Purdue Women’s Head Basketball Coach, Sharon Versyp, presents at the 2019 Annual Women’s Fund Tea at the Porter County Expo Center on September 11, 2019.
The 18th Annual Women’s Tea took place on Friday, September 14. Over 200 women of all ages gathered together for lunch to support the Women’s Fund of Porter County. This year’s guest speaker was Sarah Harmeyer, Founder and Chief People Gatherer of Neighbor’s Table.
In 2010, Sarah asked her father to build her a big farm-house style table that she put in her backyard in Dallas, Texas. She hung chandeliers from the oak tree above and invited her neighbors to dinner. That first night, 91 people showed up. The simple idea of inviting a neighbor to share a meal turned into something extraordinary. Sarah has now had over 3,000 people sit at the very table her father built for her years ago, joining together in laughter, conversation, connections and love.
While Sarah continues to invite people to her table, her dad now builds tables for people all over the country. They have personally delivered tables to 29 states, with a goal of having a “Neighbor’s Table” in every state by 2020.
Sarah spoke about the importance of being intentional. She challenged the ladies in attendance to invite people to gather together. With a simple act of inviting strangers to gather around the table, you never know what might happen. “Community is important” said Sarah Harmeyer, “A community changes when we are intentional about what we do.” With her father serving as “Chairman of the Boards”, the official table-maker, and Sarah serving as Chief People Gatherer, they have created a movement of connecting people and communities.
The Women's Fund of Porter County offers an opportunity for women to collectively share in the joy of giving. Women from all backgrounds come together with one common goal in mind - improve the lives of women and children in our community. With the goal of raising $100,000 annually, $50,000 is awarded in two high-impact grants while the remainder is permanently endowed in the Women’s Fund at the Porter County Community Foundation.
Since 2007, The Women's Fund has awarded over $550,000 in grants and holds over $917,000 in the endowment fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue on forever.
“When is the last time you have done something for 522 days,” said Stephanie Jones, to the 234 women in attendance at the 17th Annual Women’s Tea hosted by the Porter County Community Foundation.
“Something that you love; that you’re passionate about?” she asked the crowd. For Stephanie, what started out as a New Year’s Resolution turned into an ongoing, philanthropic adventure. For 522 days straight, Stephanie gave a gift.
“My definition of a ‘gift’ is when you give something and expect nothing in return,” said Stephanie. As she spoke of her intentional, sometimes serendipitous gifts given away throughout this journey to family, friends or even complete strangers, she explained how this challenge really stretched her, in more ways than she could have imagined.
“Giving stretches you in your goals, gratitude, and giving,” said Stephanie. “Giving to someone else is a way to show gratitude; to say thank you to those in your life, whether it’s with your time, talents, or money.”
Stephanie shared her inspirational journey and challenged those in attendance to stretch themselves by giving a philanthropic gift to the Women’s Fund of Porter County and help make a difference in the lives of women and children, right here in our community.
Impact Porter County is a giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation. “Impact Porter County has a simple and ambitious goal,” said Bill Higbie, President & CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “To raise $100,000 annually, half of which would be given away immediately to causes that support women and children; the other half would be endowed to continue helping organizations forever.”
“What you have done here is pretty crazy,” said Bill Higbie. Today, more than $500,000 has been awarded in Women’s Fund grants to nonprofits in Porter County. The Women’s Fund now holds nearly $800,000 in an endowed fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue forever. “Thank you for being crazy generous,” added Higbie.
Stephanie Jones is an author, speaker, and life coach. As a fearless changemaker, she’s been a private investigator, police officer, and senior manager in a Fortune 100 company. Stephanie is a member of Impact Porter County and serves as a board member for the Porter County Community Foundation.
If you would like to learn more about Impact Porter County, view recent grant recipients, or find out how you can help make a difference, visit www.pccf.gives.