In addition to playing a key role in Park City’s Early Childhood Alliance, Tonya Cumbee is a member of Women’s Giving Fund. She has been involved with nonprofits since she was a child and knew that she wanted to give back, both monetarily and through volunteering, in Park City.
Q: What brought you to Park City?
A: I currently call Nashville home but I love the mountains, and in 2011 I wanted to buy a second home. Initially, I thought I was going to move to Jackson Hole, but I had friends with a home in Park City; they invited me to stay at their place emphasizing the convenience of flights from Nashville to Park City. My first weekend here I went to the Arts Festival and had the most wonderful time, then in the afternoon, I went to a concert, and once I got back to where I was staying that evening, I realized that I hadn’t been this happy in a long time. I called my friend’s realtor the next day. Park City being a dog-friendly town was a huge plus too!
Q: How do you fit giving into your life?
A: When I was a child, my mother loved giving back—she was always involved in the community and helping the less fortunate. In my teen years, my mom and I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters. When I moved to Nashville at 29, I was a big sister to a six–year–old. The commitment was ten hours a month for one year. I did ten hours a week for nearly ten years. I loved being her “BIG” so much that I basically sponsored my little one’s three sisters as well.
I love to get involved both monetarily and directly with organizations where I am spending my time.
Paying it forward, there’s a big difference between philanthropy and charity. Philanthropy is about focusing on what you can do to prevent problems. Charity is seeing problems and trying to find a solution.
We live in a hospitality-driven town, and many people who work in hospitality have kids that don’t always have the same opportunities as people who live or visit our town. We are so blessed to have these opportunities. Where does the opportunity start? It starts with early childhood education. Often times, kids who are given opportunity dress the same, and go to the same school, but kids who had inferior early childhood education start from a place that is too far behind.
Q: What is it about early childhood education that makes you so passionate?
A: It is so important to support the families that make Park City such a wonderful place to live. As mentioned earlier, we live in a hospitality-driven town and many of the kids who live here don’t have access to the activities that make this town so great, such as skiing, mountain biking, incredible cuisine, AP classes in school, and more. I would like to see all kids have the opportunity to start from the same place, be kindergarten ready, and be able to thrive as adults while enjoying our wonderful town fully.
Q: Why did you decide to donate to Park City Community Foundation’s Women’s Giving Fund?
A: I wanted to be involved in some way in the community, and the Women’s Giving Fund was a way to be more connected. Initially, I didn’t know exactly what Women’s Giving Fund was, but I joined anyway as I knew that it was an initiative for the betterment of women and children in the community. Since joining five years ago, I’ve made so many friends through Women’s Giving Fund. My mom is now a member and she’s built a house here, too.
Q: What do you love about Park City Community Foundation?
A: You can really see your dollars at work in Park City. I have financially supported numerous organizations in bigger cities; however, the difference it makes in our smaller town seems to be more tangible. I get very excited about it!