Catharine Eberly. Gloria Steinem. Agnes Jackson Reynolds. Toledo women have left our city with legacies of strength and community building. Since 1992, a group of community members has been working in their footsteps, as they lead and maintain the Agnes Jackson Reynolds Fund or the “Aggie” Fund which raises money for women who do not have the financial means for abortion services. Run completely by volunteers, the nonprofit’s mission is to provide no-interest loans to assist in paying for the procedure for those who cannot afford it, a service the Fund deems a reproductive right, essential to women’s health care. It mirrors closely the mission of Agnes Jackson herself, a champion not only for women’s rights but for civil rights.
The Aggie Fund will host “Beers for Choice” from 7pm to 11pm on October 5, 2019 at the Attic on Adams, 1701 Adams St., Toledo. One of several annual fundraisers hosted by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit throughout the year, the evening will feature a 50/50 raffle (tickets are only $1), drink specials, and live entertainment by DJ Savanna, with prizes from local business sponsors. The event is co-sponsored by NARAL, a national pro-choice organization.
Who was Agnes Reynolds Jackson?
A New Jersey native and Vassar College alum, Agnes Reynolds Jackson relocated to Toledo with her husband, Robert Jackson (a University of Toledo math professor), in 1963. She worked tirelessly to promote educational opportunities and to provide housing for low-income families. She was notorious for her compassion and civic engagement. Until her death in 1984, Agnes’s main mission was access and assistance for all, a torch that the Aggie Fund takes up today. The Agnes Reynolds Jackson Arboretum, located on the corner of Robinwood and Delaware Aves. in the Old West End is named in her memory.
The Aggie Fund’s goal is to enable women in the community to avoid financial obstacles if they need to make a choice regarding pregnancy. The Fund’s website states, “Whether it be for financial reasons, difficult personal situations, or a wide range of other reasons, our role is to lessen the financial burden of choosing to terminate a pregnancy.” The loans that the Aggie Fund provides are not reported to credit bureaus, so they don’t affect applicants’ credit ratings — individuals pay the Fund back as they are able. Co-presidents Marcie and Danielle, who requested their last names remain unpublished, emphasized this financial need within our community. “[Women who call us] are often under stress for many reasons, but we assure them that we can remove the financial stress and that there are people out there who are not judging them, and who trust them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” according to Marcie.
How to help
The Fund accepts individual donations via their website, 90% of which go directly to assist in providing loans for women in need. Volunteer at aggiefund.org/volunteer, as the organization also maintains a presence at Take Back the Night, Toledo PRIDE, and as clinic escorts at Capital Care Clinic of Toledo.
“The Aggie Fund ensures bodily autonomy,” co-president Danielle explained. “Abortion is healthcare, and the Aggie Fund ensures that folks are able to access the healthcare that is right for them.”
7pm-11pm, Friday, October 5, 2019. Aggiefund.org. RSVP at facebook.com/events/466304917554135.
*Source for Agnes Reynolds Jackson’s biography info: “In Search of Our Past: Women of Northwest Ohio.” Women’s History Committee of the Women Alive! Coalition. Vol. IV., 1984.