The Ukiah Daily Journal
The Deborah E. Barber Fund
Last week gave us the opportunity to take a pause from COVID-19 and reflect on the beauty of motherhood. By celebrating Mother’s Day, we pay tribute to the women who have helped shape who we are today.
My own mother, Deborah Barber, is a force to be reckoned with and made a huge impression on the four girls she raised. When she recently turned 80, my sisters and I began discussing the best way to honor her and her legacy.
The Women’s Legacy Fund at the Community Foundation allows individuals to create a named fund to honor women and their accomplishments now and in the future. We knew this was the perfect way to celebrate her. Together, we started the Deborah E. Barber Fund.
The primary purpose of the Women’s Legacy Fund is to support organizations in Mendocino County that assist women and girls to strengthen their physical, emotional, intellectual and financial wellbeing.
As a part of this fund, the Deborah E. Barber Fund will direct its grant-making in the fields of education and mental health with the goal of providing educational opportunities that enable women to reach their potential and experience the sense of mental well-being that comes from doing what one loves.
Throughout her life and career, our mother pushed for all women to be able to reach their full potential without limitations. As a woman in corporate America in the ’ 70s, ’80s and ’90s, she shattered the glass ceiling and advanced the careers of numerous female professionals along the way. She fought for and won these advances while still being true to herself, remaining authentic, and being patient, loving, generous and kind.
Like so many women born on the eve of the Second World War, expectations were for her to marry and have children. After graduating from college, she married my father and had four daughters within six-and-a-half years. One of the things that really inspires me about my mother was that after getting all of us in school, she began working part-time at a nonprofit and returned to school herself for a Masters in Organizational Development.
This launched her career in Human Resources, culminating in the position of Vice President of Administration in the burgeoning tech industry in the 2000s. Her incredible dedication to work and volunteerism really define who my mother is, and is why my sisters and I felt that establishing a Women’s Legacy sub-fund in her honor was the perfect way to celebrate her accomplishments.
My sisters and I each embody, and attempt to actualize, some element of our mother’s personality and sense of purpose. Our hope is that in creating this fund, we can support other women and girls in achieving well-being by striving towards what they love.
When I reflect on her example. in my life, it guides me to what is most important: giving back and supporting the local community.
By collaborating with my sisters to establish this fund, we hope that we can support other women and girls in Mendocino County to reach their full potential and experience a similar sense of well-being that we have been fortunate to share because of our mother’s modeling and tenacity.
Please join me in recognizing the accomplishments of all of the amazing women in their 80s today and take a moment this week to pause and honor the incredible women and girls in your life.