By Peggy Berry

Guest Columnist

EDITOR’S NOTE:  “Give Well” is a weekly column written by Dawn Franks of Your Philanthropy, Kyle Penney of the East Texas Communities Foundation and representatives of The Women’s Fund of Smith County.

Every day, women inspire us.  And ‘everyday’ women inspire us. That woman may be your mother, a grandmother, a business colleague, a sister, a mentor or a friend.  Inspiring women share their stories with us. They help us learn about ourselves and give us hope for the future.  They invest in our lives.  They ignite a fire within us to pursue great things – to be our best and to do our best. Inspiring women give. Inspiring women work with all people for the betterment of our community. Inspiring women see the best in others.

What inspires you and how have you been inspired?  Awards are given across the globe to inspiring women – but closer to home are women who inspire us with their personal stories and passion for the betterment of Smith County.  The Women’s Fund of Smith County will celebrate mothers and other inspiring women at a luncheon on Thursday, May 7, where you’ll hear from women who want to leverage their own philanthropic capacity as a catalyst for positive change.  Their stories will move and motivate you. You can honor your mother or another inspiring woman with lunch and a gift in her honor.

A portion of your tribute gift will support the G.I.V.E. (Girls Invested In Volunteer Efforts) program. This initiative of The Women’s Fund provides high school girls with the opportunity to experience philanthropy and leadership.  Thirty girls are currently involved in the program, with each one bringing a unique perspective for impacting our community through giving. These young women raise funds, study area non-profit organizations and provide a grant to one or more agencies of their selection.  This process represents a smaller, but equally meaningful, version of the collaborative giving and grant making of The Women’s Fund’s 240 adult members.  As we work to mentor them, the GIVE girls inspire us!

What are seven characteristics of an inspiring woman? They include: 1) Focus and determination, 2) Ability to listen and act, 3) Acceptance, 4) Responsibility, 5) Risk taking, 6) Sacrifice and 7) Gratitude.

Having lived in Tyler for 35 years, I have come to appreciate and respect the women who saw a need; took responsibility; sacrificed time, money and energy; and started not-for-profit organizations. We, in Tyler, pride ourselves in this work and in the inspiring stories that result as lives are transformed.  The list of nonprofits started by women includes The Hospice of East Texas, the Tyler Museum of Art, Refuge of Light, PATH and many more.

In my work as a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant, I hear inspiring stories from board members, staff members and the people they serve. People who benefit from nonprofit services who are given another chance, a job, an experience, rescue from a bad situation or a place to live.

I hope my words have caused you to pause and consider those women who have inspired you, and to consider the importance of nonprofit agencies in our community. Will you join me in emulating those inspiring women you know? Will you recognize the work of those women who inspire you? The Women’s Fund would love to hear your story or that of a woman who has made a difference in your life or the lives of others.  Please contact us:

In addition, tickets to the May 7 Mother’s Day Luncheon may be purchased at  The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Willow Brook Country Club, and seating is limited. Please be a part of this special event honoring mothers and all of the women who make a difference in our lives and our community.

Peggy Berry, President of Peggy Berry Consulting, serves on the executive board of The Women’s Fund of Smith County. Please consider joining our organization – go to for membership and additional information.