The legacy of Title IX rows on
Endowment honors a half-century of advancements for women student-athletes
Fifty years later, they still move in rhythm as one. Women who rowed for Washington in the 1970s, bound by their love for a sport that continues to lend meaning to their lives, are united in providing the same transformative experience to the generations that follow in their wake.
To recognize the milestones of the past and to help spur more opportunities in the future, the group has established The Title IX Legacy Endowment to support Washington Women’s Rowing. While alumni could tell lots of ugly stories about the resistance they endured even after Title IX, they choose to focus on the beauty of the many advances launched by the law.
“The Title IX Legacy means that inspirational change is always possible, in sports, in education, in life. This endowment is a legacy from our time to the future,” explains Linda Fornaciari, a spokesperson for the group, which launched the endowment with an initial $50,000 investment and another $50,000 pledge.
As other donors follow the lead of the women of the ’70s, the endowment will continue to grow and help fund the program’s operational costs. An immediate purchase of a namesake boat will further commemorate the landmark law.
“Thanks to the generosity of the women of the ’70s, we will always have a boat in the fleet that bears the name Title IX Legacy,” says Women’s Rowing Head Coach Yasmin Farooq. “It will be the flagship of the endowment and an inspiration for every generation to give back, knowing their dollars will directly impact our program on a daily basis.”
Linda and her teammates relish their lifelong sisterhood. They wish the same for today’s rowers.
“Most of us were walk-ons, but Washington turned us into confident and intense athletes,” Linda says. “It was a chapter in our lives when we were so strong, physically and mentally, a time when we realized the power of teamwork. We carried that forward into our lives to this day and we want every rower in the future to feel the same.”
She notes that the impact of Title IX can be seen in the shocked faces of today’s women rowers as they learn of the much-less-than-equitable treatment their foremothers experienced.
“That’s what’s so inspiring — to see how much things have changed!” Linda exclaims. “Look how far we’ve come.”