What I Was Looking For

By Karen S. DeJarnette

After 21 years at a company I realized I knew a lot about the organization and its products and services. I knew a lot about their stakeholders all over the world and could tell you great places to eat and things to do in airports in San Francisco, Paris, and Singapore. However, I was so focused on work I could not tell you a lot about the region in which I lived.  

My focus changed when I had the opportunity to go back to school full time. I wanted to do more in the region where I had planted my roots. But how and what? 

I learned over the next several years there was more than one company in CNY and more ‘opportunities’ (nope, still have not lost my corporate speak) to address.  I worked with community based organizations, associations, and municipal/county/state offices to draft grant proposals and request funding for workforce needs. 

It was engaging work and it introduced me to a large number of caring, forward-thinking people in the community. Yet, as we wrote our applications I felt as if the Requests for Proposals left something out.  The proposals were for people who needed help, but there were other projects that just did not meet the criteria and had real needs which could not be addressed by the funding sources identified.  I wanted to be involved in an organization where women helped other women succeed and attain their dreams.  

Then I was introduced to the Women’s Fund of Central New York. “Women are philanthropists by nature!” Katie Doucette told me and went on to say we should use our voices and dollars to support worthwhile programs.  “Volunteer, make a difference!” said Carolyn May when she asked me to use my understanding of grants (and my penchant for matrices) and join the Women’s Fund Grants Committee

I have been an active volunteer for the Women’s Fund ever since!  I am energized by the dynamic women in this organization; women who live the mission to empower women and girls in Central New York. Together we have dreamed BIG, working toward a million dollar endowment fund.  

It is exciting to be one of the women involved in this organization. Whether you are member of the Governance Council, a volunteer, or a women engaged in the community we are all coming together and actively participating to take the organization to the next step.  Our contributions, no matter how big or small, are making a positive difference for the women and girls in Central New York….and that’s exactly what I was looking for! 

The Women's Fund of Central New York is a component fund of the Central New York Community Foundation.

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