A year ago, the Park City Community Foundation issued a daunting challenge to local women to establish a $1 million endowment through 1,000 individual donations of $1,000 each. The ultimate goal was to create a perpetual nest egg whose interest earnings could be used to support locally based programs for women and children. And they hoped to raise the money in one year.
Eleven months and more than 900 donations later, it appears likely that the PCCF's Women's Giving Fund will meet and surpass its lofty intention.
It is not surprising that Park City and Summit County women (along with many of their spouses, dads and brothers) have stepped up to meet the foundation's call to action. The community has long been a hotbed for women activists.
In the late 1970s, before Park City began to emerge as a resort town, it was filled with resourceful women like the town's self appointed historian, Bea Kummer, who ran a guest house for some of the town's first seasonal workers and was devoted to preserving the town's history. Another leading lady of the time was Mary Lehmer, one of Utah's first female lawyers and a colorful critic of City Hall.
In the 1980s, as the town began to attract more upscale residents, longtime Parkite Nan McPolin, set a high benchmark for community service. A perpetual volunteer, she encouraged local schoolchildren to plant flowers and pressed local government for services for seniors and the indigent. Local politicians didn't have a prayer of winning an election without her endorsement.
Like many of the pioneering women who preceded them, they were vital participants in creating the dynamic, generous community of which we are now so proud.
Park City's tradition of strong female leadership continues today. KPCW news anchor Leslie Thatcher would make Mary Lehmer proud, Park City Museum Director Sandra Morrison has turned Bea Kummer's ad hoc efforts to preserve Park City's past into a professional and stunning museum, and a host of nonprofit leaders like Nann Worel of the People's Health Clinic and Jane Patten of Peace House are working, just like Nan McPolin did, to ensure services are available women and families in need.
The Park City Community Foundation, led coincidentally by two visionary women, Trisha Worthington and Katie Wright, is continuing to translate the community's idealistic goals into tangible, financially sound initiatives. At the end of the month they will take a moment to celebrate with the Women's Giving Fund's 1,000 founding members before beginning to figure out where the funds will have the greatest impact.
Until then, there is still time to be part of Park City's legacy of extraordinary women.
For more information about contributing to the Park City Women's Giving Fund go to: theparkcityfoundation.org