Marsha Niazmand Bio
Marsha joined AWIU in 2004 and became an active member in the Chicago chapter. She participated in AWIU’s delegation to Japan. In 2011, Marsha joined the AWIU Board and, a year later, she began working on the Grant Committee. Under Marsha’s leadership, the AWIU Grant Program changed its focus from supporting US- based program to supporting “in country” grants to grassroots groups of women from developing countries. In 2017, the AWIU Grant Program supported 17 organizations, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua to Tanzania in addition to the 13 US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage. The AWIU Grant Program is supported by the Sponsors and Patrons of the International Women of Courage Celebration.
Marsha earned her BS from Penn State and her MSW from the University of Chicago. She spent her career as a social worker for the Chicago Board of Education. She retired in 2007 and now devotes much of her time to volunteer, from AWIU and beyond. She is the board of the Southeast Evanston Association, the Irving Park Food Pantry, and the Community Animal Rescue Effort, and am active as a foot soldier with the Democratic Party of Evanston, and First United Methodist Church of Evanston.
“It’s been very gratifying to reshape AWIU’s grant model from one which provided a small number of grants to one or two individuals annually to one which enables grassroots women’s groups in developing countries to pursue programs which are relevant to them,” Marsha says about her work on the AWIU Grant Program. “In the course of doing, this I’ve learned so much about the conditions women experience throughout the world. In addition to enabling them to improve their lives, I hope it also gives them a sense of sisterhood with American women and presents them with an impression of the United States as a generous and enabling nation.”Marsha Niazmand