Name Grant Honorees

2021-2022 Name Grant Award

by Jan Eriksen, Chair

At the April 9 meeting, Joan Koonmen was awarded the 2021-2022 AAUW La Crosse Name Grant in recognition of her work for the branch. Joan first joined the branch in 1956 as a young mother of two. She was active over the next several years, participating in study groups as well as sewing outfits for her daughter to model in AAUW fashion show fundraisers and designing posters for AAUW children’s theater productions. Most notable, however, is that Joan served as the first chair of Art Fair on the Green.

Joan and her family (which now included five children) moved away from the area in 1968. She returned in 2013 and re-joined AAUW La Crosse. The 2021-2022 Name Grant Committee — consisting of Betty Kruck, Carol Robertson, and me – thought it especially appropriate to recognize Joan and her contributions to our branch’s legacy as we celebrate our 100-year anniversary.

The Name Grant has been awarded annually for the past 61 years to a branch member who has provided exemplary service to the La Crosse Branch. A donation is sent to the national office of AAUW in the recipient’s honor. Previous Name Grant honorees are listed near the end of each year’s membership directory.


Name Grants 2020-2021.

The 2020-2021 Name Grant recipients were announced at the April 10 branch meeting.

Francie Ball, whose name was proposed by Robert Richardson, was honored based on her work on the Scholarship and Grants Committee. Francie chairs the subcommittee which reviews the large number of applications submitted by University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students. Robert’s letter of nomination indicates, “Because of Francie’s leadership, the subcommittee makes reliable and valid decisions and recommendations.” Francie has also been a major contributor to the Art Fair on the Green Concessions Committee by earning her ServSafe certification to be qualified to assure that food vendors are following La Crosse County Health Department regulations.

Marian Schiesser received her award due to her service as Publicity Chair for the Art Fair on the Green since 2014. In that capacity she negotiated a contract with the billboard company that gave the Art Fair free advertising on the new electronic boards, she arranged for articles in area-wide newspapers and magazines, and she placed AAUW La Crosse members as guests on radio shows. Marion also worked with Explore La Crosse for a raffle giveaway that included a free hotel stay and local restaurant meals, further increasing the Art Fair’s visibility. She ordered yard signs with dates that could easily be changed, so that the signs could be used from year-to-year. Marian was nominated by Erica Koonmen and Carol Robertson.

Name Grants are an AAUW La Crosse tradition since 1960. Members who provide exceptional service to the branch are nominated and honored each year, chosen by a committee of past honorees, and money is sent in their names to AAUW national’s Greatest Needs Fund. Thank you to everyone who nominated members this year and to Betty Kruck and Mary Hall who served on the selection committee


Name Grants, by Jan Eriksen, Chair

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021-2022 AAUW La Crosse Branch Name Grant. A nominee should have provided service to the branch, state, and/or national organization. She or he cannot have received the honor previously. For
a list of past recipients, dating back to 1960, please see the end pages of your membership directory.

Please email me (jperiksen@viterbo. edu) with your nominee. I will need the name of your candidate, along with information about why you think that she or he is deserving of the award. A small committee of past Name Grant awardees will select the winner(s) and a donation will be sent to AAUW national in their honor. Winners will be announced at the branch meeting.