By Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County

Regardless of the season, there are dreary, sunless days. The clouds and rain are welcome after periods of intense heat, or if the earth is dry and begging for water. But more often than not, we choose sun over storm and light over darkness. Spirits lift and smiles come more easily, when the sun is shining in a brilliant blue sky.

For various reasons, even on the brightest day, we can still feel lost in a wilderness of shadows. In those moments, we have to look a little harder to find the light. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.”

I was reminded of that truth recently at a mission-inspired event, where the Women’s Fund of Smith County announced its 2020 grant awards. It was a milestone celebration for our giving circle, as we awarded five community grants – the most we’ve given in one year, taking us to a record dollar amount given in one year.  Remarkable growth in membership, strong support of community partners, and responsible stewardship led us to the landmark.

But more significant than setting records, the occasion was meaningful because it was shared. Our mission aligned with the missions of each of our grant recipients – all shining, because all give light to our community. These nonprofit programs and projects, funded through our grants, will offer others a glimpse of sun in wooded experiences.

Our grant to Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County will expand an evidence-based caregiver support program, designed to improve the lives of dementia clients’ caregivers by reducing their stress and burden, equipping them to be at their best – to be a beacon – for their loved one struggling with dementia.

Through our funding to East Texas Veteran’s Community Council, a safe place will be created for women veterans to benefit from programs that will develop confidence and empower them to assume leadership roles – to rise – in our community.

Because of our partnership with Meals on Wheels Ministry, more senior women will remain living independently in their own homes with the assurance of nutritious meals, as well as important safety checks – a lamp of security.

The lives of young people will be impacted by a project of The First Tee of Greater Tyler funded through our grant. Educational programs will be provided that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices – blazing the way for positive behavior.

With our grant to Tyler ISD Foundation, students and the entire community will be afforded the opportunity of arts-rich experiences through the Caldwell Ceramics Lab – an innovative and exemplary program, a bright star of arts integration.

Each of these agency projects reflects the light of their mission, shining with far-reaching impact – not results for one year, but for many years to come. As members of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, it is our honor and our mission to transform our community through our collective giving to these vibrant, life changing programs.

We believe that together is better. With our nonprofit partners, we hope to help others out of the woods and into the sun.

Kristen Seeber serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a giving circle of more than 300 women with a mission of transforming our community by funding programs that enrich the lives of women and children. Visit for information about membership and outreach.