Our History

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.

Our Leadership

2017 Board of Directors and Staff

  • Patty Steelman, Chair
  • Marilyn Abegg-Glass
  • Cristy Arscott
  • Val Anderson
  • Peggy Berry
  • DeeDee Bufe
  • Jackie Bruton DeNoyelles
  • Beth Filla
  • Johnna Fullen
  • Judith Guthrie
  • Tiffany Kirgan
  • Nancy Lamar
  • Kay Latta
  • Vera Moore
  • Margaret Perkins
  • Deborah Race
  • Marjorie Ream
  • Cathy Shipp
  • Jenny Sloan
  • Trish Rodriguez Terrell
  • Ellen Krafve Trant
  • Agnes Ward
  • Marty Wiggins
  • Shannon Dacus, Advisory Member
  • Dawn Franks, Advisory Member
  • Sharon Howell, Advisory Member
  • Kristen Seeber, President/CEO
  • Patty Machin, Executive Assistant

Our Committees

The Women’s Fund has several volunteer committees made up of voting members.

Mother's Day Luncheon - May

Power of the Purse Luncheon - Fall

Provides oversight of our two major events, advancing strategic goals and sponsor relationships. The Luncheon Committees are open to all members and are most active in the months prior to the events.

This committee measures the long-term impact of grants previously awarded by the Women's Fund. Committee members may serve as liaisons to grantee agencies to continue learning and reporting about the success of their grant awards. Through this process, our members and the community see our mission exemplified.

Investment and Finance is a nominated committee made up of financially-minded women who oversee the investment and financial activity of The Women's Fund. We value effective financial stewardship and appreciate the time and talents of women who are able to serve in this way.

Join this initiative and guide area high school girls (grades 10-12) in learning about philanthropy. Patterned after the Women's Fund model, this is an opportunity to mentor young ladies as they work together to experience collective giving and grant making. The girls meet monthly on Sunday afternoons.

Approved by the Board of Directors, the Grants Committee is the heart of the Women's Fund. It guides the process for grant applications, awards and the annual membership vote. Serving on this committee is a powerful educational opportunity for women. The committee meets monthly with 3-4 additional meeting in the summer to discuss and vet grant applications.

This Committee is comprised of three sub-committees: 1. Education focuses on the opportunities to learn more about giving and plans annual education seminars on community issues, best practices in women's philanthropy and other topics of interest to the Women's Fund. 2. Member Relations connects our members to our mission and measures member engagement and strives to strengthen our circle of givers. 3. Recruitment creates opportunities to invite and welcome prospective new members by sharing the Women's Fund story with others through small and large gathering, written communications and social media.

Our Affiliations

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