The Independence Branch of AAUW was organized in 1940 as an affiliate of the National AAUW organization, a group that has been a champion for women’s issues and education.
An early Independence Branch yearbook stated, “We will use education as a force to build citizens who can meet the responsibilities of democracy.” Though formal education retains high priority, we have had to broaden our goals to address critical issues that confront modern-day women and girls: the homeless, ecology, physical abuse, inequalities in the workplace, and sexual bias. Speakers at our branch meeting have included many of these topics and we freely offer support to several community organizations which focus on these issues.
One of the highlights of our year is the presentation of Student Awards. Scholarships in the amount of $500 each are presented to outstanding seniors, one from each of the three Independence School District high schools…Truman High School, Van Horn High School, and William Chrisman High School. For 2021, that amount was increased to $750 due to a generous donation to the branch for this purpose. The Scholarships are awarded to girls in recognition of achievement in scholarship, citizenship, and service to their schools. In 2022, the awarding of this scholarship was revised once again. One scholarship, in the amount of $1000, will be awarded to one student from one of the three High Schools.
“Women of Achievement” have been honored by our branch since 1957. Our “Book Fair”, a used book sale that was begun in the mid-1970’s, continued to raise the funds that supported our branch and its philanthropies through 2020. We annually contribute to AAUW Funds. Our branch has won national and state awards since 1994 and from our membership have come three state presidents and numerous state board members. Carol Brown, Myla Gentry and Marcia Andersen helped shape this rich history for more than fifty years.