by Linda Austin –
On Thursday, September 28, ladies came together at The Sheraton for the 9th Annual Seeds of Strength luncheon. Linda Foster-Smith, the out-going Chair of SoS, welcomed, with a “heart full of joy,” the crowd of over 200 “caring, giving women.” She expressed the honor she has felt to lead this dedicated group of women and an organization “operated on volunteer power!” She thanked them for “opening their hearts to the needs of our community and opening their checkbooks to meet those needs.” Chair Foster-Smith recognized and thanked all the guests from grantee agencies, theSoS members’ guests, and those from SoS partners, in particular,Dale Ricklefs of Williamson County Institute for Excellence in Non-Profit for her servant’s heart in volunteering at the beginning of 2017 five months’ leadership and expertise in formulating our strategic planning initiative.
Beautifully decorated tables set the tone for the delightfully tasty lunch, crowned by a heavenly cheesecake for dessert. And that was just the prelude to the highlight: keynote speaker Dr. Eileen Piwetz, Executive Director of the FMH Foundation of Midland, Texas.
Dr. Piwetz delivered an entertaining and thought-provoking presentation on the “Power of Women.” She explained that because of a “supernova of demographic changes,” 21st century women are “primed to wield philanthropic power as never before.” Women now have the wealth and the ambition to be a “major force in philanthropy,” but charities need to recognize they must adopt new practices to meet the new female class of donors.
Generally, women give from the heart and want to engage as a partner in tackling critical issues like homelessness and hunger. The explosive growth in women’s giving circles (like SoS) is an example of the coming power of giving women.
Linda Foster-Smith acknowledged the contributions of the outgoing Guiding Circle members and thanked the Committee Chairs, all who helped make 2016-17 a banner year. After she passed the SoS gavel (a.k.a. the mighty SoS whistle) to new Chair Cindy Locke, the new Guiding Circle members and Committee Chairs were introduced. It’s clear we are going to have another dynamic and fun year!
Pictured: Outgoing Chair, Linda Foster-Smith; Luncheon Speaker, Dr. Eileen Piwetz; new Chair, Cindy Locke