Community Giving

Group of Children

Past Recipients

  • 2021 - Debra Leigh
  • 2020 - Dorraine Larison
  • 2019 - Bernie Perryman
  • 2018 - Tarryl Clark
  • 2017 - Linda Eich DesJardins
  • 2016 - Lynn Grewing
  • 2015 - Ann Cofell
  • 2014 - Pat Welter
  • 2013 - Maxine Barnett
  • 2012 - Molly Renslow
  • 2011- Cindy Faye Johnson
  • 2010 - Elaine Bauerly
  • 2009 - Jan Bensen
  • 2008 - Patt Adair
  • 2005 - Joan Volkmuth
  • 2004 - Barb Carlson
  • 2003 - Betty Schnettler
  • 2002 - Sandy Neutzling
  • 2001 - Marj Hawkins
  • 2000 - Colette Carlson
  • 1999 - Patti Gartland
  • 1998 - Sonja Sorensen Craig
  • 1997 - Connie Cross
  • 1996 - Cheryl Lightle
  • 1995 - Dorothy Simpson
  • 1994 - Diana Murphy-Podawiltz
  • 1993 - Diane Gohman
  • 1992 - Nancy Fischer
  • 1991 - Ann Thelen
  • 1990 - Peg Meyer
  • 1989 - Colman O’Connell
  • 1988 - Susan Mackert
The Women’s Fund ATHENA Award is a lifetime achievement award. The Award’s mission is to recognize and honor St. Cloud area women who have achieved excellence in their careers and who inspire others.

ATHENA Award recipients are women who, over time, meet the following 3 criteria:

  • Demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.
  • Provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the lives of others in the community.
  • Actively assists women in realizing their full leadership potential.

Do you have an inspiring woman in your life who should be recognized for her involvement and accomplishments?

Now accepting nominations for 2022

The ATHENA Award is sponsored by




2021 - Debra Leigh

Five, six, seven, eight…Debra Leigh, who has dedicated her career to the performing and visual arts, anti-racism training, leadership development of women, international education and prioritizing the success for under-represented students is the recipient of 2021’s ATHENA Award. Debra is passionate about supporting education initiatives and building a more vibrant community through inspiring others in achieving excellence both professionally and within their personal lives. Most recently, Debra has chaired the Board of Directors for the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. She’s also been a member of the Central Minnesota Arts Board, Council on Black Minnesotans, Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training and Multicultural Children’s Art Connection, among numerous others.


2020 - Dorraine Larison

Born and raised in St. Cloud, Dorrie’s roots prioritized community involvement, particularly developing opportunities for women to thrive. Dorrie is a partner at the law firm of Lathrop GPM. Dorrie has actively supported numerous community organizations throughout her career. Along with her longstanding service to the Community Foundation and its Women’s Fund, Dorrie is also involved with the Stearns History Museum, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and the Hennepin Theatre Trust. Dorrie has served in several leadership positions within the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Law Section and is also a member of the Lathrop GPM Women’s Initiative Network.


2019 - Bernie Perryman

A passionate and dedicated businesswoman, Bernie strives to serve her community and help in any way that she can. Bernie was a pioneer in a male-dominated field and she continually helps other women professionally and personally achieve their goals. Her involvement in local organizations such as Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, CentraCare Health Foundation, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation and United Way of Central Minnesota has impacted many.



Tarryl Clark’s career of community involvement and serving others has been inspiring to many in our community. Tarryl has served local organizations such as HomeFront Resource Center, St. Cloud Area Housing and Redevelopment Authority, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, LEAF (Local Education and Activities Foundation), Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity and St. Cloud Rotary. Her passion for education, healthcare, veterans and the community are what motivate her to continually work for a better tomorrow for all.