By Ellen Trant
Women’s Fund of Smith County

It was a man who reminded me how important women are to women. As he spoke of his excitement and even relief that the women of our organization have each other to support and walk through life together, I could see the Women’s Fund of Smith County was personal for him. 

This circle of givers believes together is better. Through collective giving, we transform our community by funding programs that enrich the lives of women and children. He understood what I did not at the time; the transformation of our community is inevitable when we are actively standing together in love and friendship. 

My biggest regret about Women’s Fund is I did not join sooner. The year it was formed I was off at college and unaware of its existence. However, as soon as I graduated and moved home, Diane Thomason, with Bethesda Health Clinic and a charter member of the Women’s Fund, took me to lunch.

Over tacos at Don Juan’s, she explained the concept – a women’s giving circle. I was hooked. I could give $100 a month and it would instantly be turned into $150,000! What a great deal! At 22, being able to give $150,000 away in one go was a dream I only hoped to be able to do one day. Yet, for the last ten years now, every year, that amount (and more) is exactly what I’ve been privileged to grant as a member of the Women’s Fund – yes, over $1.6 million dollars!

When I joined, I expected to have the feelings of satisfaction and joy that come from giving. What I could never have guessed is, ten years later, the feelings that come from giving are less important to me than the feelings that come from belonging. There is joy in belonging; peace in belonging; hope in belonging. Some of the people I love most in this world I met through Women’s Fund. They have walked with me through many life changes (bless them) and I with them. Together we get to love on others and through our giving, perhaps help another woman or child discover a truth life may not have allowed them to see; they are worthy of great joy and beautiful belonging.

            I thank the man who patiently expanded my thinking. He was right, and the knowledge he shared with me has only deepened my commitment and delight in the Women’s Fund of Smith County. Although I joined intending to enrich the lives of others, I find I’m the one whose life has been most blessed. 

Won’t you join us?

Ellen Trant and her husband, Travis, are business partners in Home Instead Senior Care. Ellen is an active member of the Women’s Fund of Smith County with six years of board of service. To learn more about transformative giving through this grant-making circle of over 300 women, please visit  Member recruitment and renewal are open now for 2020. Any woman with a giving heart is welcome to join our mission.