Cheering for Philanthropy
By Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County
As a mom of two athletic sons, I have spent a lot of time in the stands – cheering. I have cheered for goals kicked, free-throws made, bases stolen and third-downs completed. There was even a season of pole vaulting, when I held my breath more than I yelled. Though I cheered on many victories, the moments of defeat had me on my feet and clapping, just the same. Win or lose, I proudly applauded the effort and the heart behind the score.
Beginning at age four and continuing through high school, our boys were actively involved in organized team sports. They forged bands of brothers, had each other’s backs and learned from one another about discipline, commitment, respect and risk-taking. They came to understand the significance of achieving something together that might not have been accomplished individually.
Setting goals and realizing what it takes to meet them are valuable experiences at any age. Along the way, circumstances arise which may thwart or, better yet, exceed expectations. Sometimes, long-standing records can be broken.
The attainment of a record – to create an extreme value for performance in some field of endeavor – is thrilling. What’s behind the feat is often even more extraordinary. Setting a record represents a strong resolve to work diligently with perseverance and persistence – never losing sight of the light within you and the light before you. This type of dedication shows belief.
Members of the Women’s Fund of Smith County believe in the power of collective giving as a force for positive change. Our giving circle will hit a record amount in grants this year to exemplary nonprofit programs which impact women and children. Each member of our organization has a vote in the grants process which adds even more value to the record, lifting a unified voice of cheer and confidence to the awarded agencies’ projects. These grant dollars and shouts of encouragement will transform our community and countless lives.
We are grateful, every single day, for the privilege of being in service to those in need, and we are honored by the trust of our members, donors and friends who embrace our mission. It’s because of the growth and strength of our membership and the tremendous support of our community partners that we celebrate this record year of giving – together.
While we celebrate these gains and successes, we do so with a deep sense of humility. We will not rest on our laurels. Knowing the enormity of challenges faced by so many of our neighbors, we re-dedicate our work, our passion, year after year. We recognize our great responsibility as stewards of resources to serve our community and to change the trajectory of women’s and children’s lives.
Philanthropy done well is creative, collaborative and compassionate. At its best, it is welcoming and inclusive, innovative and bold. The results of giving can be phenomenal, especially if there is a sense of trust and openness and a willingness to shed barriers, share the credit and look for allies.
There’s something about a team – all for one and one for all – that makes us want to cheer. We identify with resilience and courage. Rooting for and with each other takes us from underdog to champion. Find a megaphone, and let’s hear it!
Kristen Seeber serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County. Membership is open to women wanting to be a part of collective giving and grant making. Visit www.womensfundsc.org to learn more about our mission and membership opportunities.
The Women’s Fund 2018 Grants Announcement Reception is Thursday, February 8, 5:00 p.m. at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler. For reservations, please call 903-509-1771.