Jolie and Theresa’s Purpose Driven Friendship: Raising the Female Athletes of the Future

Jolie and Theresa with family members.


When Theresa Sherry moved to Park City in 2020, she became closer with her friend Jolie Iacobelli, who she met years earlier and whose daughter was a member of Theresa’s organization, Tenacity Project. Their friendship is deeply rooted in their shared goals.

“As Jolie and I have become closer friends, we have found common ground with our passion for the mental health benefits that sports offer as much as the physical health benefits,” Theresa said of her friend. Both women are members of Park City Community Foundation’s Women’s Giving Fund.

Theresa is a former pro-athlete and the founder of Tenacity Project, which is a nonprofit youth lacrosse organization that aims to teach valuable life lessons and empower young women. She has been a member of Women’s Giving Fund for two years, and her biggest passion is increasing access to sports for all girls.

“I think sports are the best environment for developing leadership skills, coping skills, and the ability to handle pressure — all tools for navigating life off the field,” Theresa said.

Jolie has lived in Park City since 2004 and was a founding member of Women’s Giving Fund in 2014. She loves Park City for its opportunities to stay active and be involved within the community, especially as she raises her kids.

“I am passionate about all girls having access to positive coaching and consistent language around acceptance, mental health and integrity,” Jolie stated.

The two women have bonded over their love of staying active, as they got to know each other on hikes and mountain bike rides and found a common goal in Tenacity’s mission to increase access to sports for young girls. Eventually Jolie gifted Theresa a Women’s Giving Fund membership, and her support network expanded exponentially.

Theresa had her first daughter a year after moving to Park City, and now has another baby on the way. The support she’s received from the purpose-driven friendships she’s made through Women’s Giving Fund has blossomed into a “village of support.”

“I love that Theresa had the strength to pick up and move her and her company to Park City and raise a family in a community that is welcoming, accepting and here for one another,” Jolie said of her friend, “and [she] has in return been a positive influence on young girls in sport throughout the state!”

Purpose-driven friendships are those formed through a bond rooted in a common goal or interest. These friendships are shown to create deeper and longer lasting connections, and are a huge part of Women’s Giving Fund’s intention. With over 2,000 members who are passionate about issues concerning women+ and children of Summit County, there are abundant opportunities to form purpose-driven friendships within the group.

Though Theresa is newer to Women’s Giving Fund, Jolie has been around since its inception, and said it’s given her connections to women across the local nonprofit scene to better understand how we can each make an impact in our community.

“​​In the early days it was a fantastic vehicle to collaborate with so many women from different generations!” Jolie said. “It is those friendships that I most certainly would not have forged without [Women’s Giving Fund].”

Theresa too, said Women’s Giving Fund gave her the opportunity to meet leaders across Park City.

“It is certainly easier to spend time with people who have similar purposes as you, and in living that purpose, you can progress toward common goals,” Theresa said.

Through these friendships Theresa was able to form a small group of people to help her refresh Tenacity Project’s mission statement and adjust her program to develop female empowerment, youth leadership, and access to health benefits in youth lacrosse across Utah.

“Having a purpose-driven friendship allows us to speak freely and share thoughts and ideas with one another in an environment that is based on trust and common goals,” Jolie added. “I have learned so much from Theresa and her experiences in sport, business, positive coaching, as well as non-profit management. She continues to inspire me each day with all that she gives to the lives of girls and young women.”

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