Women of the Foundation
By Ashley Nichols and Erin Cooper
During the month of March, the nation recognizes Women’s History Month as an opportunity to remember and honor the contributions of women throughout American history. And at The First Methodist Church of Fort Worth Foundation we have many women who have funded, championed, and carried our vision over the years. They have been women committed to the church and the city, who have offered their resources and skills to the service of both. This month we want to honor and celebrate their years of service to the Foundation, church, and greater community – looking to the past, present, and future.
Our Founding Mothers
Looking to the past, it is impossible to talk about our history and establishment without talking about Mrs. “Bess” Broderick and her mother Ella Smith. In the early years of the Foundation, they gave the single largest donation in our history, a gift bestowed by Bess upon the death of her mother.
Years later another woman, by the name of Blanche Owens Ballard, would also leave a legacy of generosity, not just for the Foundation but for Fort Worth. She gave the second largest gift in the Foundation’s history, now known as the Blanche Owens Ballard Fund, alongside her many donations to other local organizations like the Salvation Army and Cooks Children's Hospital.
Fran Stuart gave the foundation one of its most generous Charitable Remainder Uni-trust gifts. She had met her husband through the Coworkers Class in 1945 and they built a successful business together. With their children, Fran and her husband were active members of the church through music.
Sue Sumner and her husband George believed Confirmation to be one of the most important events in a young person’s life. So, together they made a significant gift to ensure Confirmation education continued to be done well in the church.
Establishing a Legacy
Helen W. Watt was the first female officer and director of the Foundation. She was a long-time member of our church and was not only dedicated to soliciting gifts for the Foundation but was invested in mentoring the next generation of altruistic Foundation supporters. In 2006 the Helen W. Watt Society was created to reflect her legacy, to continue to honor the generosity and vision of others.
Read more about the Helen Watt Society on our website.
A Bright Future
The Foundation Board is currently home to six dynamic, skilled, and passionate women. When asked about serving on the Foundation they each expressed gratitude and a heart for their beloved church. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without these amazing leaders. (Read more on the Foundation website.)
We believe we are better together, and the future looks bright with these capable and generous women at the forefront!
Of course, we could talk about these amazing women all day. We truly are grateful for their service and how the continue to support the Foundation today. You can learn more about them by visiting the Foundation website (under "About"). You will also find a bio on each of our current female Board Members.