Keil Memorial Fund

Est. 2020 by Susan Keil White.

Keil Fund
Bill and Mary Keil with Susan Keil White, founder of the Keil Memorial Fund. Photo courtesy of the Keil family.

Susan Keil White first got the idea to create a Community Foundation fund after she learned from a friend that the Fund for Women & Girls began with a $10,000 gift.

“My ears perked right up,” she said.

She had received an inheritance after her parents passed away and, as part of her Christian faith, she planned to tithe. She wanted to use some of that gift to create the Keil Memorial Fund to honor her parents, lifelong volunteers and advocates for others — to create a Fund that will focus in part on the fight against human trafficking and the exploitation of women.

Some people take decades to determine a cause they want to stand up for, but White knew at 21 that cause would be hers. She became aware of the issue when teaching in an exchange program in Japan. She was out on a date one evening and her date’s boss accompanied them and surrounded himself with very young women who appeared to be escorts. When White spoke with them, they told her they were from the Philippines and sending money home to their families. “It was clear they were being exploited,” she says.

That moment stayed with her and when she later read a series of news stories about human trafficking, she began volunteering with a nonprofit that worked with women who had been exploited. A former practicing attorney in New York and Texas, she lives in Hamden with her husband and daughters, and she continues to work to solve issues around human trafficking, the trauma caused by it and ways to help women move forward.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” White says. “But there are many smart people in the fight against human trafficking. What they really need is money to fight it and I want to help.”

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Keil Memorial Fund