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WMU launches O’Brien award for leadership development


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–The formation of the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development was announced May 8 during a Founder’s Day celebration at Woman’s Missionary Union national headquarters in Birmingham, Ala.
The announcement was made by June Whitlow, WMU senior associate executive director, on behalf of the WMU executive board and WMU Foundation. The award will be underwritten by an endowed fund, which is managed by the WMU Foundation. The fund currently stands at nearly $24,000.
The announcement came during the celebration of WMU’s 110th anniversary and in anticipation of O’Brien’s 10th anniversary as executive director of WMU. WMU was organized in May 1888, and O’Brien took the helm of the national organization in 1989. WMU will award the first award in 1999.
The new award, to be given annually, will recognize Baptist women who demonstrate the ability to foster leadership in other women and who display the potential to be leaders in their community and the world. The award will carry a grant to help the recipients continue their personal development and ministry to others. The size of each grant will be determined by earnings on the endowed fund.
Leadership development in women is one of O’Brien’s passions. It was that passion that lead to the creation of the Christian Women’s Job Corps, a ministry of Woman’s Missionary Union. CWJC is designed to help women living in poverty move from dependency to self-sufficiency.
In announcing the new award, Whitlow read a letter from Darold Morgan, chair of the WMU Foundation board of trustees. In the letter, Morgan said O’Brien “has served with distinction and integrity during perilous years. Her innovative ideas have energized participation in missions education.
“We commend all who make contributions (to the fund),” Morgan continued. “Only God knows the benefits that these funds will make in reaching people with Christ’s love. Only through changed hearts will there be peace in our world. We anticipate that through this fund women will multiply missions and ministry opportunities.”
O’Brien, who was surprised by the announcement, expressed her deep appreciation to all who had contributed to the fund. “You could not have done anything more pleasing to me than to help fund this award,” she said.
Contributions may be made to the O’Brien fund by sending checks to the WMU Foundation, PO Box 11346, Birmingham, AL 35202-1346. Make checks payable to the WMU Foundation.
Information about making nominations for the award may be obtained by writing the WMU Foundation at the above address; calling (205) 408-5525; or by e-mail at [email protected]
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