Why I’m about to pay $65 for a lunch for the Kathy Barnett Memorial Fund

I cried most of the trip back from SIA in 2008. I had just heard that Kathy Barnett was dead, and was imagining the long and lonely flight her husband, my editor, must have been making home from their holiday in New Zealand, without his partner. Not the plan.

Rob Montgomery, The People You Love Become Ghosts Inside of You

Bob and Kathy Barnett published my first article in the Pique in October 2002. It was tempting to frame the cheque. But I cashed it, just as happily.

I’m sitting down today to write my 51st feature for them.

If the best learning comes from doing, the Pique has been my best education, a forum to workshop my way into long-form journalism, something few emerging writers get a chance at.

Given an opportunity to pay back and pay it forward at the same time, I leapt. Send the elevator back down, as it were.

The mission is to keep growing the Kathy Barnett Memorial Fund. It’s the best way I can think of to invest in my peer group and engage in a long-term upstream philanthropy, that does more than just put band-aids on urgent immediate needs, of which there are plenty.

The Kathy Barnett Memorial Fund is an endowment fund held by the Community Foundation of Whistler, that provides annual grants for women in the Sea to Sky corridor to pursue a personal and professional development opportunity, in partnership with a local charity.  The return comes back to the community, because, let’s face it, the girls are the glue.

Even the World Bank understands that “The empowerment of women is smart economics.” Kathy Barnett got that too. Our community was richer for having her. Long may it be so.

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