Royal Neighbors of America, one of the largest and first women-led insurance organizations in the U.S., located in Rock Island, Ill., has announced Erin Hottenstein, founder of Colorado 50-50, Fort Collins, CO, has been presented with one of ten Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment awards and grants presented nationwide. In addition to the award, she received a $10,000 grant for her organization. Formed in 2017 by a circle of women in Fort Collins, Colorado 50-50 is a nonpartisan, educational group that believes office-holders – whether elected or appointed – should more closely reflect the population. The organization aims to strengthen civic engagement by facilitating discussions, so people feel empowered to participate in politics through exercising their right to vote, running for office, or supporting a candidate. To date, more than 600 people have participated in 15 events in eight locations.
According to the Center for Women and Politics, the number of women in municipal office hovers around 30%. “This data motivates me to inspire women to get on a path to leadership,” said Hottenstein. “Colorado and the world need the voices of women of all political stripes, women of color, and all those who are underrepresented in government and other positions of power. As a society, we make better policy decisions when there are diverse voices at the table.”
“Erin encourages, supports, trains and celebrates women who run for elective office in Colorado,” said Darcy Smith, Senior Member Engagement Specialist at Royal Neighbors. “She understands the importance of motivating and supporting young women who show an interest in serving their community, and the action she takes aligns with the same mission Royal Neighbors has lived since 1895.”
The grant from Royal Neighbors will be used to hire an attorney and nonprofit consultant and fund more trainings, marketing, and internship stipends. “I really want to express my gratitude to all the people who have helped us,” stated Hottenstein. “It’s really a community effort to inspire that next wave of women leaders!”
Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that awards financial assistance to nominated individuals who plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, nearly $2.5 million has been awarded nationwide.