Katy Peek, Madeleine Tammi and Stephanie Kresse understood the meaning of philanthropy. In 2004, each was a member of the Board of Directors of the El Dorado Community Foundation. They knew that women across the country were becoming increasingly more influential and dynamic about charitable giving. From this knowledge, they crafted a plan to bring women together to practice collective philanthropy in their own backyard.
The Women’s Fund concept was presented in April 2007 to an informal gathering of 12 local women who were known for their charitable works in the arts, human services, environment, education, and health. They came together one evening, heard the story of how the Women’s Fund would work, and that very night they ALL signed on to be the founding Cabinet.
The founders were united in their quest to keep things simple for the membership. Simple was the guiding principle. Join, cast a grant-making vote every year and be as involved as you want. The following October, the Women’s Fund El Dorado announced its presence to the community. The Cabinet invited friends and neighbors and treated everyone to dinner and an inspirational talk by Colleen Willoughby, the founder of the Washington Women’s Foundation. The 200 women who attended that dinner embraced the idea with enthusiasm.
The founders began to look for some guidance to help manage this project. They found a welcome mat at the El Dorado Community Foundation where they established their Fund. The Foundation continues to provide the fiscal and legal oversight and the physical location the Women’s Fund calls “home.” This professional support has contributed to the Fund’s remarkable success and credibility in the community.
There is a strong philanthropic spirit in El Dorado County and the Women’s Fund is a successful model of how charitable individuals can come together to practice collective philanthropy to benefit our community.