Tribute to Eva L. Verplanck, Ph.D.
Eva L. Verplanck, YWCA Delaware Board and longtime Honorary Board member, died peacefully on September 4, 2021, at the age of 97. Eva provided insightful leadership for YWCA at national and local levels and remained active until her passing. While Eva served on the boards of several non-profits, she often shared that her life-long support and dedication to YWCA Delaware was due to its mission, eliminating racism and empowering women, and commitment to changing with the times by staying relevant through strategic planning.
Six Decades of Influence on YWCA Delaware
Born and raised in Austria, Eva emigrated to the U.S. as a young woman. She earned a B.A. at Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. at Yale University. After graduating, Eva worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences. She married Vincent Verplanck in 1950 and became a community volunteer while raising her children, Anne and Phillip.
Eva dedicated 58 years of service to the YWCA of Delaware. She began devoting her time to eliminating racism and empowering women in 1963 when YWCA Delaware organized to promote international understanding of race and social justice during the Civil Rights Movement. She was most passionate about being on the frontline of gender issues and helping women to become independent.
In a YWCA Delaware interview, Eva said, “It’s a matter of respecting people, especially women, for who and what they are. What my involvement can show is that somebody who’s relatively intelligent and thinks about what’s going on in the world has stayed with this organization because of the way the organization has kept up with the needs of the community.”
While serving as Co-Chair of YWCA Delaware’s Financial Development Committee, Eva played a significant role in fundraising and made an extraordinary difference in the lives of thousands of Delawareans. She advocated for YWCA Delaware’s after-school care programs, food pantry, shelter for abused women and their children, non-traditional job training for women, counseling programs, artist in residence programs, and study circles on racism with Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Cornel West and Reverend Bernice King. In 1968, she voted to adopt the Affirmative Action policy and in 1977 voted to elect the first Black President of YWCA Delaware. In 1994, the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized Eva’s leadership and intellectual contributions to the success of several non-profits, including YWCA Delaware, with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
Eva was always quick to adapt to the latest technology and actively participated in Zoom board meetings, becoming a guiding light during the pandemic.
All at YWCA Delaware will miss her great intellect, practical guidance, quick wit, and infectious smile.