by Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County
“It takes some courage to head out to the great unknown. Maybe, if you have the right people with you, they will give you the courage to keep going.” This quote, from Simon Sinek’s book “Together is Better”, has been on my mind and heart the last several weeks. In these very uncertain times, each of us is mustering all the courage we can find. Most of what we hear and read about COVID-19 leaves us feeling uneasy, unsettled, untethered. It’s especially difficult to think about facing the unknown alone. Thankfully, we live in a community that not only believes together is better but practices togetherness.
Our community is filled with givers – leaders who think laterally; medical teams who prepare, not panic; business owners who hold on with innovative ideas; teachers who motivate creatively; and neighbors who respond with kindness to those most vulnerable. Even from a social distance and a shelter in place, we can build a communal spirit. We choose to turn outward – from isolation to cooperation. Because it’s not about you, and it’s not about me. It’s about all of us together.
Some of the strongest givers are our nonprofit partners. Stronger still are the clients they serve, trying hard every moment of every day to be brave. Many essential front-line agencies are stretched, yet their programs are vital. Events and fundraisers are canceled, but missions continue.
Three years ago, our giving circle was inspired by Sinek’s book during our strategic planning process, as we re-visited and renewed our core values and vision. From that endeavor and inspiration came our updated mission statement: 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.
Never has our mission meant more, and we continue to move it forward with grounded optimism. The primary focus of our organization is our grants program. Given the effects of the COVID-19 crisis within our nonprofit community, we will be reviewing our current grant funding criteria and guidelines, as well as our community impact funding procedures. It is important that we take next steps carefully, while remaining mission-minded. We do not want to react. We want to respond with relevancy and compassion. With each passing day, we hope to gain more clarity as to what the needs are – and will be – and how we best can help address them.
The Women’s Fund of Smith County is committed to our responsibility as trusted stewards of resources to serve our community. As individuals and as an organization, we operate in a fiscally sound manner and believe in transparency and accountability to each other, to the nonprofit community, and to the community at-large. Strengthening these relationships gives heart to our mission.
We are women who care. We are here for each other – in the good times and in the tough times. Amidst the turbulence, we will stay the course with steadiness, resolving to be a leader of resilience and hope for our community.
As Sinek says, “The value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves. The value of our lives is determined by what we do for others.” So, we will keep going into the unknown – with courage – together.
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. Any woman with a giving heart is welcome to join our organization. Please visit www.womensfundsc.org for information about membership and outreach.