Sarah Hall has been a board member of Park City Community Foundation since 2018 and previously served on our Impact and Governance Committee. Sarah is an attorney, a pilot, and a small business owner and operator. She is currently a Women’s Giving Fund member, the Chair of the Park City Library Board, a Park City Planning Commissioner, a Mountain Trails Foundation ambassador, and a Park City Rotarian. Sarah is an alumna of the Park City Leadership Program (Class XXIV) that focused on a waste diversion project which she continues to champion. We are so grateful to have her deep knowledge and committed leadership in Park City and in our organization.
Sarah and her husband, Gerry, enjoy cheering on their alma mater (UCLA Bruins), flying, backcountry skiing, and mountain biking. Together, they are the founding donors and passionate advocates for the Park City Climate Fund, a newer initiative of the Park City Community Foundation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you landed in Park City? I was born and raised in Sacramento, California but Gerry and I moved throughout various other California cities during our young adult lives. After Gerry and I graduated from our respective graduate programs, we thought it would be fun to temporarily move to Park City to enjoy the mountains. Over a decade later, it is clear that this is our “forever” home where we are raising our daughter and our dog.
How do you fit giving into your life here in Park City and has that evolved over time? Our giving and our community involvement definitely evolved over time. We have been long-standing supporters of our Mountain Trails Foundation even when we were simply visitors to Park City because we love using the mountain trails — it was just a natural fit for us. As we started to get to know more people in our community and the work of many other great non-profit organizations, we got more involved in other areas. Most recently, we’ve shifted some giving to help establish the Park City Climate Fund which provides seed capital for innovative local projects to address climate change.
You and Gerry have been providing outstanding leadership with our Park City Climate fund. What have you learned from the experience that you would like to share with others? The Park City Climate Fund has been an exciting initiative, we’ve learned and grown a lot from the experience. For the first time, I’ve worked closely with donors on this Fund and served on its Grants Committee. We also played a bigger role in this initiative because we had to build it from the ground up and that meant working with the Community Foundation’s Impact Director to formulate the application process and proper grant guidelines; implement mass outreach efforts so that donors and applicants could get familiar with the new initiative; create a timeline to meet key milestones; organize the committee to help determine grant finalists and recipients. It was important to start the Park City Climate Fund quickly, given the urgency of climate change, rather than waiting to launch until we met a certain dollar amount in the fund like many other types of funds.
We put our heart and soul into the initial phases of this Fund because we knew the stakes were higher than most first-year funds – we were giving away grants between $50,000 and $75,000. We, of course, are continuing to grow and improve the Park City Climate Fund this year and in years to come.
Do you have any advice for our donors and community members to make a difference in slowing down the pace of climate change? While I believe that the climate crisis is the biggest threat to our and future generations, I lack the educational background and ability to work full time on climate solutions. I think the biggest lever I can pull to help accomplish in this critical goal is to financially support professionals who are educated on the nuances of these complex issues and who can work full time on paths forward. Through the Park City Climate Fund, we are able to incubate creative solutions and then support those key professionals whose lives and careers are dedicated to implementing solutions.