The Carolyn Eyster Steinhauser Prize was created by the Women’s Giving Circle of York County Community Foundation in 2017 to recognize the extraordinary contributions of its founder.
The award honors individuals or organizations whose contributions to community-building in York County have been marked by singular excellence, reflecting Ms. Steinhauser’s decades of effective influence and leadership.
It recognizes achievement in efforts that advance strategic philanthropy, quality community education, responsible sustainability, patient capital for informed risk-taking and innovation, and collaborations that result in collective impact.
• The award includes a grant for $1,000, which awardees can direct to the nonprofit of their choice.
• Nominees may self-select or be recommended by others.
• The award may be conferred annually; at a minimum, it will be conferred at least once every two years
About Carolyn Eyster Steinhauser
A graduate of York Country Day School, Carolyn moved back to York County to raise her family. One of the groups for which she volunteered was the local YWCA, eventually becoming its executive director. Later, she served on the board of the former York Foundation (now York County Community Foundation) and ultimately became its first executive director, serving for about nine years and raising YCCF’s first $25 million. She also served as the first non-attorney president of the York County Bar Foundation, was a long-time trustee of York College of Pennsylvania, and still helps to oversee the York College Community Opportunity Scholarship Program (YCCOSP).
Carolyn is considered by many community leaders as the human startup capital for countless projects over the years that have raised the quality of life in the greater York community, including Focus On Our Future, which helped to push the number of accredited child care centers in York County well above the national average.
"I can't imagine how many things in York have happened because Carolyn had a good idea," said a founding Women’s Giving Circle member.
Not one for the limelight or to take credit, her friends say, Carolyn sees her role as a facilitator, connecting the dots among the different groups and individuals in the community who can partner to make something happen.
It's in keeping with her philosophy of "strategic philanthropy" — figuring out exactly what is needed, determining a specific action that can help, and then leveraging some money with a host of community partnerships for a positive impact -- all with an eye toward long-term sustainability and lasting impact.
"I like to build things," Carolyn said. "This is so much more fun than golf or bridge. This is what I love."
Carolyn founded the York County Community Foundation’s Women's Giving Circle in 2002 with like-minded women from the York community. It pools the dues from about 75 local women to provide seed money for community projects. Collectively that group has invested over $1,000,000 in strategic community projects and helped to leverage millions more.