The League of Women Voters was founded in February 1920, six months before all women in America were guaranteed the right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment. Our founders knew that securing the right to vote was only the beginning goal – becoming an informed and engaged voter was the next goal for American women. Since then the organization has expanded to include men and women and to address a wide-range of issues that help citizens be active participants in political life as well as calling on government to be both responsive and responsible.

As a non-partisan organization, LWVN maintains two components for maximum flexibility.


– Tax-deductible donations go to 501(c)(3) organization — All of our unbiased, non-partisan information on voting and citizen education is funded through tax-deductible donations through the League of Women Voters of Tennessee Education Fund, a 501(c) (3) organization.


– Non-deductible donations go to 501(c)(4) organization — After our members thoroughly study an issue of public policy, we develop an advocacy position. When legislative bills in the state legislature are introduced that directly address stated LWVTN positions, LWVTN volunteers and the LWVTN paid lobbyist make our organization’s positions known to state legislators. Lobbying for specific legislation (on either the local or state level) is not a tax-deductible activity and is paid for out of the non tax-deductible 501(c)(4) arm of the organization.


LWVN never supports or endorses political parties or candidates. While we encourage and enable all of our members to be civically and politically active, the organization maintains a strict non-partisan stance.

Molly-ToddAfter the 19th Amendment passed in 1920, the League of Women Voters in Nashville lost momentum and remained dormant until the remarkable Molly Todd came to town in the 1940’s and resuscitated the organization in 1948. Under her leadership, LWVN mobilized support for a host of public policy issues ranging from birth control to the formation of a family service agency to racial integration. The League published the city’s first brochure on voter education, worked to abolish the poll tax, and engaged in efforts to consolidate city and county government services. Re-energized by a new generation of women leaders, the organization continues to address the pressing public policy issues raised in each generation.


2017 E. Bronson Ingram Award – League of Women Voters 

LWVN membership elects board members to serve two-year terms in a variety of capacities. The organization benefits from the expertise and dedication of these community volunteers.

Molly Todd was a power and effective leader who pushed the boundaries of the role of citizens in promoting public policy. She was a frequent monitor at the state legislature on League issues, especially the income tax, a delegate to the 1970 Tennessee Constitutional Convention, and later ran for office. She was also a plaintiff in the Baker v Carr case that came before the Supreme Court regarding redistricting in 1962, which led to the “one person, one vote” standard for legislative reapportionment.

In 1995, the Nashville League established the annual Molly Todd Award. It is given in recognition of a member of the League who has followed in Molly Todd’s footsteps, providing leadership and service to both the League and the voters of Nashville. And it identifies someone who shows the same bold spirit and optimism that Molly always demonstrated.



2018 Madeline and Tony Garr

2017 Hazel Thornton

2016 Barbara Gay

2015 Jo Singer

2014 Diane DiIanni

2013 Barbara Devaney

2012 Pat Post

2011 Sue Bredensteiner

2010 Karen Weeks

2009 Margie Parsley

2008 Karen Edwards

2007 Phil Schoggen

2006 Mary Frances Lyle

2005 Marian Ott

2004 Berdelle Campbell

2003 Dikkie Schoggen

2002 JoAnn Bennett

2001 Silvine Hudson

2000 Brenda Wynn

1999 Susan Gutow

1998 Silvine Hudson

1997 Sally Levine

1996 Carole Bucy

1995 Jane Eskind

LWVN presidents can serve for three sequential two-year terms. The current president is Barbara Gay (2018-20).


2012-2018 Debby Gould

2010 – 2012 Jo Singer

2008 – 2010 Lucy Chism

2007 – 2008 Margie Parsley

2006 – 2007 Karen Edwards & Margie Parsley

2005 – 2006 Karen Edwards

2003 – 2005 Deana Claiborne & Karen Edwards

2002 – 2003 Luvenia Butler

2000 – 2002 Marian Ott

1998 – 2000 Margie Parsley

1996 – 1998 Brenda Wynn

1994 – 1996 Suzie Tolmie

1992 – 1994 Mary Frances Lyle

1990 – 1992 Peggy Maguire

1988 – 1990 Carol Bucy

1986 – 1988 Susan Gutow

1984 – 1986 Gayle Ray

1983 – 1984 Barbara Mann

1982 – 1983 Juli Mosley

1979 – 1982 Roz McGee

1978 – 1979 Silvine Hudson

1978 Margaret Manning

1975 – 1978 Jane Entrekin

1974 – 1975 Barbara Housewright

1971 – 1974 Mary Wade

1970 – 1971 Gale Markus

1968 – 1970 Miriam Cowden

1966 – 1968 Sally Levine

1966 Geralyn Clewe

1965 – 1966 Betsy Zukoski

1962 – 1965 Barbara Kuhn

1958 – 1962 Sebby Billig

1958 Helen Dingley

1957 – 1958 Mary Hobbs

1956 – 1957 Georgia Benjamin

1954 – 1956 Coletta Tesch

1952 – 1954 Jean Schwartz

1950 – 1952 Martha Wigginton

1948 – 1950 Molly Todd

.Our donors make it possible for LWVN to be successful. We are grateful for their support this year.


Susan B. AnthonySusan B. Anthony Members

– Annette S. Eskind

– Marian Ott and Craig Philip

– Margie and David Parsley

– Joan B. Shayne






Anne Dallas Dudley Members:

– Marshall Gaskins and Charlene Hunt

– Barbara and Volney Gay

– Debby Gould

– Karen and Kent Weeks



Anne Dallas Dudley Sponsors:

– Anne Davis and Karl Dean

– Penny and Jon Frere

– Marian Ott and Craig Phillip

– Anne and Charles Roos

– Joan Blum Shayne


Phoebe Ensminger Burn Sponsors:

– Anne Carr

– Andrea Conte

– Barbara DeVaney and John Lewis

– Cindee and Michael Gold

– Debby and Matthew Gould

– Carlene Hunt

– Mina Johnson

– Sally M. Levine

– Margaret S. Norris, M.D.

– Judy and Pat Raines

– Hazel Thornton and Colin Willis

– Colleen Conway Welch




– The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

– Harnisch Foundation