Member Highlight: Claire Webber
A decade ago, Claire Webber was just starting to become involved in her family's foundation, while also reintroducing herself to the South.
"I attended my first SECF Annual Meeting, green and returning to my hometown of Atlanta, after living on the West Coast for some time," she said. "I was eager to dive into the philanthropic community and the Annual Meeting was the perfect place to re-connect."
That event was a transformational experience.
"I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderfully engaged group of thought leaders, who kindly let me sit at the adults' table," Claire said. "Between the sessions and social offerings, I was able to re-engage and haven't looked back."
That approach has quickly taken her from a newcomer to philanthropy to being one of its champions - from the "adults' table" to the main stage of the Annual Meeting, where she'll be one of five trustees interviewed for the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy plenary session on November 8.
Claire says she was surprised and honored to be among the panelists in Louisville.
"I'm always in such awe of the panelists, with their years of experience and deep, philanthropic knowledge," she said. "So, to be part of that group this year is a true honor."
This year's meeting theme is Come Together. Bridge the Divide. Claire said she hopes that message influences how people engage with one another in Louisville, including during her own session.
"I hope that attendees apply the theme to this conversation and all sessions attended," she said. "We're living in a very divisive time right now. If we could listen more closely to what is being said, we might make more progression than regression."
For Claire, the Annual Meeting is a prime opportunity for learning.
"I enjoy seeing colleagues from all over the Southeast, sharing ideas and learning," she said. "That's something the Annual Meeting is never short of: learning opportunities. Whether in a conference session or over a morning breakfast, education is all around!"
Claire became a member of the foundation's distribution committee in 2010. The trust, established in 1977 under the will of her grandmother, May Patterson Abreu, was intended to honor her late husband, Francis, through philanthropy. She is a member of the SECF Board of Trustees and is also a board member with WonderRoot, an arts and service-based organization with a mission to unite artists and community to inspire positive social change, in the Atlanta enclave of Reynoldstown.
Claire and her husband, Jeff, live in Atlanta with their standard poodles, Edith Ann Piaf & Maggie P.