Fred Smith: My Fair Lady

by | Oct 17, 2013

In 1931, Judge Sam Lindsey donated a plot of land on South Broadway to the Tyler Women’s Forum for their new building – the Tyler Woman’s Building – with the stipulation that the building be completed within one year. That was quite a challenge in 1931, but it was dedicated one year later and has served Tyler as a meeting place not only for women’s groups but the entire community. I’m saying this to illustrate the impact of a significant challenge to a group of committed women in Tyler. That is a theme here. Women start things that become successful.

Just as Sam Lindsey challenged the Women’s Forum in 1931, there is a similar challenge for men in Tyler. Six years ago The Women’s Fund was started by a few dedicated women and it has now grown to more than 233 members. The Fund has made more than $500,000 in grants to non-profits focused on important issues and needs of women and children.

I have watched their progress closely and have never seen any foundation or organization take more care for the process of making grants and following the results. In six years there have been no men making gifts to the fund, but I think this is the time for us to be part of their work.

May I make this personal? My mother grew up in terrible poverty in Nashville, Tennessee. As you know, poverty is not just an economic condition. It is often accompanied by abuse, neglect, lack of adequate housing and hunger. All these were true in my mother’s life at a young age. Had there been a Women’s Fund in Nashville, it might well have been different and instead of the early life she experienced, she might have had a better story. There are many women and children here who could be helped.

That is why I have asked The Women’s Fund if I might be a donor to honor my mother and invite men in Tyler to do the same. If there is a woman in your life – mother, wife, daughter – you would like to honor, I would encourage you to contact The Women’s Fund Coordinator, Betsy Hahn at (903)509-1771 or


  1. Sue Saxenmeyer

    Thanks, Fred, for your caring and giving heart. For your encouragement, praise and for your example…as a member of The Women’s Fund, I appreciate you!

  2. Peggy Berry

    Thank you, Fred, for a loving tribute to your mother! Thank you also for inviting other men to consider a gift to help provide grants that help women and children.


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