The Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) was founded by Cecilia Clarke in June 2001 to support the leadership of young women in New York City, with the long-term goal of addressing the lack of women represented in critical leadership roles. Our first Summer Institute, with 16 students, was in 2002. Our Community Action Placement program was added in the fall of 2003, and Nash University began in the fall of 2005.
The program is named after the great-grandmother of Cecilia Clarke, Virginia “Sadie” Nash. Sadie Nash was born in 1871 and lived in Omaha, Nebraska. She was a community leader. On a cold day in December of 1902, she was on a crowded trolley car and noticed a poor infant who was freezing to death. To everyone's surprise, she stood up, lifted up her skirt, and took off her petticoat (which is a warm piece of underclothing) and wrapped it around the baby to warm it and she saved it. This small act caught the attention of the country. The story was reported in many newspapers across the United States including The New York Times, The New York Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and The Atlanta Georgia Journal. People were shocked that a woman would do such an act, especially in public and for someone she did not know.
It is in the spirit of Sadie Nash and her impulse to take action, to brush convention aside and to lead by example that inspired Cecilia to establish the Sadie Nash Leadership Project.