On April 21, 2015, the Foundation lost a dear friend—Kathryn Green. Kathryn was a longtime member of our giving circle in the Silicon Valley, WomenGO!. We join with her family and friends to grieve and to celebrate her legacy.
I remember, when she first joined the Foundation’s giving circle in the Silicon Valley, Kathryn said maybe a dozen sentences the whole year. She was reserved, a great listener and a learner. She was eager in a quiet way. She sometimes passed on her turn during introductions or closing remarks because she was shy and wanted more time to reflect and collect her thoughts.
Kathryn was not new to philanthropy but WomenGO! was her first opportunity to do her philanthropy in a social setting. Over the next eight years I observed and benefited from Kathryn’s evolution from quiet participant to outspoken leader. I know she worked very hard to step outside of her comfort zone, and I’m proud that WomenGO! was one of the platforms where she developed her voice.
For example, it was Kathryn who posed this question to her fellow giving circle members, “What do we want to be when we grow up?” She initiated a strategic planning process, co-chaired the effort and then co-chaired the first year of the new WomenGO!, the GO standing for Giving Opportunity.
[quote_center]I never would have anticipated Kathryn to stage a revolution. And that is exactly what she did.[/quote_center]
Though she did not have children, Kathryn always expressed genuine interest in mine. She’d ask to see pictures and, before my third son was born, she sent me ideas for names. She took particular interest in my middle son, whom I sometimes describe as feisty and sensitive. Always supportive and encouraging, she listened to me with a knowing expression, as though these descriptors sounded familiar.
Our conversations covered dozens of topics over the years and I marvel at the way Kathryn approached each and every one with curiosity and humility. It made perfect sense that she was a writer. I recall my amazement when she described how the characters she wrote about spoke to her. What a gift she has, I thought.
I remember one of my last conversations with Kathryn. We were talking about the complexities of life. I was sharing the bittersweet experience of having my son then losing my mom shortly after he was born. I asked her if she felt we were tested as human beings.
[quote_center]“I don’t believe we are tested,” she said. “That just seems too…too…mean.”[/quote_center]
She giggled, then offered, “I believe all experiences are about becoming resilient.” She shared that several losses last year left her feeling on edge, always waiting for the other shoe to drop—another call or email with bad news about a loved one. She said she realized that edgy energy was both an adrenaline rush and something she could—and worked hard to—let go of.
Her words resounded powerfully, and I remember thinking, “Wow, Kathryn has really figured something out.” I left our lunch date feeling inspired and grateful to know this kind, wise woman.
Kathryn left a deep impression on me and an indelible mark on the Women’s Foundation of California. We will miss her.