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We are dedicated to improving the lives of women, girls and all members of the communities of Winnebago County through philanthropy, grant making and education.

 

Women's Fund Blog:

In Her Corner

Arline Sitter Fund

ArlineSitterWhen Arline Sitter puts her mind to something, she’s unstoppable.  An active community volunteer, she has a warm, ready laugh and a ‘can-do’ spirit.  But, she wasn’t always so comfortable in public role.


“I was a mouse,” Sitter says, laughing as she thinks back to her first days at First National Bank (now USBank).  “My boss made me take a speech course at the university.  We had to get in front of that class every day and pound on the podium.  It was the world’s best thing for me.  It just changed my life.  I got over my shyness.  My boss was so encouraging.”


Sitter would repay the kindness with loyalty, one of her trademarks.  She stayed with the bank 51 years, before retiring as Vice President of Personal Banking in 1994.  Her career included 50 years of perfect attendance.


She is equally loyal to community organizations, volunteering with Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin for more than 50 years.  She is also 50-year member of the Altrusa and Twentieth Century Clubs.  And, when she talks, you can tell immediately that the Women’s Fund is a passion.


“I believe in it,” Sitter said of the Women’s Fund, which supports projects that benefit women and children.  “This thing is going to grow—and grow in a big way—and we’re going to be able to do things.  There’s so much that can be done.”


Sitter connected her passion with her purse, setting up the Arline Sitter Fund, under the umbrella of the Women’s Fund.  She is anything but shy about explaining why.


“We’ve got a lot of needy people here in Oshkosh,” Sitter said.  “We need to get more women to put the Women’s Fund in their wills or donate their IRAs.  There are a lot of women in Oshkosh and they control a lot of money.  We’ve got to get our message out that we can do big things with more money.  I’ve seen what other women are doing and can do.”


That enthusiasm, passion and drive make this formerly shy, farm girl a powerful advocate for women and children in our community.  


I believe in it.  I’m sure that we’re going to be going great guns.  We’ve got some


There are so many needs right this minute—however many dollars we have, there’s so many more dollars that we could spend for things that could and should be done.  Not everything can be done at one time.  We can only go so far right now, because we don’t have enough money.


Family in rochester, Larsen, gray’s lake, IL,


I’ve got just the neatest family—it’s wonderful.  They’ve all done well and each one is proud of the other one.  We were just farmers, but they’ve all got good bringing up. 


I’ve lived in Oshkosh all my life—my father had a farm (Ripple Road now) and he raised cattle and strawberries.  We used to do strawberries—I would pick 100 quarts a day.  We sold them.  Fernaus’ would buy all my father’s strawberries.  My mother wouldn’t allow any one that wasn’t perfect to be sold.


I had a wonderful growing up time…


I actually started at the bank before I graduated from high school.  My grades were good and it was during the War and the lady called the high school for somebody who was good in bookkeeping and accounting and that was me.  When I got to see these machines with 8 million moving parts.  I graduated in June and started May 6 on my birthday…


The bank was so good to me.  I had the world’s best boss.  She wanted me to further my education while I was working at the bank.  I was a mouse.  She made me take a speech course at the university.  We had to get in front of that class every day and pound on the podium and it was the world’s best thing for me.  It just changed my life.  I got over my shyness.  She was so encouraging.


While I am working, I had about 15 years of American Institute of Banking classes, always nighttime classes, pre-standard, standard and graduate certificate.  The year I graduated, I was one of the top 10 students in the United States.  Remember this is a long-time ago, 60 years ago.  Women were at a lower level then.  That Emma Steinke, my boss, was an officer of the bank was unusual.  She just encouraged me; had me learn one job after another.  I just loved every day—I really loved being in the bank.  It was such a man’s world at that time.  I was the first girl that ever worked in the statement department. 


I worked there 51 years, 50 years of perfect attendance.  It certainly had to be hard—and they didn’t have all the equipment.  I’ve been so blessed with good health all my life—life is good.


Booking, teller, asst. VP, retired in 1994—VP in the personal banking department


Worked in the Women’s Department…it was really a man’s bank back in the beginning—anything we could help women to do--we just loved it.  Emma Steinke made such a different in my life.  She was the one who started finance forums for women.  I only worked with her as an assistant for one year.  She saw something in me that I didn’t know was there and she encouraged me so much.


Finance forums—we would have really large crowds.  We’d have them at the Athearn Hotel.  It was a good service.  We were the first bank in town that had a program to take people on bus trips to pretty places in the state, Branson, you really got to know your customers.


What has been the nicest thing of all—some of my customers remember me and they say how they miss me.  It’s so nice—it was a good way of getting to know an awful lot of peple.  It was in a very visible part—I was right there, everyone had to walk past my desk to get to the tellers. 


I was with United Way (United Fund, back then)—they had Metropolitan Division, I’ve had so many experiences in different divisions.  Because they encourage you to be active in the community, you got to meet so many different people.


Andrew Swinney really got me going in the (WF).  It was his dream to get this started in Oshkosh.  Well, I’m awfully glad we did.  He really got me started—I believe in it.  He was very excited about having something like this started in Oshkosh.  Just for the little while we are going—we’ve made great strides—we know some things are coming.  We’re going to be talking more about having us named in people’s wills.  This thing is going to grow—and grow in a big way—and we’re going to be able to do things.


There’s so much that can be done. 


I believe in it.  I’m sure that we’re going to be going great guns.  We’ve got some


There are so many needs right this minute—however many dollars we have, there’s so many more dollars that we could spend for things that could and should be done.  Not everything can be done at one time.  We can only go so far right now, because we don’t have enough money.


There are a lot of groups that do a little bit toward these things, but it takes a lot of dollars to really get some of these programs going.  We’ve got a lot of needy people here in Oshkosh.  Areas where there could be lots done, but it takes dollars and ideas.  I’m really quite impressed with our board.  We’ve got some impressive people on our board.  It’s a great group of gals to work with…


I want more women to know about us—I really think when people find out what we do—then they’ll become interested in and contribute to our cause and come up with suggestions.  An awful lot of people don’t know about us yet.  Anybody who’s on the board talks about it a lot. There’s a lot of different ages and interests and financial status on different members.  We’re covering the waterfront slowly, but a lot more people need to know about it. 


Just think about CF growing in the last few years.  You see their name on projects.  There’s a lot of women in Oshkosh and they control a lot of money.  We’ve got to get our message out that we can do big things with more money.


I do feel strongly about it—I’ve been alone so long—my husbands’ been dead a long time.  I’ve seen what other women are doing and can do. 


Our goal right now is to get more people interested…if they would share a little of their estate with us…if enough do it, we can do great things.  There’s so many areas that women have been held back (men take care of men really good, but don’t always take care of women)…


United Way, American Cancer Society, Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin,


ACS—on board, Daffodil run (no local unit here anymore)—the only one around us is GB and there is one in Milwaukee


United Way—received Life Service Award—I’ve been so lucky over the years, 20th Century Club


At Altrusa, I was their first 50 year member and for 20th century club, I hit my 50 years…I’ve been involved with Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh (chair of nominating, on their board).  My mother lived to be 93 and for the last 2 ½ years she was a resident of Bethel Homes.  I’ve always been interested in Bethel.  I’m active in SCORE. 


If we could get more people to consider naming us in their wills, I would be happy about that—or starting these Acorn accounts.  That’s what I started out with.


The longer I’ve been involved, the more I’m interested in it.  People who have IRA accounts, it’d be so


There’s so much that can be done—we could do just so much more…

...more donor stories

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