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November 14, 2020 - 6:05pm

YWCA honors community members with first Frances G. Frances Empowerment Awards

posted by Press Release in Frances G. Frances Empowerment Awards, YWCA, news, batavia.


The YWCA honored local residents who have been making a difference in the community with the inaugural Frances G. Frances Empowerment Awards in a breakfast at Batavia Downs on Friday.

Executive Director Millie Tomidy-Pepper said of the winners:

Dorothy “Cricket” Avery: Cricket personifies the true spirit of this award in every sense. In August of 2018, Cricket founded GlOW Women Rise an organization who’s mission it is to "Engage, Elevate, and Empower Women of the GlOW region" while promoting social justice for all. Cricket spearheaded and organized the first ever Women’s March in Batavia; organized a highly successful Women’s Empowerment Forum, and has collaborated with us on Stand Against Racism, Voter Registration, an Anti- Racism Workshop. Cricket and the women of GLOW Women Rise have also supported our Safe House clients by helping them attain household items and help move them into their new homes. GLOW Women Rise are in the process of incorporating and we could not be happier for the success the group has achieved in such a short time. We have built a strong partnership to address the needs of women in our community and therefore it is our honor to select Dorothy “Cricket” Avery as a recipient of the Frances G. Francis Empowerment Award.

Our next recipient is Nancy Brach, Nancy has been co-owner of Brach Machine since 1993. Nancy’s co-ownership in this male-dominated profession came long before it was common for women to do so. She and her husband, Bill, have built a very successful business together. While this alone is an amazing accomplishment, Nancy also chose to become involved in the YWCA in 1997 when she joined the Board of Directors and served until 2005. I think it is safe for me to say that while Nancy may have left the Board, the YWCA never was far from her heart. In 2018, Nancy came to the YWCA’s rescue. When Nancy heard of the agency's financial plight, she didn’t waste a minute reaching out to me to offer assistance. Her extraordinary generosity and belief in the mission and programs of the YWCA assisted us at a critical time and literally saved the organization from closure. I personally cannot thank Nancy enough for putting her faith and trust in me and the Board of Directors. We are here today because of you, Nancy. 

Our next recipient is Jill Kratz. Three years ago, Jill saw a need in our community for easy access to fresh, nutritious prepared meals for people who wanted to keep up with their nutritional needs but were too busy to come home and prepare meals themselves. Jill seized the moment and opened Commit to Well, preparing and distributing meals out of the YWCA kitchen. Her clients are both young and old, some have special dietary restrictions and just want to maintain better overall health and wellness. Since its founding, Commit to Well has been donating to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, United Memorial Hospital, and the YWCA’s Safe House. When a family arrives at our Safe House, they can put one worry aside and not have to think about what they are going to prepare for dinner. Jill’s meals welcome them so they can focus on settling in, feeling safe and eating a healthy meal as they begin to build a new life free from abuse. We are so thankful for you and your generosity!

Jill, would you please stand to be recognized for being a Woman-Owned Business that provides a healthy way of eating to the community and also for your charitable giving to local agencies including the YWCA’s Safe House.

Our next award recipient is The Rotary Club of Batavia! The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and this was clearly evidenced in late February of 2019. President Laurie Mastin called me and said that we were being awarded a small grant to “fix-up” the Safe House. What happened next was something right out of a movie. I received another phone call not long after the first and Laurie said they received a District Designated Matching Grant, doubling our funding, and (and being the keyword) the Rotarians wanted to do a hands-on project and complete all the work! As Laurie put it …. “We are People of Action.” The project commenced in February and took almost eight weeks to complete. Every room of the house was tended to with love, care, strength, and old-fashion elbow grease. Rotarians, staff and board members worked side by side, and after hours of coordinated efforts to repair and replace items in need from the roof to the basement, the “Safe House” was transformed into a “Safe Home.” Their commitment, energy, and “get it done” philosophy created a home where families escaping abuse will find warmth, shelter, and safety while they work to rebuild their lives.

We have built an unbreakable bond of friendship with this amazing group of people from Rotary.

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