Local women are raising their hands, their voices, and $1M | SierraSun.com

Local women are raising their hands, their voices, and $1M

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunWomen gather at the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation office to discuss the Queen of Hearts Women's Fund on Tuesday.

There is something to be said about the power of an impassioned woman.

Make it an impassioned group of them, and you’ve got yourself a whole different animal, which is exactly what Truckee resident Martha Simon had in mind when she and the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation set out two weeks ago to find 1,000 local women who would donate $1,000 each to become part of the Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund.

“Women can get women so fired up. They see a problem and they react,” said Simon, donor relations officer for the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. “They want to be hands-on, and they want to make decisions. This gives them that collective voice and power.”

Simon said the idea for the $1 million fund stemmed from the foundation’s Queen of Hearts luncheon, an invite-only motivational event which has been held for the past three years for nearly 150 influential area women, like Pam Hobday, the owner of a management consulting company and one of Queen of Heart’s founding members.

“The concept of having a luncheon that celebrated women philanthropists in the North Tahoe community was something that I found exciting because very rarely are you able to get women of all age groups together to share,” Hobday said. “I didn’t want to leave the room. I found a group of women who were humble and focused, and who weren’t afraid to speak their minds.”

The fund was established as a spin-off to harness the motivation and positive energy coming from those women, and to put it to use in the community through both monetary donations and personal commitment. The Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation is calling it the greatest women’s endowment ever to be established in a community of this size.

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“It’s not competitive; it’s not a club; it’s not a clique,” Simon said. “It’s women who want to be involved in making change.”

In the two weeks since the launching of Queen of Hearts, Simon said that 12 women have already signed-on with a cumulative donation of $24,250, and 15 other women have pledged to give and spread the word.

Once a $1 million base fund is established, the money earned from interest, which could equate to $50,000 to $60,000 annually, will be spent on a variety of philanthropic events and regional nonprofit organizations that will benefit youth development, environmental welfare, health and human services, and more.

“I hope to reach the million-dollar goal in 12 months. A thousand women in one year seems so possible in this community,” said founding member Cindy Monroe, part owner of TNT Materials and the Rock Garden.

Simon upped the ante with enthusiasm, stating that she hopes to see a full half of that goal raised by Feb. 9, the date set for this year’s luncheon and the fund’s formal kickoff.

The foundation is also encouraging outside donations to the fund, as well as the sponsorship of young women, perhaps daughters or granddaughters, who are dedicated and passionate, and would like to be a part of this group, but who otherwise cannot afford the minimum contribution.

Hobday said she is excited for a type of networking that will teach, strengthen, and increase women’s capacity to engage and interact with one another.

“Women in their 30s have watched their mothers giving silently. I don’t think we have done a good job of mentoring, and nurturing, and passing the baton,” Hobday said. “This fund will strengthen and increase women’s capacity to engage and interact with other women who have a lot to teach.”

The fund’s hand-me-down structure is perhaps the element that the participants hold most dearly. Simon, Hobday, and Monroe all discussed the importance of philanthropic involvement in the generations of young women who are now, and soon will be, coming of age.

“The endowment will remain intact,” Monroe said. “It’s not here for one project and then gone. Once the categories are developed, they can grow from there.”

Contact the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation at 587-1776.