Via: People Newspapers

By: Amelia Taylor

Texas Women’s Foundations held its 38th annual luncheon Sept. 26 with actress, producer, and USC student Storm Reid as the keynote speaker.

The event, co-chaired by Ashleigh Everett and Yolanda Garcia, at the Hilton Anatole, drew nearly 1,000. It began with a performance of “Brave” by the Highland Park Lads and Lassies under the direction of Tiffany Solano.

“My personal why is embodied in my mother, who has instilled in me love of community, hard work, and importance of creating a legacy,” Everett said. “Also, my two amazing daughters are growing up in a world where they see women who have accomplished so much, yet still struggle to obtain decent health care, financial security, and leadership opportunities.”

“I want to make sure that the opportunities that I was provided in this country, ones not available for my mother and grandmother, are provided for the next generation of leaders,” Garcia continued. “Ashleigh and I had to cross a very tight rope to achieve success, and we want to widen that rope to make the path just a little bit easier for Texas girls and women.”

Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall spoke about the work of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

“Choose teammates who are passionate about TXWF,” Marshall said. “Determine what you’ll do. Get familiar with the playbook. Step on the court and advance the great work of TXWF. Finally, stay alert and ready to make a difference.”

Becky Sykes, one of the 19 founders of the foundation, first board chair, and TXWF president/CEO shared about the organization’s legacy and its vision set 38 years ago to support Texas women.

“Helen LaKelly Hunt brought the idea of a women’s foundation to Dallas and rounded up 18 other diverse women,” Sykes said. “The leadership was intentionally diverse — racially, politically and socio-economically.”

“This past year, we have invested $4.9 million in grants to 197 organizations, plus additional support for research and advocacy,” said Candice Hill, co-chair of the XIX Society, which was named for the 19 founders of the foundation. “Since 1986, we have invested more than $78 million to better the lives of women and families statewide.”

Amanda Kraemer, Target senior vice president, introduced Reid and Deborah Ferguson, NBC 5 anchor, who moderated the conversation.

“When I’m trying to give advice to young women, and I look around at rooms like this — this is proof that people are willing to invest in you, to empower you, to pour into you,” Reid said. “You are seen. You are heard. There is a whole foundation that is dedicated to seeing young women be great.”

“We experienced meaningful dialogue that inspired us to be part of the change,” added Dena L. Jackson, TXWF interim president and CEO. “Together, let’s create a more equitable society for us all. With our past in mind and our present at hand, we can create positive economic and social change now, for the future.”