by Kevin Osborne
Other winners include U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
A well-known Cincinnati philanthropist
is among four people selected to receive the first-ever Women of Distinction
Award by the national YWCA.
Francie Pepper is being
recognized for her years of work in support of issues involving women, girls
and racial justice.
Pepper has served on the
board of the Cincinnati YWCA since 1996, and also served as chair of its board
from 2000-04. She has played a critical role for women who have experienced
domestic violence, co-chairing a YWCA capital campaign that raised $7.5 million
for a larger shelter that tripled the agency’s capacity to serve battered women
and their children so they wouldn’t have to be put on a waiting list.
Also, some campaign funds
were used to restore the YWCA’s historic headquarters, located on Walnut Street
downtown, add a childcare center to the facility.
Further, Pepper has volunteered
for numerous organizations and causes in Greater Cincinnati, and her work in
support of domestic violence awareness programs has gotten national
recognition. She is a major supporter of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith
College, an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives,
photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women's history, including
all of the YWCA’s historical files.
Francie Pepper is the wife of
John Pepper, who previously served as the chairman of the board at both Procter
& Gamble and The Walt Disney Co.; she is the mother of David Pepper, a
former Cincinnati city councilman and Hamilton County commissioner.
The Women of Distinction
Award, bestowed by the YWCA USA, honors professional women from the private and
public sectors across the United States who have demonstrated excellence,
leadership and integrity in their fields and in the community, serving as role
models for other successful women.
Nominations from YWCAs across
the United States were solicited to find leaders whose work has made an impact
on women’s economic empowerment and racial justice.
Other award recipients this
• Congresswoman Gabrielle
Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived an assassination attempt in January 2011, and
is recovering from her injuries;
• Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth,
an Iraq War veteran and ex-Army helicopter pilot who combat wounds led to the
amputation of her legs and cost her the use of her right arm; and• Elouise Cobell, a Native
American leader who challenged the United States' mismanagement of trust funds
belonging to more than 500,000 individual Native Americans, leading to a $3.4