Selections from Interviews: Women on Family, Philanthropy, and the Future

If I could relive any moment? Caring for David when he was young and in school—very endearing moments, a child at a certain age, early years of school. A fun kid. The other period would have been before David was in our home. When I met my husband, planning our marriage, all of those early years.

– Grace Steuri, Community Volunteer

Photo of Nan Snow by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

I went to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Little Rock. Our regional office was in Dallas. I became regional federal coordinator. Really a joy. The whole purpose of the position was to have women move into higher-grade positions. I traveled a lot. By this time, I’d gotten involved in what I loved. They call it now the second wave of feminism, late ’60s, early ’70s. We knew we were just setting the stage for young women in the future.

– Nan Snow, Writer & Administrator

My mother’s 70th birthday—my siblings and I and my father all put in some money [toward her community foundation donor fund]. I was really tickled with that. My father was ill and died the next year, and so a lot of contributions went to the fund. Then she died the next year. The fund is like $20,000 now. My siblings and I make decisions about grants. It goes to Saline County nonprofits—some of the things she was concerned about.

– Mary Dillard, Consultant & Community Volunteer

I used to like to be quiet that I gave something, but I’ve learned now—even though I’m not comfortable doing it—to say, “I’m doing this,” so everybody hears it. So then hopefully they will do it, too. Because I know when somebody else gives, I am more likely to give.

– Dr. Lee Lee Doyle, Philanthropist & Retired Researcher

Photo of June Freeman by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

I had the good fortune of having an identification in the community, of being married into a family that had some respect in Pine Bluff. I didn’t always have to explain who I was. I think I had entrée into things I might not have had otherwise. I was able to get people to participate: head of the bank, chamber of commerce, port authority. I met them at their level.

– June Freeman, Community & Arts Worker

 

You know how they say, “all politics is local”? All good work is local. It has to come through community efforts at the grassroots. If you’re going to create a world of caring people, you’ve got to start with creating caring children, young adults, and then moving them up the ladder in terms of their believing that they have an obligation to give back.

– Jo Evelyn Elston, Educator & Community Volunteer

Photo of Robyn Horn by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

My mother, my sister, and I feel like the arts are really a deep part of who we are. It’s something that’s given us identity, all three of us. At Windgate Foundation, we have this focus on art and arts education in Arkansas and nationwide. A lot of people learn visually. These are things that can change people’s lives. It’s important to continue to support these organizations we’ve gotten to know—they’re really on the right track—to make sure some of these places will be around after we’re not here to help anymore.

– Robyn Horn, Artist & Philanthropist

The thing that is most striking to me is that young women who have been born in the last 30 years, I don’t think are as acutely aware that women are still pioneers. Just as blacks are still pioneers. That it’s million-mile, if not million-year, work. No matter how the policy is written, there’s always this drop off between what is codified and how it’s put into practice. My hope for young people is that they will understand that this work in the area of justice, and fairness, and equity, and equality is always evolving because they’re things of the heart.

– Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton, Retired Foundation Executive