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Monday, November 4, 2013

Jean Moon: Someone you should know in our community

      I have been thinking of doing a series of blog posts on people you should know in our community.  Today is the first of these posts. The people I want to feature maybe well known or less well know but contributing to the better betterment of our community.  We are fortunate to have a wealth of talented and community minded persons in our area.  We draw persons to our community from all parts of our Country.  It is not unusual to find former national figures living in our community.
     Today's blog features Jean Moon.  Jean first became known to most of us through her work with the Columbia Flyer and Patuxent Publishing in the early 1970's.  But Jean brought experience in journalism with her from an early age.  She started writing articles in high school as a teen reporter for the statewide Daily Oklahoman.  Her family had relocated from California to Oklahoma when her father, an FBI agent, was transferred there.  There was some cultural adjustment moving to Oklahoma!  Her journalism experience continued when she attended Oklahoma State University as an English major.  At Oklahoma State she became the editor of the college newspaper. It was also the place she met her husband, Bob Moon, on her first day there.  After college she and Bob, an architect, moved to Milwaukee where Bob was offered a job. While in Milwaukee Jean decided to get a graduate degree in English and chose Marquette University.  She also did some part time teaching at a local college.  Bob's interest in working for the Rouse Company was what brought them to Columbia.  We are fortunate that Rouse's vision for Columbia had gained national exposure.
     During her college time she became involved in the issues of the time--the anti-war and feminism movement.  Her involvement with the anti-war movement was directed through some of the Catholic resistance activity and particularly the Christian Family Movement.  Her feminism activity was supported by her stepmother who was a physician at a time when this was not common for a woman.  This support was in contrast to her father who wanted her to go to school to be a stenographer.
     Arriving in Columbia in 1971 Jean read an early version of the Columbia Flier and thought she could write better than some of the articles in the newspaper.  She sent off a satirical article she had written with a Barbie Doll theme to the Flier.  After the editor of the Flier read the article an interview was set up and she was hired as first a freelancer, then Assistant Editor, then Editor and finally as General Manager.  Also during this time she taught a women's study course at Howard Community College. Her employment at the paper continued until 1995 when she started her own public relations firm--Jean Moon Associates.  Her wide range of community contacts through her work with the paper has led her public relations work to uniquely blend her contacts in both the business and community services worlds.  Her involvement in our community has been reflected in her involvement and leadership with the Columbia Foundation, the Columbia Festival of the Arts, and HoCoPoLitSo.  
      For all of Jean's community involvements the one that she is probably best known for is her involvement as one of the founders of the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County.  In the Fall of 2000 Jean and some other local women attended a meeting in Baltimore on women in philanthropy and a decision was made to develop a local giving circle in our area.  The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County was launched at Kahler Hall in February of 2002 with 200 women in attendance.  The early goal was to find 100 women who would pledge $1,000 a year for 5 years to have an endowment of $500,000.  After the large attendance and interest of the first meeting it was recognized that this goal might be too conservative.  Currently the Women's Giving Circle has over 1,000 donors and over $1,000,000 in pledges and donations.  While the Giving Circle has contributed to many efforts in the County to benefit women  they are best known for a couple of their projects. The first is their camp called Journey which is described on their website as a camp for "......rising 8th and 9th grade girls.... who attend this overnight camp focusing on leadership, empowerment, communication, self-awareness, decision-making skills and relationships."  The second is their Response Network which quickly provides grants to women and girls who have urgent financial needs.  These grants are provided through a network of local community non-profit organizations.  To date over 60 women have received over $40,000 of financial support through the Response network.  Jean and the other leaders of the Women's Giving Circle are engaged with training and supporting the next generation of young women leaders in our County.
    I have only touched on the highlights of the contributions that Jean has made to our community.  Jean is only the first of many others that I hope to profile in my effort to highlight what makes our community such a vital and rich community. If you know of someone I should highlight in this blog series shoot me an email.

     Yesterday was a glorious day for a hike in Rock Creek Park as the photos below show.



JessieX said...

Beautiful story, write up and idea, Duane. I look forward to seeing more of your profiles.

Claire said...

Lovely write up :)

Claire said...

Lovely :)