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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2011
Scholarly Presentation Introduces Concept of 'Naked Philanthropy'
How far would you go to support a cause, or organization you believed in? For the group of 11 middle-aged British women who bared their bodies to pose in a calendar supporting cancer research, the answer was altogether simple, controversial and inspiring.
Appearing in nothing more than pearls and a smile, the imaginative group of Rylstone Women's Institute members who first conceived the nude calendar idea sparked a cultural phenomenon in the United Kingdom that has raised more the $4 million to date -- and simultaneously reinvigorated a 95-year-old organization.
Affectionately known as the “Calendar Girls,” the women have toured the world, met the Queen of England -- herself a Women’s Institute member -- appeared in countless newspaper and magazine articles, and even seen their story popularized on the big screen in the 2003 film of the same name.
But perhaps most importantly, these women have provided countless lessons that can be applied to the operational practices of all non-profit groups, and replicated by organizations around the world.
“This presentation will be focused on the lessons learned from these woman, which can be implemented by any group of people who want to do some good, but who might be in need of a creative way to recruit members and get excited about a cause,” said presenter and College of the Canyons sociology instructor Mary Valentine. “In the process there will be lots of other fun stories to tell about these extraordinary and inventive women.”
The College of the Canyons Scholarly Presentation “Naked Philanthropy” will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, on the main stage of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).
Drawing from more than 15-years of independent research and in-depth interviews with group members, along with unique behind-the-scenes stories, photos and videos, the evening will include a sociologically inspired examination of the UK’s ongoing Calendar Girls phenomenon along with a message of inspiration of all non-profit organizations.
“Naked Philanthropy isn’t simply the act of not wearing clothes. Instead it’s a metaphor for having figured out how to marshal effective strategies, whatever they may be, in order to make a difference in society,” said Valentine. “It’s about choosing a cause, and indentifying the techniques needed to make that cause come true.”
The Women’s Institute (WI) is the largest voluntary organization for women in the UK, boasting more than 250,000 members in approximately 5,000 WI chapters. Having celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2005, the organization strives to provide women with opportunities to build new skills, partake in a variety of activities and campaign on issues related to them and their communities.
“There aren’t many organizations in the world that naked women, and the Queen of England all belong to,” Valentine said.
Valentine joined the College of the Canyons sociology department in 2004 and has taught a variety of sociology courses, including Introduction to Women’s Studies, Introduction to Research Methods, Social Problems and Honors Sociology.
She holds a master of arts in sociology from California State University, Northridge, and is a certified mediator from the Center for Dispute Resolution in Santa Monica.
The scholarly presentation “Naked Philanthropy” is being presented by the College of the Canyons Foundation. Admission to the event is free, however seating may be limited.
Attendees can also park for free in college lots 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, located off Rockwell Canyon Road adjacent to the PAC.
A pre-presentation reception sponsored by the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees will be held in the PAC lobby beginning at 6 p.m. the evening of the event.
For more information contact the College of the Canyons Foundation at (661) 362-3434.