By Cathy Primer Krafve
Women’s Fund of Smith County

Uber changed the way we travel. Fresh by Brookshire’s changed the way we cook. Have you ever heard a great idea and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

When I heard about a group of women pooling their resources to make major grants, I thought, here’s an idea that can radically change giving.

I had questions. Would their donations stack up to make a real impact? How would they choose the recipients? Were these philanthropic women too fancy to be my friends?

My daughter, Ellen Trant, had a whole different reaction when she heard about Women’s Fund of Smith County. She leaped right in. Of course, she had questions, too. How do you join? How can I help? Why isn’t Mom a member?

“My heart’s desire is to have as big of a positive impact on as many people as is possible,” says Ellen. “I knew instantly Women’s Fund and I were on the same page.”

Next thing I knew, Ellen persuaded me to save money on things like lunches each week and join WF instead. I felt like a full-fledged philanthropist. My donation was pooled to make a huge difference in the lives of women and children in our neighborhoods. Plus, I was sitting at the table with remarkable, visionary women, two of whom are also a mother-daughter team in WF.

Not only are Debby Gunter and Dawn Franks two of the co-chairs for our upcoming Mother’s Day event, they are two dynamic women in the same family. A generation apart, they share valuable perspectives on what makes WF such a wise choice for our giving dollars.

“I first heard about the Women’s Fund from my stepmother Dawn Franks,” says Debby who is an attorney with Findlay Craft, P.C. and joined WF in 2008. “It was one of those brilliant, yet simple ideas: women across Smith County coming together and giving what some may consider small gifts. When you add them all up they equal large, impactful gifts to the community.”

The two women share their love for WF’s mission of maximizing the impact of women’s philanthropy by pooling our contributions to provide grants to local organizations benefiting women and children in Smith County.

“My dream would be for more and more women to join our ranks so we can invest in even more lives,” says Dawn, President of Your Philanthropy. “The women who benefited from the grant we made to Goodwill is just one example of what we can accomplish when we give together. By benefiting women, we make a difference in the lives of many children.”

“One of the main reasons I keep giving each year is I know Women’s Fund is a good steward of the money of its members and the grant process is efficient, fair, and effective,” says Debby, “I know every dollar I give will go to good use and for the benefit of others in need.”

As for my original questions: 1) Do WF donations stack up to make a real impact? The answer is a resounding YES! Since 2009, WF has awarded over one million dollars in grants to 29 different initiatives in Smith County. 2) How does WF choose the recipients? The grants are carefully and lovingly evaluated by a committee of volunteer WF members who choose the recipients based on the greatest impact benefiting women and children in Smith County. 3) Were these philanthropic women too fancy to be my friends? No, instead, it turns out they are really friendly women from all walks of life, united in their desire to help other women.

Ever wonder if you had the courage to help a woman as she was released from prison? What if you could do more, without adding one more thing to your schedule? Ever dream of giving a million dollars? You can do all that and more!

This is your invitation to join us in celebrating women who inspire us at our Mother’s Day Luncheon, sponsored in part by Austin Bank and Merrill Lynch LMT Wealth Management Group. Our special guest will whisper the secret of lives changed. It’s the perfect way to honor a woman in your life who inspires you, like your boss, sister, mentor, or best friend.

Together we celebrate the impact on the lives of women and children in our neighborhoods. We celebrate what a little love can do. We are saving a place at the table for YOU.

Cathy Primer Krafve, a member of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, lives and writes with a Texas twang. She and her daughter Ellen Krafve Trant, along with Dawn Franks and Debby Gunter are serving together as chairwomen of this year’s Mother’s Day Luncheon on May 11 at Willow Brook Country Club. Seating is limited. Please visit or call 903-509-1771 for more information.