Zoe Lawhorn
Women’s Fund of Smith County

Is anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed these days? Things may change for me by the time you read this, but at the moment, every single Christmas decoration is still up at my house, including the trees. It’s only midway through January, and I’ve yet to meet any of my goals for the year – I didn’t exercise this weekend, but I did manage to eat pizza and nachos for dinner (twice). By Saturday afternoon, I knew I wouldn’t get the decorations down, and quite honestly, the mundane daily chores weren’t in great shape either.

For a moment, I got so upset. All I could see was disorder and missed goals; the trees that were so beautiful a month ago just seemed to shine a big ole festive spotlight on how far behind I am. The “to-do list” in my mind was filling up faster than I could pick up the last pair of socks off the floor, and I started to feel the familiar wave of overwhelming pressure that comes from knowing I can’t do it all.

And I can’t do it all – alone.

I can, however, get a lot accomplished with a clear, coordinated plan and help from my partner in holiday decorations high crimes and misdemeanors – my husband. When we approach any challenge together, we get better results. There have been many days (and will be many more!) when we forget to work together. On those days, we make small dents in a number of tasks, and finally face the frustration of seeing very little evidence of progress. In these moments, we are reminded how much we need each other.

The women who started the Women’s Fund of Smith County understood the power of working together toward a common goal. They knew that a large group of women, united by a clear mission, could have a greater impact together than any one individual who stood alone.

The Women’s Fund uses a simple formula, pooling the time, talents and treasures of over 300 women to address the vast needs in our community. Our mission is clear: The Women’s Fund of Smith County believes that together is better. Through collective giving, we transform our community by funding programs that enrich the lives of women and children.

We combine our financial resources through our membership pledges; we use our vast and diverse skills and talents to allocate grant dollars, plan fundraising events, and advance the notion of philanthropy within our community.

When we see the enormous need presented by our community, we view it through the lens of collective giving, and rather than feeling overwhelmed, we feel empowered to make a difference.

On the days when my husband and I work together to accomplish a task, we have fun together. Our respect for each other grows as we see the other person working hard, and we admire the gifts we see in each other at work. Our relationship grows and deepens with each project, whether as simple as folding a load of laundry, or as complex as facing a challenge together as parents.

The same dynamic exists within the Women’s Fund, and I have enjoyed discovering new depths in long held friendships, as well as experiencing the joy of making new, like-minded friends as we work together, shoulder-to-shoulder, on behalf of other women and children in need. Even during the most intense work sessions held by our members, we laugh. We relax, we are encouraged, and we are overjoyed to see that we can and do make an impact on others’ lives.

I couldn’t do that alone. But alongside this incredible group of women, I find fulfillment through the work of the Women’s Fund, as I take my place in the process, and I see our work culminate in immeasurable outcomes year after year.

The Women’s Fund of Smith County is a giving circle, and our membership is open to any woman with a giving heart. If you would like to take your place in our membership, please visit www.womensfundsc.org to find out more.

I guess after a year like 2020, it’s ok to leave the trees up a little longer than normal. And I look forward to working together – with my husband (who’s sure to read this) – to tackle those decorations … before Valentine’s Day.

Zoe Lawhorn serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a collective 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. Any woman with a giving heart is welcome to join our organization. Please visit www.womensfundsc.org for information about membership and outreach.