The Karen Moran Leadership Fund: A Legacy to Cultivate Maine's Female Leadership

The Karen Moran Leadership Fund: A Legacy to Cultivate Maine's Female Leadership

Imagine what Maine would look like if:

Women leaders represented half of the Maine legislature (instead of its current 30%)?

Women-owned businesses comprised half of Maine businesses (instead of its current 25%)?

Women led half of the largest employers in Maine (instead of the current 20%)?

Karen Moran was a Yarmouth leader with uncommon courage and integrity, fueled by a fierce passion for holding space for many diverse perspectives, particularly under-represented voices. As an innovative leader, a magnetic teacher, a consummate consultant, and a discerning coach, Karen's style was to lead from behind, nudging gently and firmly, bringing awareness to the heart of an issue. She was known to deftly guide people to their growing edge in a way that resulted in their feeling the joy of having successfully done the work by themselves. In her memory, her family and friends established The Karen Moran Leadership Fund for Women and Girls to reflect her commitment to strengthening leadership capacity, ensuring that women and girls of all races and classes have access to opportunities to reach their full potential.

Within a year of its founding, the Karen Moran Leadership Fund collected an astounding $500,000 in gifts and pledges to create a perpetual fund to support leadership programs for Maine women and girls. Dick Hallstein, Karen's widower, informed the Maine Women's Fund that he had included a gift to the Karen Moran Leadership Fund in his estate plans, and graciously accepted membership in the Ellen Wells Legacy Society to be recognized for his future planned gift.

Sadly, this past fall, a year and 11 days after Karen's passing, Dick succumbed to cancer. While he had helped to create the KMLF to honor his wife, his estate designated the Karen Moran Leadership Fund with a significant gift using his unused retirement plan assets. As a result, together with many generous gifts in memory of Dick, the Karen Moran Leadership Fund has grown to over $850,000 in gifts and pledges. Still others have added to the fund by subsidizing its leadership grant-making capacity through their own gifts or Donor Advised Funds at the Maine Women's Fund. Yet more are helping the fund's future impact through their own planned gifts, resulting in a total of over $1,100,000 in current and future gifts in support of leadership programs for women and girls.

In a relatively short amount of time, friends and family of two people dear to so many in Maine and beyond have come together to create a powerful force for supporting the leadership aspirations of girls and women throughout Maine. 

Together, we have the opportunity to bring out the innate leadership qualities within Maine women and girls, providing them opportunities to build inner strength, find their voices, and develop the confidence to pursue their dreams. By funding  programs like Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Maine NEW Leadership, Girls Scouts, the Passages Program of Wayfinder Schools, Maine Women's Policy Center, Trekkers, Coastal Studies for Girls, Tree Street Youth and a myriad of others doing great work, the KMLF will help Maine women and girls embolden and sustain their voices to make individual and collective contributions as leaders of Maine.

The Maine Women's Fund is proud to partner with the Karen Moran Leadership Fund. We envision a Maine where women and girls lead, thrive, and buoy up communities to prosperity.



Be sure to pick up Dick's inspiring book, "Life, Love and Loss: Pathways to Peace and Possibilities" at Amazon. All proceeds benefit the Maine Women's Fund. 




Photos, from top: Karen Moran; Marilyn Bronzi, MWF Board of Directors, with dear friend Dick Hallstein at the 2014 Leadership Luncheon; 

Posted 03.08.2015 under News and Resources