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Loyola alumna receives grant for women entrepreneurs

April 3, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans alumna Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese, A’91, founder of Twisted Limb Paperworks, a sustainable paper manufacturer in Bloomington, Ind., is one of five recipients of fashion designer Eileen Fisher’s fifth annual Business Grant Program for Women Entrepreneurs.

Each recipient of the Eileen Fisher grant received $10,000 and was recognized in New York City March 23-24, during a two-day conference. The grant program recognizes women-owned businesses that combine the principles of social consciousness and sustainability to create new businesses or invigorate existing ones with solid business plans and strategies for long-term growth.

More than 125 businesswomen from across the U.S. applied for the grants. Applicants were evaluated on the social consciousness, sustainability, innovation, environmental impact of their business, intended use of grant money, and alignment with the mission of Eileen Fisher.

Other 2008 Eileen Fisher business grant recipients are Strong Healthcare in Richardson, Texas, simplyneutral of Minneapolis, Minn., Loyale Clothing of New York and The Goat Patrol in Durham, N.C.

In 1998, Woodhouse-Keese launched Twisted Limb, which creates handmade, 100- percent recycled paper that is stitched and assembled into invitations, thank you notes, business promotional items, holiday greeting cards and stationery for school and nonprofit fundraising. Woodhouse-Keese will use the grant to develop a line of handmade recycled memorial cards, programs and notes for earth-friendly funerals.

At Loyola, Woodhouse-Keese studied sociology and music and was active in Loyola Awakening retreats and Loyola University Community Action Program. She co-founded LUCAP’s environmental awareness program and the first recycling program on campus. Before starting her company, she worked as a naturalist and environmental educator in national and state parks and at private nature centers.

“Creating Twisted Limb was the perfect way for me to blend my artistic talents and my environmental and social justice values with my desire to be an entrepreneur,” Woodhouse-Keese said. “So, the entire project has been extremely rewarding to me on many levels.”

Twisted Limb’s production art studio sits on 10 acres in the wooded countryside of south central Indiana. The studio creates recycled paper using colored office paper, junk mail and grocery bags, grass from the surrounding fields, ferns collected from the woods and water recycled from the studio’s air conditioner and dehumidifier. Employees earn living wages, generous paid-time-off benefits and organic produce from the company garden. The business’ entire operations are carbon neutral, and 22 percent of its annual profits are donated to environmental, community and equal rights organizations.

For more information on Twisted Limb, contact Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese at 812-876-9352 or by e-mail at sheryl@twistedlimbpaper.com. To learn more about the 2009 Eileen Fisher Business Grant Program for Women Entrepreneurs, visit http://www.eileenfisher.com/ourcompany/cons/women_owned_bus_prog.asp.

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