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The 12th Annual Springfield BPW Wine and Stein is scheduled for Saturday in downtown Springfield, but the group is celebrating an even bigger milestone as well: 50 years since the club was founded.
The BPW was formed in 1919 by Kentucky native Lena Madesin Phillips, and the Springfield chapter was established in 1964. The club has grown to 69 members in that time — the largest chapter in the state — and even one charter member remains in Cherry Gibson, the club’s parliamentarian. The Springfield BPW has even welcomed its first male member, Bill Robinson, and are expecting to add a second in the near future.
President Virginia “Ginny” White-Schatzke and Vice President Lisa Haydon said this year’s event will have all of the amenities of last year’s celebration, including live music, a variety of wines — many from local wineries — and a beer garden.
Per usual, the club will also be hosting a live auction and a silent auction to raise money for scholarships and local charities. Over 75 people have donated items for this weekend’s auctions already.
“The main purpose of it is for us to take the money and use it back for scholarships – traditional and non-traditional – and also to help support charities that enhance the lives of working women or women who want to work and need to go back to school,” White-Schatzke said.
The club offers scholarships of at least $1,000 for those taking the traditional route to higher education, as well as non-traditional, or those going back to school after some time away.
“The community is where all of the money goes; every penny,” Haydon said. “It’s going right back into this community to improve not just the conditions of women but the community itself.”
Haydon said it’s more than a fundraiser, however, as people come from all over the state to take part in the event. Exposing the visitors to what central Kentucky has to offer is also a focal point of the wine and stein.
“It’s not just about raising money for scholarships and local charities. It’s also about showcasing out local businesses primarily in Washington, Marion and Nelson counties,” she said.
Though the wine tasting event has been a part of Springfield for 12 years, 2014 marks just the third year that the event has been held downtown. It has been tweaked each year, and the crowd has continued to grow in that time. White-Schatzke estimated that attendance has doubled since the event moved downtown.
“It has just grown and grown and it has been tremendous,” Haydon said. “The visibility has been very good being downtown. People are coming through and see the tent being set up on Friday and see us working and they think, ‘Hey, maybe I’d want to go to that.’”
Locally, some strides are being made in regard to women’s rights in the workplace. Kurt Krug, vice president of North American human resources for INOAC, recently informed the club that the company performed an equal pay self-evaluation, and found that women and men are paid the same for equivalent jobs within their company. BPW was pleased to hear that report, but even more excited about the fact that a business was willing to take the time to do the study in the first place.
“It was just really nice to hear from someone who actually did that research,” Haydon said.
White-Schatzke said one of the areas of focus for all of BPW currently is making adjustments to domestic violence laws, which currently primarily protect those who are married.
“I think one of the biggest platforms for the BPW is domestic violence and the fact that laws needs to be changed to protect college students, people who aren’t married and same-sex relationships,” she said.
Following the Springfield BPW Wine and Stein, the club will elect new officers with the turn of the fiscal year in June and will have their social some time in July. They also hold regular meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Mordecai’s, rotating between lunch and dinner meetings to accommodate as many members as possible.
White-Schatzke said she still hears people in the community comment that they haven’t been invited to a meeting, but that she wants everyone to know the club wants everyone involved who has interest.
“You don’t have to be invited and we want you to come,” she said. “It’s not a clique and it’s not just a good old girls’ club. It’s all about educating, supporting and networking to help women who work.”
This weekend’s wine and stein is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Old Louisville Store building.