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Women's advocacy groups combine fund-raising efforts

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Thousands of women in New York and other major cities turn to various women's advocacy groups for specific kinds of assistance and service. Many of these organizations render the kind of help that is offered nowhere else in the city. This could include helping to keep vital day-care centers open as well as counseling women coming out of prison.

Yet many advocacy groups have inadequate offices, operate with volunteer staffs and borrowed equipment, and are traditionally underfunded.

Fifteen such groups in New York City have recently formed the Women's Funding Coalition to effect joint fund raising. Through work-site solicitation and jointly sponsored charitable benefits, they all stand to gain some financial help.

The coalition was formed to counteract the underfunding of women's programs by public and private sources and the federal cutbacks that have struck hard at services to women.

The coalition, which has been endorsed by Carol Bellamy, president of the New York City Council, now is working on incorporation and the securing of tax-exempt status. It is approaching foundations for money to rent an office and hire a small staff to administer its program.

At the end of this month, the coalition is also sponsoring a training workshop for its own members on workplace solicitation, especially hoping to set in place payroll deduction plans. ''We would like people to have the option of pledging their charitable dollars to women's programs,'' Virginia Cornue explains. ''Experience has shown us that when people have a broader choice of programs to pledge to, overall giving goes up markedly.''

Most of the groups in the coalition now depend on membership dues for operating monies. These are never sufficient to cover the wide range of educational and assistance programs they are struggling to carry on.


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