Celebrating Women

In the true spirit of March as the celebration of International Women’s month, what better way to tie our 30th-anniversary celebration than celebrating our executive directors through the years and the programs that have benefited women in our community?

Linda Reiners served as Executive Director from 1991- 2012. Her dedication to philanthropy and conversations created a wave of philanthropic education throughout our communities, resulting in the culture of giving back where we live.  Linda had a keen sense of people and their talents for finance, community knowledge, and giving that helped her recruit a strong network of board members and committee members over her 20 years of service to the Jasper Foundation.


kristenKristen Ziese served as Executive Director from 2013 to 2016. As a long-time resident of Rensselaer, a graduate of Rensselaer Central High School and Saint Joseph’s College, Kristen knew the community and was dedicated to integrating the Jasper and Newton Foundations together. Kristen also strived to create diverse funding opportunities for all age groups.



Brienne Hooker is the current executive director of the Jasper Newton Foundation. When she joined the team in 2016 she said “this is going to continue to be a great place to live and we are the ones who are going to make it happen.” 

Her roots in Rensselaer have driven the connection through our communities in Jasper and Newton Counties. She continues to learn more about the people in our community, listen to your stories and needs, and implement the teams to make change happen. Brienne loves where she lives and hopes you do, too! 

Jasper Newton Foundation is committed to providing services to everyone in our communities. 

Specific programs and services for women keep our communities going round. Read about some of those activities below.

International Women’s Festival 2019 and 2020

While we weren’t able to celebrate in person this year on March 8th, women gathered in 2019 and 2020 to celebrate and support each other. Men who support women were in attendance as well as business owners, speakers, and sponsors of this event. Participants listened to speakers, tied banners of encouragement for display, and came together as a community. Women in leadership, business, and other contributors in the community were celebrated and empowered. Providing events that are encouraging & supportive of all are important in our community. Jasper Newton Foundation was glad to be a part of this historic event. Planning for the next day and supporting each other happens now. Follow along on the Facebook page for notifications of future events.


Women’s Giving Circles

The Jasper Newton Foundation currently supports Women’s Giving Circles in DeMotte, Rensselaer, and Remington. In the giving circles, women pool resources with friends, family, and colleagues who share similar interests in a local need or cause. Community nonprofit organizations benefit from the collective giving and partner with the Jasper Newton Foundation to hold the funds and make the gift to the group’s organization of choice.

Giving Circles partnering with the Jasper Newton Foundation have awarded over $140,000 in funds to their community & inspired members to continue philanthropic efforts where they live. Members have mentioned that they feel empowered to have the choice of organizations as a collective group and to come together to raise the funds and fulfill a need in their community. We have seen groups of women in Rensselaer, DeMotte, Lake Village, Remington, and Roselawn giving back at different times in our 30 years here.

“Through the grants, we have annually awarded since our inception in 2003, members of DeMotte Women’s  Circle of Giving have been able to contribute to the community in many tangible, meaningful ways.  It makes me feel so good to know that our philanthropy

makes our community a better place in which to live, learn, play and work.” 

– Judy Crawford, DeMotte Giving Circle Member

Ladies’ Luncheon

The annual women’s luncheon was an event taking place at a local eatery where women gather to listen to a speaker and celebrate each other. Previous luncheons have taken place at Fair Oaks Farms and Embers. This event hosted local speakers like Mandy Moore or Lisa Wood in addition to others like Women’s Division 1 Coach Agnus Berenato from the University of Pittsburgh. Women spoke to challenges they overcome, encouraged their peers in how they navigated challenges in making change. This luncheon aimed at empowering women and sharing common experiences to lift each other up. 

Have an inspirational woman in your community that deserves to be recognized?

Tell us how she is making a difference or other programs you hope to see in the future by contacting us. Here’s to celebrating longevity, women in leadership, and our community loving where we live. 


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