Close to 90 members of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Society and their guests gathered to hear Marlo Thomas discuss “The Power of Women to Make a Difference” May 8 at Manhattan’s Columbus Citizens Foundation.
Mary Young, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region’s Metro New York North chapter, opened the evening by thanking outgoing co-chairs Elisa Rapaport and Erika Millet, and introducing Jill Coyle, incoming Greater NY Tiffany Regional Chair.
Coyle, a Metro New York North and Tiffany board member and a longtime Red Cross supporter, said she believes the Greater New York Red Cross region “Has a unique population of powerful, smart, capable women, who want to see the impact of our philanthropic investment as fellow stewards of the Red Cross.”
Nancy Armstrong then introduced clips from the 2013 documentary film, “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” about the struggle for women's equality in the U.S. during the last five decades of the 20th century. The film was shown by PBS this past February. Armstrong, who is also a Metro New York North board member and Tiffany circle member, is a Makers web producer.
Marlo Thomas, award-winning author, actress, producer, activist and Maker, then took the podium. Thomas said she had always had a soft place in her heart for the Red Cross, explaining that her dad, actor Danny Thomas, performed behind front lines in the USO during World War II.
“We didn’t carry the guns, but we did heal the boys who did,” she said her dad explained to her when she was a child. “He said, ‘Always remember, sweetheart, right after the Red Cross came the USO.’”
“So there’s a really long connection between the people of my industry and the Red Cross,” Thomas said.
She went on to illuminate her role as creator, producer and actor on “That Girl, the TV series that ran from 1966 to 1971, and portrayed a single woman and aspiring actress living in New York City. The show is often credited with being an early indicator and influencer in the changing roles of American women. Thomas, however, said she didn’t feel “That Girl” was revolutionary at all.
“I used to get letters from grandmothers saying, ‘Don’t marry Donald [her TV boyfriend], go get your career,’” she said.
In discussing the “Maker” initiative, Thomas told the audience, “Seize the work that is still to be done—like having an equal voice in our political system, or getting equal pay for women. You are among the group who are the next Makers.”
The Tiffany Circle and Greater New York Red Cross wish to thank the Columbus Citizens Foundation for hosting the event.
About the Tiffany Circle:
The Tiffany Circle is a society of women leaders and philanthropists. By investing $10,000 annually in their local American Red Cross chapters, these women follow in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training and countless other community assistance services.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.