Sue Banerjee moved to Park City just two years ago with her husband and twins in search of a home where they could live among a community, surrounded by neighbors they knew and opportunities to learn and grow through a robust nonprofit landscape. Sue studied Foreign Service at Georgetown University for her bachelor’s degree before earning her jurist doctorate from George Washington University and has had experience living in metropolitan landscapes, most recently, Silicon Valley. Sue always loved her work in the civic space. It was important to raise her children in an area with a strong sense of community, and Park City checked off all the boxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect storm. When her kids were no longer in school because of the pandemic, Sue and her husband had the means to step into educator and caretaker roles beyond what was asked of them during a ‘normal’ school year. She soon realized that her ability to engage at that level was a privilege that not all families had.
“Not a lot of people were able to do that, particularly women who couldn’t take time off work, or older kids having to take care of younger kids because parents were working,” she said.
This led to what she called an ‘epiphany’ of sorts. How can we rely so much on these systems that can just disappear, she asked, and where does that leave the most vulnerable in our society, especially women and children?
“That’s when I decided that I want to be in a place and a community that puts some thought and effort into helping women and children. Because if you help children, then you help moms. And if you help moms, you’re helping women. And so that’s where that real burning interest came from for me.”
In July of 2021, Sue attended the Women’s Giving Fund Grant Celebration as a guest of a friend and left as a member. Something about the atmosphere of women supporting women-led organizations, and the coalescence of nonprofits doing great work, supported by community members that care, spoke to Sue’s burning desire to get involved.
The more Sue learned about the initiative, the more impressed she became. Kristen Schulz, a friend of Sue’s and the director of the Early Childhood Alliance, saw Sue’s ambition and willingness to get involved as the perfect reason to nominate her to the Women’s Giving Fund Grants Committee. Whether she lived in Park City for two years, or for her entire life, Sue’s background, understanding of accessibility and inclusivity, and passion for civic involvement seemed like the perfect fit.
“The Women’s Giving Fund, to me, is remarkable because it’s so immediately impactful. I’ve looked at different nonprofits on the national and regional levels. I’ve seen their budgets and how their funds are distributed, and I honestly think it should be a model in other communities because the money goes directly to the folks who need it first, for whatever specific thing they want to use it for, and that’s something I wanted to be involved with.”
As the Grants Committee heads into its decision-making season, Sue is more excited than ever to dive into the work.
“There are some really great grant applicants in 2022, and they all are doing such amazing work. Our job has become easier that way because the applicants are so great. The difficult part will be picking one out of the group that we have.”