Making Democracy Work

Rina Saperstein

Rina's Story

By Rina Saperstein

Rina Saperstein (left) with Bridgett Pincus during the 2010 presentation of the Martha B. Taft Award
In 2010, I was winner of the 2010 Martha Taft Award, the highest honor that LWVCA can bestow upon a member. The award is given annually to a member who is an all-around contributor to the League and leader in the general community. The award is named after our League's first president, who served from 1920-22 and again in 1932-34. I was very honored to receive this award, which placed me in the illustrious company of honorees like Rose Kearney, Sherrie Heyse, John and Helen Hunter, Betty Roosa and many more.

In presenting the award, Bridgett Pincus cited my past service to the League including Board President, nominating committee, Program VP, bylaws, Northeast Evening Unit, and Voter Editor. The awards committee also noted community service through my professional social service career. As of this posting (May 2014), I am expanding my knowledge of collective impact work in human services as a Senior Associate in Strategic Resources and Public Policy at the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

My mom was a member of the League, but I didn't just join as a legacy. I wanted to be around people with her combination of smarts, commitment and curiosity, practicality and independence. I was originally invited to the League by the late Gloria Walker. I had written a letter to the Enquirer about Hamilton County elections, and Gloria read it and wrote me back encouraging me to try the League. So, I thought I'd just send a contribution, maybe go to a meeting or two and that would be that but... well, over time she and her and her colleagues sucked me in - to a unit, to a committee, to the board.

My favorite of many League tasks over the years has been helping to write study pages on various topics; we always work in teams, sharing drafts back and forth, checking each other's work, boiling complex information down into briefing materials for people who deeply care about getting the details and the implications right.

It's a lifestyle, really, and although my level of active participation waxes and wanes, I suppose I'm a lifer.

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