Who We Are
Who are we? How are we structured? What is our history?
Founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters (League) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that derives its strength from the energy and commitment of its members and supporters nationwide. The League encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The goal of the League is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.
The League never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for elective office. The League does, however, take positions on matters of public policy and takes action on selected matters of government concern that its membership has studied.
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) is a 501(c)(4) organization that is active and involved at the state level. It strives to promote and defend a healthy democracy and support its members and local leagues to do the same. Through its sister organization, the Lotte E. Scharfman Citizens Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, the League empowers voters through voter service and civic engagement.
The League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) is a local league of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) and the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS), and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.
Read a short History of the League of Women Voters from the LWVUS website, and a more in depth history as compiled by LWVN’s Linda Morrison.
We invite and encourage all persons age 16 years and older to join us!
Principles of the League of Women Voters
The principles consist of concepts of government supported by the League as a whole and constitute the authorization for adoption of national, state and local Programs.
The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States. The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that all powers of the U.S. government should be exercised within the constitutional framework of a balance among the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.
The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation in government and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.
The League of Women Voters believes that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education that provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.
The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.
The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; that government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy and adopt domestic policies that facilitate the solution of international problems.
The League of Women Voters believes that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems and that development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.
Our Mission and Roles
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles:
- Voter Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.
- Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.
Our activities are guided by:
How LWVN Funds its Work
The LWVN funds its operations through membership dues and donations. A portion of membership dues are used to support national and state leagues, so donations are important to help support our activities. Donations can be made to the LWVN, the LWVMA, or the State Scharfman Education Fund.
Donations to the LWVMA: The LWVN uses funds from the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, a 501(c)(4) organization, to support our work to increase understanding of major policy issues through education and advocacy. Contributions to this fund is not tax- deductible.
Donations to the State Scharfman Education Fund: The LWVN uses funds from the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Scharfman Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization, to conduct voter service and citizen education activities. Contributions to this fund are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
The Lotte E. Scharfman Memorial Citizen Education Fund was established in memory of a League president who died in 1970 on her forty-second birthday. Lotte Scharfman was a refugee who escaped with her family from Austria during World War II, and who devoted her life to working for the democratic process and to helping citizens gain access to government. She is widely credited with coining the phrase, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”