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Eunice Kim and Julia Doria stand in front of podium

PEP Member Cites Women Mentors As Philanthropic Inspiration

// August 27, 2020

Eunice Kim Believes in the Power, Opportunity of Women Mentors

Eunice Kim, regional president of BNY Mellon, appreciates the many ways that WFCO offers her to impact women’s lives. Not only did she serve on the board for three years and chair WFCO’s investment committee, Eunice is a member of the following giving communities: PEP, Women Will, the Women’s Impact Investing Giving Circle, and donor-advised fundholders.

Two life circumstances shaped Eunice’s passion for supporting women. As a first-generation American, Eunice’s family pursued and believed in equal opportunity, and she fervently adopted those values herself. Secondly, as she entered the male-dominated finance world after college, she realized the power and opportunity from having women mentors. In fact, she cites her early advancement to the tutelage of two women in particular.

“They Both Really Believed in Pulling Women Up”

“Mary Erdoes, who is now the CEO of JP Morgan Asset Management, and Catherine Keating, CEO of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, both really believed in pulling women up,” said Eunice. “They are examples of senior women who very early in my career took the initiative to make sure I got to where I needed to be. Both Mary and Catherine gave me opportunities at an incredibly young age.”

Studies conducted by the Harvard Business School found that among senior roles in venture capital and private equity, women held just 9 percent and 6 percent of the positions, respectively. This imbalance makes women mentors all that more important to young women professionals.

While living in New York in her 20s and early 30s, Eunice began to actively support women in business through mentorship, and shortly thereafter, through philanthropy. Through another mentor, she discovered Dress for Success, a global not-for-profit organization that provides professional attire for women, and became involved as a volunteer.

“I thought about women who want to go to work and want to be employed, but didn’t feel confident in their clothing,” Eunice said. “You don’t even get out of the gate without the right attire and a certain level of confidence.”

Then, after moving to Colorado from New York in 2007, she learned about The Women’s Foundation and the mission clicked for her.

Community, women, empowerment, and self-sufficiency

“I liked the concept of community, women, empowerment, and self-sufficiency,” she said. “I know I was afforded opportunity that many women were not. How you get a place at the table is through opportunity, and some people need help getting that opportunity. With WFCO there’s grantmaking, there’s lobbying. There’s no other organization in Colorado that does that for women.”

Her commitment to advancing women with WFCO started with a PEP membership that she continues to this day. PEP members sustain The Foundation’s work by making a three-year commitment of a minimum of $1,000. Currently, more than 300 individuals make up PEP.

“For me, being new to Denver, it was a neat way to meet other women,” said Eunice. “What I also liked about PEP is that I didn’t have to think, research, and worry about the underlying grant recipients. The Foundation does the work. I don’t have the in-depth knowledge or resources to make sure grant recipients will be viable 5-10 years from now. That’s what WFCO does for me.”

Getting “smarter about philanthropy”

As her passion for the work of The Foundation grew, she also joined Women Will and in 2017 she opened a donor-advised fund. Eunice enjoys getting “smarter about philanthropy” and to experience the different philanthropic vehicles that her own clients may want to use.

“I’m grateful for the way The Foundation is managed,” she said. “I hope more women and men will support and become involved. It’s super important to support statewide.”

To learn more about PEP, please contact Colleen LaFontaine, director of development, at colleenl@wfco.org

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