Welcoming Ellen Koteen to the HATD Board of Directors
What struck me most about our 2018 trip with Healing Across the Divides to Israel and the West Bank was how community organizing was an essential component of all the health related projects. Much of my life’s work has been based on the concept of community organization, the social work major for which I obtained my master’s degree. Starting with my first year of graduate school in Berkeley, California (in 1968-a pivotal year), community organizing led to my being a co-founder of the Berkeley Free Health Clinic (celebrated its 50th year of operation in 2019), co-founder of a battered women’s shelter in 1979 (celebrated its 40th year), co-founder of the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network in 1987 and founder of Easthampton City Arts in 2005. The other focus of my work has been as administrator of small not-for profits: executive director of a Planned Parenthood affiliate and executive director of an adult literacy project. For 20 years my work revolved around issues related to women’s health. In all of my work, fund-raising, grant writing and budgeting has been critical.
The combination of my experience, skills, and tremendous respect for the work of HATD led to the desire to join with HATD and support it any way that would be most helpful.
I grew up in a small town one hour north of New York City. After college I lived in Brooklyn for 13 years and have now lived in Northampton, Massachusetts for 31 years. In mid-life I surprisingly discovered a talent for photography and have had a studio for the last 15 years. In addition to photography, gardening, travelling, reading, friendships and working on social justice issues are now the cornerstones of my life.