By Kay Latta
Women’s Fund of Smith County

525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In 525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

Yes, it’s the beginning of the song Seasons of Love from the musical RENT. But it certainly applies to my reflection of this year in the life of The Women’s Fund of Smith County. How fast it goes, yet how much has been accomplished.

In reflecting over this past year, I was amazed at the energy and spirit of community that was felt at the Women’s Philanthropy Summit. What a blessing it was! Kathryn Miree gave us such important and yet seldom truly discussed topics for consideration. As we heard, studies of women’s philanthropy reveal that it’s defined by three primary motivators: COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION and COMMUNITY. Our focus on collaboration was in full view at the summit– along with the East Texas Communities Foundation and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, East Texas Chapter. Collaboration means “Together IS better”! We received inspiring communications on best practices in women’s philanthropy and finally with the goal of community impact we know that together we have the power to transform our lives, our communities, and our world.

As we celebrated the Power of the Purse, “The Phantom of the Opera” Broadway star Sandra Joseph encouraged us to be authentic. In keeping with this musical theme, we need to remove our daily “masks” and be truly present. Sandra congratulated the Women’s Fund of Smith County for helping others find their authentic voice. “The organization is making such a profound impact on this community,” she said. As a part of the efforts to help local women and children, there has been over $1,675,000 in grant funding over 11 years, impacting 27 agencies and countless lives.

Our G.I.V.E. PROGRAM (Girls Invested in Volunteer Efforts) has had an incredible year of fundraising and learning about philanthropy. Patterned after the Women’s Fund model, this is an opportunity to mentor young ladies (grades 9-12) as they work together to experience collective giving and grant making. Congratulations to these young philanthropic leaders!

We have come so far this year, yet there is still more to do. We NEED your collaboration. SO, as the song ends;

I_t_’s_ _time now to sing out Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate, remember a year In the life of friends…

Kay Latta, CPA, is an Officer/Shareholder with Henry & Peters. She has served as the 2019 Board Chair for the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a giving circle of more than 300 women who collectively provide high impact grants that benefit women and children. To learn more about mission and involvement for 2020, please visit