Mission: To provide women in financial need with an avenue to earn income through the sale of quality, handmade goods and to preserve the historic building at Charles and Pleasant streets, which has been home to the organization since 1887. To support its mission, the Woman's Industrial Exchange, founded in 1880, operates a tearoom, bakery and gift shop. The nonprofit organization is one of 30 such exchanges still in operation throughout the nation.
Latest accomplishments: After nearly going out of business in 1997, the exchange last year met its fund-raising goal of $150,000 through individual donations, a doll-house raffle and corporate and foundation support. "A Tribute to Our Grandmothers," a permanent exhibition of photographs submitted by Marylanders of their grandmothers, has been open since March 8. Included in the exhibit is a photograph of Mary Glen, a member of the first graduating class of the University of Maryland Hospital School of Nursing, and Eleanor O'Harron, a gun inspector during World World II. The exhibit is on view in the second-floor Abell Room, named for Elizabeth Abell, a women's rights activist and former president of the Woman's Industrial Exchange's board of managers.
On the horizon: To gain financial stability by the year 2000, the exchange hopes to raise another $150,000 this year. The Wednesday Speakers' Series of free midday workshops and presentations continues this week with "The Basics of Creating a Landscape Master Plan: Create a Design Vision That Fits Your Budget." The slide show and talk will be presented by landscape architect Kirsten Coffen from noon to 1 p.m. in the Abell Room.
About the exchange: Attendance: about 40,000 annually. Operating budget: $325,000.
Where and when: 333 N. Charles St. Tea Room hours: breakfast, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; business and gift shop hours, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 410-685-4388.
Linda Goldberg, president of the board of directors: "While maintaining our roots as a women's philanthropy, we are also trying to redefine how the exchange is to operate in the next century. We are still serving as a consignment shop for women who are trying to earn an income by selling handmade goods, but we are also aware that today's woman has moved out of the home and into the work force. We need to provide networking and entrepreneur assistance for women who are re-entering the work force. As a historic part of Baltimore, we need to stay true to that history, and at the same time, we need to look to the future."
Members of the board
Penelope Johnson Brown
Sally B. Gold
Kathy A. Ganley
Carol L. Rubin
Kathleen Waters Sander
Carol J. Vellucci
Pub Date: 03/28/99