Fort Bend’s Impactful Women in Non-Profits

In recognition of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society, Congress passed a resolution in 1987 designating March as Women’s History Month. Since then, every March, the United States has celebrated Women’s History Month, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of women in various fields such as science, politics, literature, art, and activism.

Fort Bend County celebrates several women who have played important roles in shaping our community, including those we know:  Jane Long, Emily Austin Perry, Mary Jones, Dolly Dibrell Dyer, Nancy Jones, and, of course, Mamie George.

Historic Fort Bend County Book Mobile

Then there are the ones you may not know, including the 12 members of the Share-a-Book club, all ladies who, in 1947, were granted permission to establish a library. These enterprising members were Mrs. Mayde Waddell Butler, Mrs. Emma Lee Schawe Dickerson, Mrs. L.D. (Doris) Erwin, Mrs. John (Fern) Garmany, Mrs. Alvin E. Hockmuth, Mrs. Maude Wallace Knipling, Mrs. Kathleen Joerger Lindsey, Mrs. Angela Joerger McNutt, Mrs. Ruth Beckmann Shult, Mrs. Marjorie Balke Vogelsang, Mrs. Viola Yates, and Mrs. Lillian Hruzek Meyer. The Fort Bend County Library System now boasts 12 locations across Fort Bend County, including The George Memorial Library.

Brenda Vogelsang Harrison and Dr. Nancy Dickey saw the unmet needs of children and families in the early 1970’s. In 1975, they worked with a group of founders to incorporate the Fort Bend County Office of Early Childhood Development. That agency has grown and evolved to become AccessHealth, serving families in our community for almost 50 years!

In 1991, The George Foundation provided a challenge grant of $10,000 to support establishing a CASA program led by Suzanne Kern. Linda Shultz would serve as the first executive director.  Mrs. Shultz would go on to be the first non-profit emergency shelter for youth in Fort Bend County in 2011, Parks Youth Ranch. Today, 69% of grantees of The George Foundation are led by women. In the past five years, Trustees have invested over $21M in women-led organizations (a little more than half of the total invested). These organizations have served over 234K Fort Bend individuals and families.