Past Events


MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016

BCWAC Board of Directors Annual Retreat

The BCWAC Board of Directors met at Pennswood Village for their Annual Retreat. The
focus of this year’s retreat was the ongoing work to establish a long term strategy that supports
our continued growth, visibility, and impact.

2016 Annual Board Retreat


Our Call to Action

The Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition’s Annual Meeting

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: James Lorah Auditorium, 132 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA 18901
Guest Speaker: Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia

Attendees enjoyed an afternoon of delicious hors d’oeuvres, engage and network with others, get a chance to win a door prize, and hear an inspiring call to come together to conquer injustice and inequality, with a keynote address about the importance of advocating for women and girls delivered by Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia.

Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, first elected in November 2007, is serving her third term on the Board of Commissioners. A lifelong resident of Bucks County, she was raised in Lower Makefield, and now resides in Middletown Township, where she served her community on both the Neshaminy School Board and the Middletown Township Board of Supervisors.

Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia, a clinical social worker, worked with children and families in Bucks County for over two decades and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to County government where human services are a primary function. With a reputation for demanding responsible government spending, Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia has advocated for greater transparency and ethics. As the minority member of the Board of Commissioners, she accepts the responsibility for researching and vetting all county actions, and actively advocates for improvement or changes to policies and programs that are ineffective or inefficient for residents.

Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia is the county representative to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Bucks County Emergency Health Council, and the Local Emergency Planning Commission.

During her tenure, Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia has championed programs including Code Blue, specialty courts, and Crisis Intervention Training. She has promoted dredging of the Delaware River at the KIPC Port, improved response to mental health and substance abuse issues in the prison, and led in developing a response to feral cats, Hoarding Task Force and Suicide Task Force.

Commissioner Ellis-Marseglia holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, (Sociology, Criminal Justice), and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the mother of two children, Rebecca (deceased) and Katelyn, 25.


Perspectives on Issues Relevant to Bucks County Women

On January 19, 2016, Pennswood Village, a caring community guided by Quaker principles and traditions that leads the way in the provision of residential and healthcare services to those age 65 and older, hosted the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition (BCWAC), a non-partisan coalition of more than 150 individual and 38 organization partners that empower, educate and advocate together to promote gender equality and economic self-sufficiency for all, as a part of Pennswood’s Speaker Series Forum.

Several experts from the Coalition presented perspectives on three issues that significantly impact the economic self-sufficiency of Bucks County women and their families.

The relationship between poverty and domestic violence can be described as a downward spiral. “When financial abuse has been part of the relationship, 7 out of 8 women who leave seeking safety are likely to go back,” shared Ifeoma Aduba, executive director of A Woman’s Place (AWP). AWP offers financial education and career development programs to help break the abusive cycle.

The average total cost of caregiving to a women caregiver in terms of lost or reduced wages, pension benefits and social security payments is $324,044. A devastating impact to the caregiver’s short and long term economic health, according to Lois Tobin, Deputy Director at Bucks County Area Agency on Aging.

Marlene Piasecki, Director Program Planning at Bucks County Family Service Association, spoke about the “invisibility” of homeless people in Bucks County, how 37% are women many with children, and there is a lack of enough affordable housing in the county.

“Events like these help the BCWAC inform our citizens of the barriers that women in our communities face in trying to achieve economic self-sufficiency. We are grateful to Pennswood Village for the opportunity to engage with their residents on such an important topic” said BCWAC President Tam St. Claire.

If you are interested in helping the Coalition advocate for systemic change, visit our website at

Pennswood Forum

Tam St Claire, Ifeoma Aduba, Lois Tobin, Marlene Piasecki


The Economics of Caregiving, a symposium

Friday October 30, 2015

“Who Cares? The Economics of Caregiving,” a day-long symposium, was held Friday, October 30, 2015 at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA.

Attended by caregivers, employers, legislators and advocates this symposium was hosted by the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition, A Woman’s Place, The Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, Aging and Adult Services of Montgomery County and the Bucks-Mont Collaborative.

The Symposium, the first ever of its kind in Pennsylvania, brought  together more than 200 people who provided insights into the economic burdens borne by caregivers, and stimulated solutions and reforms for an improved economic support system in the Commonwealth.  Speakers included the current Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Aging, David Gingerich; Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging, Brian M. Duke; Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development,  Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Diane Bosak; Deputy Secretary, Office of Long-Term Living, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Jen Burnett; the President/CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving, Gail Gibson Hunt (Keynoter); current Members of the Pennsylvania Legislature; elected and appointed local and state public officials; President of the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Dan Bates; and representatives of other public and private organizations.

The symposium was made possible thanks to the generous support of:

  • Pennsylvania LINK
  • Pennsylvania Department of Aging
  • St. Mary Medical Center
  • LIFE St. Mary
  • North Penn Community Health Foundation
  • The Montgomery County Foundation Inc.
  • VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn
  • Community Foundation of New Jersey
  • The First National Bank & Trust Co. of Newtown

A final report will be written to summarize all that was presented, as well as to highlight additional metrics and goals to be utilized by those continuing to work on recommendations for change. A link to this final report will be posted on this website.

We are grateful to Felicity Skidmore who will author this report. Felicity comes to this effort with a significant background in technical writing; editing; preparation of project reports, briefs, annual reports and plans; and has written numerous articles and technical papers for federal, state and local sources during her 40+ career as a writer and editor.


Friday September 25, 2015

At the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition’s bi-monthly meeting attendees were provide with a stimulating presentation by representatives of CeaseFirePA entitled Gun Violence Prevention Forum. Shira Goodman, Executive Director, and Fritz Walker, Board of Directors, shared statistics, insights and information about gun violence and related laws, nationally and in Pennsylvania. According to Mr. Walker, 46 women on average are fatally shot every month by intimate partners, stalkers and other family members and 57% of mass shootings involve intimate partners and other family members. The victims are most often women and children. This is a health and safety issue. BCWAC is joining with CeaseFirePA to advocate for sensible gun safety laws that will protect women and children.

Photo_BCWAC full coaition meeting_092515

Shira Goodman, Executive Director CeaseFirePA; Tam St Claire, Chairperson, Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition; Fritz Walker, member of Board of Directors of CeaseFirePA, Lehigh Valley team lead for Everytown for Gun Safety, and sate Gun Violence Prevention lead for Organizing for America.

Wednesday May 27, 2015

At the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition annual meeting, Call to Action, at the James-Lorah Memorial House in Doylestown, attendees enjoyed an afternoon of delicious hors d’oeuvres and an inspiring call to come together to conquer injustice and inequality. The keynote address about the importance of advocating for women and girls was delivered by Estelle Richman.

Richman is the former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. She recently retired as senior advisor to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for health and human services issues. While at HUD, she held the positions of chief operating officer and acting deputy secretary, overseeing goal setting and outcomes measurement for all major departments as well as authority of regional offices. The BCWAC presented Estelle Richman with our Nancy P. Morrill Award for her efforts to advance the economic self-sufficiency of women.

Read more about this event published in the Bucks County Herald: Estelle Richman Inspires Women’s Advocacy Group



Conversation With Elected Officials 2015

At our Conversation With Elected Officials  on Friday, April 10, 2015, Coalition partners, elected officials, and other citizens participated in a facilitated discussion and listened to the keynote address delivered by Dr. Judith A. Levine, professor at Temple University College of Liberal Arts and author of Ain’t No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends, and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters. Judith  shared some of the research behind her conclusions and relate them to public policy options.


Individual and organization Partners attended the BCWAC Annual Strategy Meeting on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at Pennswood Village for a lively discussion of priorities and review of our guiding principles.

Strategy meeting 05Strategy meeting 08Strategy meeting 10Strategy meeting



Our Call To Action- BCWAC Annual Meeting 2014

From Left: Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, Tam Saint Claire, Ifeoma Aduba, Nancy Morrill

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Our Call to Action: Annual Meeting of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition

4:00 – 6:00 p.m. James-Lorah Memorial Home Auditorium 132 North Main Street Doylestown, PA 18901 (Free parking is available in the Bucks County Parking Garage located on Broad Street, with additional entrances on Union and Doyle Streets.)

Enjoy an afternoon of delicious hors d’oeuvres and an inspiring call to come together to conquer injustice and inequality, with a keynote address about the role of the community college in the development of women in Bucks County delivered by Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, President of Bucks County Community College.


Friday, April 4, 2014

A Conversation With Elected Officials

At its 6th Annual Conversation With Elected Officials, the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition and co-sponsor BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship heard Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project, speak about the PA Agenda for Women’s Health, a package of bills introduced by the bipartisan Women’s Health Caucus of the Pennsylvania Legislature under the co-chairmanship of Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks), Senator Judy Schwank and Representative Dan Frankel.  This is a proactive, positive approach of a dozen legislative bills to improve the health of women.

At the 2014 Conversation With Elected Officials: From left. Kathy Beveridge, First Vice President, Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women's Law Project, Nancy Morrill, President, and Tam St. Claire, First Vice President.

At the 2014 Conversation With Elected Officials: (from left) Kathy Beveridge, First Vice President, Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project, Nancy Morrill, President, and Tam St. Claire, First Vice President.

Tracy elaborated on the direct impact of discrimination, bias and the consequences of inequality upon women’s health.  Pennsylvania ranks 32nd among all states and is ranked unsatisfactory by the National Women’s Law Project and the Oregon Health and Science University in critical areas related to women’s health. Eighty percent of rape victims suffer from chronic physical or psychological conditions over time. Poverty, caretaking duties, and workplace inequities burden women disproportionally in causing a host of physical and mental health conditions.

Other health-related topics were raised by the audience with the Bucks County Legislators in attendance: Senator Stewart Greenleaf; Representatives Tina Davis, Marguerite Quinn, Steve Santarsiero, and Gene DiGirolamo; Commissioners Ellis-Marseglia and Martin; and Representatives of US Senators Casey and Toomey’s and Congressman Fitzpatrick’s offices.  The discussion included efforts around human trafficking, gun safety, Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, campus safety, domestic violence, victims of crime, needs of pregnant women, and LGBT needs.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition Strategic Planning Meeting
Pennswood Village, Newtown
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


ACA Rollout Seminar






September 13, 2013

It was standing room only at the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition’s two seminars on the Affordable Care Act – ACA (ObamaCare) Rollout: What Every Agency and Professional Needs to Know. This powerhouse seminar was co-sponsored by BCWAC, the Bucks County Health Improvement Project, St. Mary Medical Center, and the Bucks Women Initiative of United Way of Bucks County.


May 7, 2013
Annual Advocacy Day in Harrisburg


April 5, 2013
Conversation With Elected Officials

Press Coverage in the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer
Women’s Coalition, Lawmakers Seek to Mitigate Cliff Effect


November 17, 2012
Coalition Strategic Planning Session

Partners meet for annual BCWAC strategic planning Sen. Chuck McIlhinney receives BCWAC appreciation from Nancy Morrill.
Partners discuss BCWAC strategic planning. Sen. Chuck McIlhinney receives appreciation for his work on the Cliff Effect from BCWAC Chair Nancy Morrill.