My friend, Kathleen Hennessy, reminded me of the deadline (today, Oct. 1, 2010, naturally) for submission of photo essays for the social activist award from PhotoPhilanthropy. This is brilliant idea and a great organization “promotes and connects photographers with non-profit organizations around the world to tell the stories that drive action for social change.”

I spent yesterday and today putting together a photo essay, Leah’s Dream. It features photographs from my visit to witness Leah’s graduation from La Salle University in Osamis City in 2007.

Leah Mamhot spends time with her classmates before her last final exam at La Salle University in Ozamis City on Mindanao in the Philippines. Leah graduated in elementary education in 2007 and now works as a teacher near her village, Sinacaban, on Mindanao.

PhotoPhilanthropy offers a number of awards in different categories. I entered in the category for professional photographers and first prize is $15,000. Imagine how many scholarships and how much good work we could do with that money.

And it’s a win-win scenario. My photography and the work of Isis Initiative, Inc. will be featured on PhotoPhilanthropy’s website.

Thank you to Kathleen and PhotoPhilanthropy and to all the featured photographers for the work they do to contribute to social change. And thank you for the opportunity to share our work and commitment to provide access to higher education for women who have the desire but not the resources to get a college degree.


On the Upbeat

July 7, 2010

Natasha Chughtai, a reporter and an anchor on KVAL-TV in Eugene, Oregon, interviewed me in May for a profile on Isis Initiative, Inc. for her weekly broadcast “On the Upbeat.” It aired Friday, July 2, 2010. Thank you, Natasha. And thank you to Lynn Walker for telling Natasha about our work. You can view broadcast by clicking on this link:

“A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labor exploitation and disease, and given them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential.” — Audrey Hepburn

My friend, Theresa Hogue, who works at Oregon State University, posted this on Facebook today. Thank you, Theresa.

Ms. Hepburn’s insight is perfect for International Women’s Day. And it speaks perfectly to the mission of Isis Initiative, Inc. It speaks to the power of education. I would add “the power of educating women.”

People Helping People

October 27, 2009

Dear Ms. Hatch,

Thank you for your mail.  I have kept track of your success.
Congratulations for receiving your 501 (C) (3) status! It’s exciting to
watch your dream come true and by doing so, you’re helping others
achieve their dreams.

Thank you also for taking the time to acknowledge Louise and Shannon for
their efforts to help you with your financial needs.  Louise and Shannon
are real professionals and love to be of help to our members.  We are
very proud of our staff and their efforts to help our members achieve
their goals.  It’s especially pleasing when members take time to say

Thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your dream.  The credit
union industry’s motto has long been “people helping  people”.  It most
gratifying to here of your success with helping people obtain an
education and know that we played a part in that success.

Best wishes,


Richard S. Hein
OSU Federal, Your Community Credit Union
PO Box 306, Corvallis, Oregon 97339
541-714-4200, 541-714-4185 (fax)

Belated Birthday

September 7, 2009

I haven’t been able to reach Leah yet. I’m sure she’s OK. She’d have no reason to be on a ferry these days, although she has traveled by ferry in the past. School’s in session and with the +15 hour time change, it’s tricky to catch her outside the classroom.

I remembered her birthday is in August. When I spoke with her recently I asked for her birthdate. She said August 15.

I called her on August 15–the day after our last board meeting–to tell her we’d chosen Marethel Guinsayao as our scholarship recipient. I asked Leah to extend our congratulations to Marethel….and did not wish her a happy birthday.

Last year I sent her a card and a small gift plenty early enough to reach her before her birthday. I enjoy sending cards and good wishes and I’ve always been good at remembering and delivering them. This year, for whatever reason, my calendar has been unreliable.

Talking to Leah on her birthday and not wishing her a happy birthday sent a message loud and clear. Get organized, Cheryl. Get back on track.

I went to my local independent bookstore, Grass Roots Books and Music, and ordered a date book to keep a record of the birthdays and anniversaries of my friends.

I’ll have it this week.

I’m sending Leah a card, a gift and my belated birthday wishes.

Please join me in wishing Leah a happy birthday.

It’s a Start

July 9, 2009

Isis Initiative President Cheryl Hatch and Treasurer Samanda Dorger received a shout out in the Ohio University alumni magazine, Ohio Today (Summer 2009, page 41).

Isis Initiative President Cheryl Hatch and Treasurer Samanda Dorger received a shout out in the Ohio University alumni magazine, Ohio Today (Summer 2009, page 41).

I had pitched a story about Isis Initiative to Ms. Mariel Jungkunz, the editor of Ohio Today magazine, earlier this year. We exchanged e-mails and spoke on the phone. She said she liked the story and thought it would appeal to the magazine’s readers. She couldn’t promise it would make the next issue, though. She had a number of strong stories competing for space.

We didn’t get a story; we did get a mention in the back of the magazine in alumni news.

Samanda and I met in 1997 when we both studied at Ohio University in the renowned graduate program in the School of Visual Communication. With committed perseverance, we both completed and defended our thesis projects and received our Master of Arts degrees.

After a long career in photojournalism, I decided to focus on my work with women and education. I took the plunge and I created Isis Initiative, Inc. When I asked Sam if she’d be help me, she stepped up and agreed to be our treasurer.

I will continue to pitch the story and follow up with Ms. Jungkunz. I believe in our story and our mission; I think it’s important to share it. Every story helps generate awareness. Awareness generates interest. Interest generates support.

Help us get noticed. Please feel free to use the contact info below and pitch our story, too. Write: Ohio Today, 102 Scott Quad, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701-2979

E-mail: • Fax: (740) 593-1887 • Phone: (740) 593-1891

Thank you.

As I was putting the final touches on our Form 1023 for the the IRS, I discovered that our application would eventually become public record.

Hang on.

As a career journalist, I realized I wanted our documents and our narrative to be picture perfect. At the last minute, I reached out to my friend Martha Anderson, who is a professional copy editor with a long and accomplished career working for the Oregon state legislature.

Martha and I were journalism majors at Oregon State University and worked together at the student newspaper, The Daily Barometer. She was the editor and I was a reporter and photographer. Martha’s daughter, Alice, is on our board of directors. Our friendship spans more than two decades.

Martha has a heavy and demanding workload. Yet, when I asked her if she’d be willing to look over our documents with her keen copy editor’s eye, she agreed. On a Sunday afternoon, when she could have been working in her garden or reading a book…or plain relaxing…she took the time and the care to honor a friend’s request. 

Now I feel confident submitting our application. I know it’s been finely polished and handled with care.

Thank you, Martha.