LEAGUEWOJoin the local chapter of the League of Women Voters Thursday at 7 p.m. to celebrate the Women Who Shape Santa Monica.

This year, the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica will honor four influential community members, including Julie Rusk, a long-time resident and assistant director of Community and Cultural Services for the City of Santa Monica; Santa Monica YWCA Executive Director Julia Miele; Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council President Rochelle Fanali; and League Member and Candidate forum moderator Sandy Jacobson.

President of the California League of Women Voters Helen Hutchinson will also be at Thursday’s festivities.

“It’s always a privilege to shine light on the accomplishments of these special women who’ve given so much to our city,” said LWVSM President Ann Williams. “Their lifework expands upon the progress of the pioneering suffragists who gave American women the right to vote and founded our organization.”

Rusk, a mother of two, has been one of the driving forces behind some of Santa Monica’s most progressive initiatives, including Cradle-to-Career, designed to help kids from birth into early adulthood.

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While Rusk is particularly proud of the Cradle-to-Career initiative, she takes great pride in the day-to-day accomplishments of the city.

“We have a city that is truly dedicated to building a stronger community, improving education, neighborhood ties, senior programs, mental health services, legal services, violence prevention and employment opportunities.  It’s unusual for a city to devote so much time and resources to strengthening the community,” she said. “I’m proud to be a part of that team, grateful for the decades of City Council leadership on these issues and gratified for every individual we can help.”

Rusk is currently heading the city’s Wellbeing Index project, for which it was awarded a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“We will formally introduce a wealth of data on Santa Monica’s wellbeing to the community in late April,” she said. “Our findings will reveal some surprises and many affirmations all directly from the residents of Santa Monica who so graciously and enthusiastically shared feedback about how they are doing and what matters to them.”

This year, the LWVSM will give the prestigious Christobal Pankhurst Award to Sandy Jacobson, the host of Spotlight Santa Monica on City TV.

The award is named for the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst. Christobal, who became a leading suffragette in her own right, lived out her latter years in Santa Monica.

Thursday’s event will be held at Ocean House, between Bicknell and Pacific on Ocean Avenue. A donation of $40 can be paid before the event by PayPal at www.lwvsantamonica.org. A donation of $45 can be paid at the door by cash, check or credit card. Please R.S.V.P. by contacting (310) 692-1494 or email, [email protected]