Meet Our Women's Fund Chair: Laurie Keeney

Laurie Keeney, Chair of The Women’s Fund Advisors Committee

Explain what The Women’s Fund is for those who aren’t familiar.
The Women’s Fund is an endowment fund created to provide funding for programs that enhance the lives of women and children less fortunate in Stark County. By using endowed funds, we are ensuring that future generations will also benefit. In addition, the Fund seeks to encourage women to become leaders in philanthropy and to educate them about the needs of women in our community.

How do you determine what organizations and programs to support?
Every three years, we hold The Women’s Fund Forum. The Forum convenes community leaders and local organizations to discuss the current needs of women and children in Stark County. From those discussions, focus areas are established for our grant dollars. A committee thoroughly reviews and evaluates the grant proposals submitted by nonprofits, ensuring that one or more of our focus areas are addressed, and then they make recommendations for funding.

How did you first get connected to The Women’s Fund?
A friend told me about The Women's Fund and invited me to the Annual Gathering. There I listened to how impactful the grant dollars can be, no matter how small. I was hooked! I wanted to be a part of something that makes a difference now and in the future.

Who are your role models for giving back to your community and why?
For as long as I can remember, my father, Andrew Imperatore, was involved in the community affairs of Great Neck, NY where I grew up. I guess it’s in my DNA! Also, my friends Natalie Weinsz, Susie VanVranken, Lisa Warburton-Gregory and Darlene Violet inspire me every day with their commitment to our community.

What would you tell other women about the Fund to encourage them to get involved?
We all can’t start our own endowment fund, but through The Women's Fund, you can make an impact and you can be a part of the power of collective giving. When you make a gift to the Fund, you serve and honor our community for years to come.

What about The Women’s Fund are you most proud of?
I'm proud and inspired to be in the same room with women who feel it’s their civic responsibility to help make our community stronger, healthier and successful. Every year when we hear from our grant recipients at our Annual Gathering, I’m proud that our group is making a difference and creating a brighter future for women and children in need.

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