organization does not support or oppose any candidate or political party. Non-political means having no opinion on political matters; the League does support or oppose issues on which the League has taken a position after member study and agreement.

What is Nonpartisanship? All League members are strongly encouraged to participate as individuals in political activities, including working on campaigns of all types and openly supporting candidates, political parties and issues, recognizing that in doing so they must exclude reference to the League. Once the League (local, state or national) has taken a position on an issue, members may not identify themselves as League members in publicly opposing that position. Every League member must take the responsibility for clearly differentiating between his/her personal positions and the League's position.

The Board and Nonpartisanship The Board has the responsibility of maintaining the fact of the nonpartisanship of the organization. The President (Co-President), Voters Service Chair, and Local Issues Chairs shall maintain a neutral position as to candidates and political parties. A Board member may serve on any appointed public board, commission, committee, coalition, or caucus. However, that Board member does not represent and may not speak for the League unless officially designated as a representative by the League Board.

Each member of the Board of Directors should use discretion when considering public involvement in a particular election or controversial issue. If a Board member believes there is a possible conflict of interest involving himself/herself or another Board member, he/she should bring this issue to the Non-Partisan Committee for evaluation. This standing Non-Partisan Committee, appointed by the Board of Directors and comprised of at least three members, should include a recent past president and one member from each village and act in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors. The following considerations should be used in evaluating any proposed political activity of a Board member (including working on campaigns of all types and openly supporting candidates, political parties and issues): the visibility and/or duration of the activity, the sensitivity of the portfolio, the extent to which the Board member is publicly identified with the League, and an assessment of the community climate.

Running for Elective Office The following Board members may not hold an elective office while serving on the Board: President or Co-President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Voter Services Chair, or Local Issues Chairs. Any of these Board officers or members who plans to run for office must first resign his/her Board position. Written notice must be given to the Board before the filing deadline for the election. A candidate's resume may include his/her League activity, but campaign literature cannot state or imply that the candidate is a current Board member or that the League is endorsing the candidacy. Positions cannot be held for Board members who resign to run for office. A replacement should be appointed by the Board as soon as possible, and this information should be released publicly.

Mailing List The League's roster is not to be made available for non-League use without Board consent.

Policy Review The Political Activity Policy shall be reviewed annually at the Annual Meeting. The By-laws Committee shall make any recommendations for revisions to the Board at least one month prior to the Annual Meeting. The revised Policy shall be given to every Board member at the beginning of his/her term. All Board members shall receive training in the interpretation of the Policy upon taking over a portfolio.

Other League Organizations

Our members are also members of:

Winnetka-Northfield-Kenilworth Board


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever does. Margaret Mead

The elves are taking a nap but will supply the data when they awaken.

Past Presidents


Elizabeth Gemmell 1922-23 Doris Benson (Mrs. Walter L.) 1924-26 Bernice Van der Vries (Mrs. John N.) 1926-28 Mrs. A. Montgomery Ferry 1928-29 Helen McNamara (Mrs. R.C.) 1929-31 Julia King (Mrs. Jasper) 1931-33 Lauretta Keller (Mrs. Ira C.) 1933-34 Laura Gaffney (Mrs. Matthew) 1934-35 Katherine Fisher (Mrs. Walter T.) 1936-38 Jane Munns (Mrs. George) 1938-40 Janet Gordon (Mrs. George) 1940-42 Tess Rothermel (Mrs. William) 1942-44 Claire Nix (Mrs. Edward) 1944-45 Helen Rouse (Mrs. Kenneth) 1945-47 Benny Scott (Mrs. Morris A.) 1947-49 Rose Dawson (Mrs. Mitchell) 1949-51 Viola Schwimmer (Mrs. Marshall) 1951-53 Louise Voorhis (Mrs. Jerry) 1953-55 Martha Drake (Mrs. Robert) 1955-57 Ethel Monroe (Mrs. Henry) 1957-59 Harriet Kirby (Mrs. Vance) 1959-61 Sylvia Radov (Mrs. Joseph) 1961-63 Dorothy Parshall (Mrs. John) 1963-65 Margaret Magie (Mrs. William A.) 1965-67


Lois Brown (Mrs. James B.) 1967-69 Josephine Fraenkel (Mrs. Stephen) 1969-71 Betty Cameron (Mrs. Dean) 1971-73 Jeanne Bradner (Mrs. Robert) 1973-75 Doreen Hagerty (Mrs. Donald) 1975-77 Kathie Bowe (Mrs. John) 1977-79 Carol Piper (Mrs. Robert) 1979-81 Rona Nordstrom (Mrs. Richard) 1981-83 Caryn Adelman (Mrs. Gerald) 1983-85 Diane Onixt (Mrs. David) 1985-87 Arline Doblin (Mrs. Morton) 1987-89* Margaret Rastetter (Mrs. Richard) 1987-89* Joan Fragen (Mrs. Robert) 1989-91 Berna Pollak (Mrs. Michael) 1991-93* Harlan Shropshire (Mrs. William) 1991-93* Harlan Shropshire (Mrs. William) 1993-95 Anne Murphy (Mrs. Jerry) 1995-96* Cynthia Gehrie 1995-97* Barbara Moore 1996-97* Brenda Rossini 1997-99


Murry Aspesi 1999-00* Joni Johnson 1999-01* Nancy Marcus 2001-05 Tane Beecham 2005-07* CharleneShryer 2005-07* Martha Osborne 2005-07* Executive Committee 2007-08 Elizabeth Bannon 2008-09

  • Co-President