Queen of Hearts Fund tops $500,000 | SierraSun.com

Queen of Hearts Fund tops $500,000

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Courtesy of Martha SimonQueens Joan Clark, her granddaughter, Morgan Farrell, and her daughter, Emily Farrell, are one of many families that are part of the Queen of Hearts Women's Fund.
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The Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund has reached the halfway mark, leaving just three more months to hit the $1-million-in-one-year goal.

In the past nine months, 441 local women have come together to raise more than $575,000 toward a fund earmarked for community needs.

“It’s going to happen, and I think it’s going to be bigger than we imagined,” said Martha Simon, donor relations manager for the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation and the brain behind the fund.

“Success has come from the enthusiasm and the belief that we can get it done. Women want to be part of something bigger than themselves and they are not afraid to say that we’re going to make this happen. It used to blow my mind, and it really just doesn’t surprise me anymore.”

The Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund, established last February, is building a $1 million endowment from which earnings will be granted to nonprofit organizations or projects in the North Tahoe region.

Members will vote annually to determine the year’s grant recipients in the areas of health and human services, education and youth development; arts, culture and civic benefit; and environment, recreation and animal welfare.

But giving is only half of the picture, Simon said. The other half is instilling philanthropic ideals in generations to come.

“It bothers me that in our school system children are punished by having to do community service. It tells them that when you do something bad, you are forced to do something good, rather than doing something good for goodness sake,” Simon said. “We want our young ladies to understand that you volunteer because it’s the right thing to do.”

Membership to the Queen of Hearts Fund comes in the form of a $1,000 minimum donation, and a number of women have taken the additional step of sponsoring their daughters, nieces and granddaughters in an effort to pass on philanthropic values.

“Our family has a long history and tradition of service in the community. We all feel very fortunate to be able to live here, and we want to participate in the quality of life,” said Queen Vicki Kahn. “By getting our (two) daughters involved, it was just one way for them to actively participate.”

Kahn’s daughters Sara and Alexis are both in their 20s and able to understand the value of giving time and money, but other young members, like 13-year-old Queen Kelsey Porter, still have a lot to learn.

“I got our (two) girls involved to show them that they can make a difference,” said Kelsey Porter’s mother, Queen Marianne Porter, who also sponsored her 15-year-old daughter Shanley. “We have been trying to teach our kids that it is important to give back to the community and have a buy-in to where you live.”

To help these young women obtain a better grasp on philanthropy, the Queen of Hearts are establishing a “next generation” committee devoted to educating ladies ages 6-16 about community involvement.

“It’s about teaching little Betty what philanthropy means. And if it’s nothing more than little girls demonstrating that they understand philanthropy, they can have a lemonade stand, they can pick up garbage just for the community’s sake, to demonstrate to their peers that it’s about being engaged,” Simon said.

The Queens are hoping to recruit new members and reach their $1 million goal by February, one year after they began and in time to celebrate at their second annual Queen of Hearts Luncheon.

For more information on the Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund, contact Martha Simon at 587-1776.