“There are no strangers – just friends I haven’t met yet.”
These were just some of the words describing the life of Joan Barsotti on a proclamation presented to her family at this year’s annual Women’s Fund El Dorado banquet. The event was held at the Serrano Country Club last month and I had the honor of attending with my wife – a Women’s Fund member.
Joan’s life was remembered for her philanthropy, kindness and loving spirit. She touched many in life and judging from the tears flowing in the room that evening she continues to touch people after her passing.
Like Joan, the Women’s Fund El Dorado is making a difference. In just four short years the organization has grown from 60 to 265 members. The membership is committed to expanding and promoting the participation and financial impact of women for the purpose of supporting community philanthropy.
At this year’s membership banquet the Women’s Fund announced the distribution of $40,000 in grants. Those receiving grants included $15,000 to New Morning Youth and Family Services, $9,468 to CASA El Dorado, and $5,000 for the Upper Room. Additionally three Impact grants of $3,333 each were awarded to Family Connections, Golden Sierra High School and Placerville Union School District.
Anyone can become a member of the Women’s Fund for as little as $200 per year and unlike other charitable funds, each member has a say in where and how contributions are allocated through a voting process. The Women’s Fund is part of the El Dorado Community Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. This relationship holds administration fees to a modest 1.5 percent of the fund. So pooled contributions can earn more over time and be used for greater good.
During the event, Katy Peek, outgoing board chair of the Women’s Fund, described incoming board Chair Judy Morris by saying, “If you want a job done well, you ask a busy person.” Judy is certainly one busy lady as she is also currently serving as president of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County. Judy’s spirit and tenacity will play an important role in moving the Women’s Fund forward.
It was indeed an honor to be one of a handful of men dining with 200 lovely ladies that evening. Nowhere else could you find such a dynamic and motivated group of women in one room representing all sectors of the county. Meeting Jeanne Harper’s delightful 90-year-old mother visiting from San Diego was also a pleasant treat.
Congratulations are also in order for Susie Davies. Susie was the recipient of the Woman of the Year Award. Her tireless efforts at MORE along with her community involvement are an inspiration not only for women, but all of us. El Dorado County is fortunate to have someone so energetic and young (current age unavailable for publication) leading the charge in working for a better community.
El Dorado County is blessed to have so many wonderful women engaged in an effort to help others through their generosity. The Women’s Fund is an example of what the power of numbers can achieve. Or according to writer Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Richard Esposito is publisher of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Wednesday.