Making Democracy Work

Making Democracy Work

The LWV's tagline is Making Democracy Work

It succinctly accounts for the work we do to encourage informed and active participation in government and governance.

What criteria is used for the MDW award?

The Making Democracy Work award celebrates a greater Flint area woman, over 50 years of age, who has made a positive, and meaningful contribution to our community, advancing democracy, empowering citizens, and/or nurturing people to be become community advocates.

2017 MDW Recipients - Ingrid Halling and Doreen Fulcher

Ingrid Halling

Ingrid has a collaborative leadership style, with the goal of empowering citizens through education. In her professionally active years, Ingrid's crowning achievement was to bring organizations such as the United Way, Kettering University, UM-Flint, Mott Community College and the Chamber of Commerce into a collaborative to develop the online library network, FALCON. She was also president of the Resource Center for two terms and Executive Director for the Court Street Village Nonprofit for several years. In her personal life, Ingrid and her family came to the US in 1952 as refugees who had fled Nazi-occupied Breslau. Ingrid's family were sponsored by the Calvary Lutheran Church and quickly assimilated into their adopted country performing regular community service to help their community.

Doreen Fulcher

Doreen has been a dedicated public servant of Genesee County for 20 years. In that time, she worked 9 years in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office and 11 years in the Clerk's Office as Election Supervisor overseeing both Elections and Vital Records for Genesee County. For Doreen, doing the job is not enough. Every day she serves the community and local clerks with a sense of professionalism that demonstrates excellence and devotion to accuracy and following election law. Recently, Doreen led the decision-making process to determine what election equipment would be purchased for use in the county. Additionally, she was a key negotiator for the $800,000 purchase. From the League perspective, Doreen has been a generous and patient supporter in ensuring we understand issues relevant to elections, voting equipment and voting laws. Doreen's dedication has made her a deserving awardee of the Making Democracy Work award.

2014 MDW Recipient

The 2014 reecipient of the "Making Democracy Work Award" was Ann Kraft. Ann Kraft lived and worked in Flint since 1955 and received her Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. She has served in a variety of volunteer roles with numerous organizations in the Flint area, including: nine years with Quota International of Flint, the Flint Women and Girl's Fund, Court Street United Methodist Church and 34 years with the League of Women Voters. Ann's career was also focused on building strong communities, with her work at the Urban Coalition of Greater Flint and the Flint Neighborhood Improvement and Preservation Project. We are very excited to honor Ann for her excellent work on behalf of the citizens in the Flint area!

2013 MDW Recipient - Jane Richardson

From MLive: "Without competent neighborhoods...you don't have a thriving city," said Richardson, special projects facilitator for Salem Housing Community Development Corp. in Flint. "You can't do it all by importing people for special events, that is not the heart of it."

Richardson's efforts to improve her community have earned her the Making Democracy Work Award from the League of Women Voters of the Flint, which will present the award Tuesday at a ceremony at Woodside Church in Flint.

"It's kind of humbling," said Richardson, 71, of Flint. "The League of Women Voters have been a piece of my life for a very long time."

Making Democracy Work Committee Chair Edith Prunty Spencer said Richardson epitomizes everything the award stands for. "She is concerned about people having a democratic opportunity to succeed in life and she puts forth her energies and efforts to making that possible," said Prunty Spencer.

Richardson said was inspired by her parents from the very beginning to speak out, even if she was in the minority. "It was kind of ingrained that you might be a minority in your opinion but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do something about it," said Richardson, who said the League of Women Voters served as a stepping stone for her efforts.

"The League provided a strong foundation for a shy country girl," she said, adding she first became involved with the group in the late 1960s in Maywood, Ill..

Richardson spent 11 years as executive director for Salem before retiring in 1996, only to return later as interim executive director as well as other roles for the group over the years.

"It is an honor to have them think that I do democracy," Richardson said about the League.

2012 MDW Recipient

The Flint Area League of Women Voters is pleased to announce that Diane Bayeh has been selected the 2012 recipient of the Making Democracy Work Award. Diane Bayeh is the current Treasurer of Mt. Morris Township. She previously served on the Township board as a Trustee.

Bayeh has an extensive history of involvement in the democratic process. She is known for her grass roots efforts of reaching out to encourage people to become involved in local government and make elected officials accountable to the people they serve.

Bayeh was also instrumental in the development of the Genesee County Paramedic Program and initiated a county wide drive to establish a county-wide "Safe Haven for Newborns" program.

Bayeh is a graduate of Beecher High School and attended Mott Community College. She is an active member of the Beecher Community Development Council. She has also served on the board of the Genesee County Auto Investigative Network (GAIN) and has served as the Mt. Morris Township Board Liason to the Police Department.

The LWV will present the award to Bayeh on September 20, 2012, at Court Street Village Apartments.

2011 MDW Recipient

2010 MDW Recipient

The third annual "Making Democracy Work Award" recipient is Donna Rheaves. She is a Flint native and has been active in community work for over 30 years. Ms. Rheaves has, during these years, worked to improve the physical, social, and economic well-being of families and young people in our community. Ms. Rheaves's primary mission has been to educate young people so they can take control of their physical health and obtain the knowledge to be empowered so they can be a positive force in their community. She has served as President of the Urban Garden program, President of Hurley East Neighborhood Program, on the Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation, and is currently a member of the Children's Defense Fund. She has also worked with a local church to provide meals to needy families in Flint.

2009 MDW Recipient

The recipient of the second annual "Making Democracy Work Award" is Doris Sain. Doris was instrumental in creating the Court Street Village Nonprofit Housing corporation which provides quality, safe accessible, low cost housing for senior and low income members of the Flint area. Under her leadership, the Corporation has provided support for four neighborhood associations. She has been able to obtain financial support to fund these ongoing programs and secure the expertise of others to continue this work. Among her many accomplishments, while living in Beecher, she presided over Common Concern, Inc., a non-profit developed to address substance abuse and racial tension. She has served as a board member and secretary of the former Genesee County Legal Aid Society, is a charter member/board member of the Michigan Housing Council, served as a member of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, served as a member of Flint Area Citizens to End Racism. She is one of the first women to be appointed to the Flint YMCA Board of Ditectors. In 2000, she was selected to attend Harvard University School Center for the Study of Values in Public Life. She is a member and volunteer at Court Street United Methodist Church.

First "Making Democracy Work" Award (2008)

The recipient of the first annual "Making Democracy Work Award" was Charlotte Williams. Mrs. Williams is a former Genesee County Commissioner and the first black female to chair the National Association of Counties. These are just two of her many contributions to our community. The League of Women Voters of the Flint Area is proud to have Mrs. Williams as the recipient of this Award.