Karen Marriott With Women's Giving Fund Grantee

How are you connected to our community here in Park City, Utah? Growing up in the Washington D.C. area, and particularly during my high school years, my family would travel to Park City to ski. In 1997 I moved to this beautiful mountain town full-time to raise my children because I wanted to continue enjoying the resorts that I loved skiing at earlier in life.

How do you fit service into your life? Service is an integral part of my life. I grew up watching my parents balance work, church, family, fun, community, and service. As I became an adult I realized that there were needs around me, so I made the time in my life to fulfill my desire to serve and help meet those needs. When I am actively engaged in service, it gives me an opportunity to build meaningful relationships and add value, but also recognize the value in all of us. Our Park City Community is filled with opportunities to serve and as you say yes to opportunities that arise, you feel more integrated into the community. As you build greater value, I’ve found that you also feel greater personal value.

Tell us about your work with Marriott Daughter’s Foundation? My sisters and I founded the Marriott Daughters Foundation over 8 years ago. Having a foundation that we are all actively engaged in has given us an opportunity to connect on another level, while supporting nonprofits in and outside our communities. We focus on areas and issues that we are passionate about, and where we feel we can have real impact. Much of our focus is around supporting health and human services. It is a blessing to be able to give and support organizations that are doing great work.

You have gained critical interest in mental health in the last couple of years, where does your passion come from? To be healthy and be able to have healthy relationships, we all must pay attention and care for our mental health. If we have a broken bone, we see a doctor and get it set, but when our community feels the weight of depression or despair, or the exhaustion, or anxiety, not everyone seeks out help. There was a behavioral health study done by the county and I believe it stated that 66% of adults in our community who suffer from a mental health diagnosis are not receiving any therapy or support. One reason for this lack of therapy or support may be the stigma getting in the way and the other reason is the lack of access to behavioral health resources.

I’ve had a unique opportunity to work with many women in our community that had suffered adverse childhood experiences, domestic abuse and/or suffer from behavioral health challenges. I was stuck trying to find not just affordable clinical therapy but also affordable medication management to support these women. It’s painful to see individuals suffer, like seeing someone walking around with a broken arm which they cannot afford to fix or can’t find a doctor that can help. I engaged because I was trying to help friends, who weren’t enrolled in any system, find the help they needed to feel well enough to engage in society, to heal and feel supported–so that they could participate in life, work and healthy relationships.

Thank you for being a Wonder Woman, why did you decide to support Women’s Giving Fund? The Women’s Giving Fund is an organization that brings women together to support other women and children within Summit County. Having served on the Women’s Giving Fund Grants Committee, I learned more about the dozens of organizations in Park City that support healthier and happier women, children and families. It feels good to have an opportunity to make a collective impact with other women that also care about meeting the needs of families in our community, and the annual grant we grant each year does so much good in our town.

I have seen these grants have a direct impact on children and mothers in Park City who have sent their children to PC Tots, or the girls that have used the Children Justice Center’s facility after being sexually assaulted. Since I work with Peace House, I also see the impact of the grant there with their new campus which serves families who are survivors of domestic abuse. Big Brothers and Big Sisters received the grant last year and I love what their program does to support students by providing mentorship. This past summer People’s Health Clinic was the recipient of the Women’s Giving Fund Grant for their efforts to serve the uninsured families in our community, and that is deeply impactful as well. The Women’s Giving Fund is a group that I am proud to be a part of.