Women's Giving Circle honors founder with namesake award

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
Carolyn Steinhauser was honored as the first recipient of the prize named in her honor. The award will be given to other community leaders who embody her philanthropic spirit in years to come. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Carolyn E. Steinhauser spent years dedicating her time and energy toward bettering the York community, according to her friends and colleagues.

The founder of the York County Community Foundation Women's Giving Circle was honored  Thursday, Nov. 8, as the first recipient of her namesake award created by the Women's Giving Circle.

As she accepted the award at a luncheon held at Marketview Arts, Steinhauser urged people to continue to work together to tackle issues still facing the community. 

Steinhauser has been active in local organizations since moving back to York County to raise her family. 

She was previously an executive director of the local YWCA and an executive director of the former York Foundation, now the York County Community Foundation. 

Steinhauser also was the first non-attorney president of the York County Bar Foundation and was a longtime trustee at York College of Pennsylvania.

"I don't think there's a project of significance in York County she has not had a hand in," said Women's Giving Circle chair Victoria Connor. 

Steinhauser co-founded the Women's Giving Circle in 2003.

At the time, she knew little about strategic philanthropy but had dreams of what the organization could accomplish, she said. 

The group pools dues from about 85 local women to provide seed money for community projects. Collectively, the group has invested more than $750,000 in community projects. 

The idea to form the Womens' Giving Circle came about during a road trip, and over the course of 15 years Steinhauser has been everything from the navigator to the fuel behind the foundation, said member Judy Simpson. 

Women's Giving Circle chair Victoria Connor presents a painting to founder Carolyn Steinhauser as she was honored with a namesake award at a luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 8.  (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

The Carolyn E. Steinhauser Prize: Last year, Steinhauser began to transition out of some of her responsibilities within the foundation, Connor said. 

When considering how to meaningfully honor her legacy in the community, the idea of the namesake prize came to be, she said. 

The Steinhauser Prize will be awarded to individuals or organizations who continue in Steinhauser's footsteps, community-building in York County, by advancing projects that promote quality community education and responsible sustainability, as well as collaborations that result in collective impact. 

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The foundation is  accepting applications for future nominees. They are due by Feb. 28, 2019. 

The winner will receive a $1,000 grant, which awardees can direct to the nonprofit of her or his choice. 

Those interested can self-nominate or recommend others on the Women's Giving Circle website

The award will be granted at least once every two years. 

In addition to the grant money, the recipients will receive a signed copy of a painting given to Steinhauser on Thursday. 

Painted by local artist Ophelia Chambliss, the piece is said to symbolize the community outreach efforts Steinhauser made — and continues to make — in York. 

Even as she was being honored, Steinhauser was quick to remind those attending to keep working to combat issues across the county, from addiction to homelessness.