Lorraine Stuecken’s generous philanthropy and volunteer efforts have had an amazing impact on some of the most critical issues affecting our community, including initiatives supporting mental wellness, early childhood education, inclusive sports and recreation for kids, COVID-19 relief, and much, much more. Stuecken is a valued member of Women’s Giving Fund and the Park City community. We are so grateful for her commitment to Park City!
Lorraine Stuecken started skiing when she was 40 years old. In an effort to become the best skier she could possibly be, she made it her goal to eventually become a ski instructor on the slopes of the hills near her hometown of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. It wasn’t long before a trip out west to the Rocky Mountain range sparked a deep appreciation for the culture of small mountain towns. Her dream multiplied two-fold. Ski instructing in Michigan wasn’t enough, she wanted to go big and teach in the mountains out west.
Stuecken’s dream of ski instructing at a big mountain resort was realized when she landed a job at Deer Valley ski instructing for adult education groups. She and her late husband, Wally, made the commute from the lakes of Michigan to the mountains of Park City from 2000 to 2006 to work at Deer Valley in the spring months, before finally deciding to make Park City their permanent home.
Just like she did with skiing, Stuecken threw herself into the mix of the Park City community with passion upon her arrival. Both she and Wally spent endless hours volunteering at nonprofits from across Summit County. From the Christian Center of Park City and CONNECT Summit County, to the Egyptian Theatre and Park City Hospital, you name the nonprofit, and Stuecken has probably volunteered there. In 2018, the Stueckens were recognized by the Park City Rotary Club with the Jack C. Green Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.
“I used to say we were professional volunteers,” she laughed. “When I go back to Michigan, I tell my friends [Park City] is the most amazing city. It’s a very small city, and yet we have more than 100 nonprofits. Park City offers so much, but when you’re involved in these different organizations as a volunteer, it just means so much more and is so much more enjoyable.”
Stuecken first heard about Women’s Giving Fund when her husband came home in 2013 carrying a newspaper article announcing the creation of the fund by Park City Community Foundation, and Stuecken jumped at the opportunity to be involved. On top of all her other pursuits, she took interest in the trials and tribulations of women and children and sought to find a female community that felt as passionately about helping others as she did.
Since joining as one of the founding members, Stuecken’s role in Women’s Giving Fund has immensely evolved. At the first couple of meetings, Stuecken didn’t know a soul, saying she felt like a “weird old lady” surrounded by younger women who seemed to know each other one way or another. But it wasn’t long before Stuecken adopted the members of Women’s Giving Fund as her community. After years of participation, she has gone on to sponsor the membership of three women, and in 2021 will act as a Grant Committee Member in addition to her volunteer efforts, and of course, skiing.
“I didn’t have this kind of thing to share with my daughters when they were growing up, but [current] members are sharing this with their daughters, and there’s a girl’s group here now, and I find it all so exciting,” exclaimed Stuecken. “You’re bringing up the children with the values of giving, sharing, and helping others – the most important part of life.”
Stuecken’s sponsorship of three friends came from love, in hopes the gift of a Women’s Giving Fund membership would bring the women she cherishes the same enrichment, joy, and community of strong, powerful women that Stuecken has found so fulfilling over the years.
“I love everything that Women’s Giving Fund stands for; I love the education part of it, I love the social part of it, I love the food,” explained Stuecken, laughing. “It’s just such an enriching part of my life and a very, very important part of my life, and I wanted to share something with others that means so much to me.”
Now at 82, Stuecken continues to pursue philanthropy to the fullest, hoping to eventually start a nonprofit for youth that increases access to music programs, in hopes to further push the diversity, equity, and inclusion movement in Park City. The support she has found in her community of women has helped her continue to push forward in her pursuits after the passing of her husband.
“I think the whole idea of Park City Community Foundation, but particularly Women’s Giving Fund is to make us aware of the big difference for the haves and the have nots, like Beano Solomon’s Solomon Fund,” Stuecken added. “There are small things that you can do that can enrich the lives of others so much, and it’s the form and the format [of these initiatives] that allow us to do it.”