Early in 2007, a steering committee formed to develop a Women’s Fund in our community. Their goal was to maximize the impact of women’s philanthropy. Steering committee members represented the Women in Tyler committee, Fourth Partner, and East Texas Communities Foundation.
After researching funds around the country the steering committee hosted a membership kick-off with overwhelming response. An executive committee was formed, as well as, membership and grant making committees.
One hundred and twenty eight Charter Members raised over $150,000, enabling the Women’s Fund to award $100,000 in grants to three non-profits their first year. In addition they added 15% of every gift to an endowment that had already been started by the Women in Tyler.
The message was clear: have the greatest philanthropic impact possible NOW and grow funds to be used in the FUTURE.
In the following two years, continuing with a steady membership of over one hundred twenty members the Fund was able to award an additional $200,000 to six more nonprofits in the Tyler area.
Late in 2010 our website was established and in January of 2011, The Women’s Fund agreed to become a program of The Fourth Partner organization and continued to grow in members and in the amount of money given back to the community.
In early 2014, as part of its own strategic plan, Fourth Partner outlined a gradual decrease in funding of Women's Fund. This began the Women’s Fund of Smith County count down to “sustainability”. Also in this year, The Women’s Fund established The Compass Club as a means of garnering unrestricted funds that can help sustain and grow our organization.
As of July 1, 2015, the Women's Fund of Smith County is an independent, stand-alone not-for-profit organization and continues its mission of impacting the lives of women and children in our community.