empowherEmpowHer Background:

Since 1952, Pat Lamb and Ele Hansen have dedicated their lives to developing confident, courageous and strong young women in Northfield, MN.  As figureheads of the Carleton College Athletic Department, Pat and Ele pioneered the development of women’s sports not only on a local level, but on a nationwide platform.  Their hard fought efforts in providing equal opportunities for women in sports and leadership roles have resulted in widespread change, acceptance, development, participation and success of girls’ and women’s athletic programs across the nation. Pat and Ele believe women are capable of anything they have the audacity to set their minds to, especially if they are given the opportunity to be challenged in ways that ultimately build their character, confidence and strength.

The Process of Creating a Legacy:

In an effort to continue powerful development of young women beyond their years of life, Pat Lamb worked with her financial advisor to initiate a “living legacy fund” by which the annual gains of the established fund would be used to continue Pat and Ele’s legacy. The intent of supporting local young women was solid but the ways in which it could play out needed some defining so in January of 2017, Pat reached out to Kristin Stets and Emily Monaghan, to ask them to assist in developing a thoughtful framework regarding what her living legacy would entail.

In August of 2017, Kristin and Emily starting meeting regularly with Pat.  Even as Pat’s health was declining, she was intricately involved in every step of developing empowHER.  The initial conversations centered on reasons why Pat wanted to create a living legacy and the impact she hoped to have for years to come.

Intended Impact:

Pat wanted to serve girls try sport and outdoor adventures; leadership opportunities, confidence building activities, service projects, etc…. So eloquently stated in the mission of this fund:


The look on Pat’s face as she stared at formal identity of her legacy with Ele brought tears to everyone’s eyes.  Her next question was; “Do you think we can send girls to camp this summer?”  Our response was that we would do our best to make it happen.  Pat was eager to kick her legacy in motion while she was still alive to see impact taking shape.

Motivated to make Pat’s dream come true, Kristin and Emily expeditiously created partnerships with Carleton College Center for Civic and Community Engagement, Middle School Youth Center, YMCA Camp Menogyn BOLD & GOLD Program, TORCH, HCI and Northfield Public Schools.  With these partners in place, empowHER was able to launch their first initiative for the summer of 2018.

On the day before Pat passed away, Kristin was able to visit her.  She took Pat’s hand, and leaned in and said, “Pat, we are going to send girls on an outdoor adventure this summer;”  Pat looked Kristin straight in the eye, tears streaming down her face, and said “thank you”.  Kristin will never forget that moment.

In August of 2018, five girls from Northfield Middle School participated in an eight day boundary waters trip led by YMCA Camp Menogyn Bold & Gold staff plus Brynne Stellnar, a Northfield High School teacher who took on the role as an enthusiastic mentor for the girls on this trip.  The girls left anxious yet excited and returned happy, healthy, connected and proud of what they accomplished.  No doubt, this experience provided by Pat and Ele’s living legacy built their confidence, courage and character!

All five girls enjoyed their experience so much that they have all applied to challenge themselves again this year!  In addition to attending camp last summer, they have completed a service project together and are acting as leaders to recruit the next group.  This year we have accepted applications from 21 girls who want to participate in the empowHER experience.   We are eager to work with this new group to continue to foster confidence, courage and character through surprise and wonder.  Pat and Ele have created a living legacy that is changing lives. Since 2019, the fund has distributed $48,959.


View the impact this fund is making in Our Community in the video below!