The Fund for Women at the Delaware Community Foundation has named Lynn W. Williams as this year's recipient of the First Founders' Award.
Each year, the Fund for Women bestows the First Founders' Award upon a member ("Founder") who has had a major impact on the community through her exemplary philanthropic efforts.
Williams, a Founder since 1995, has spent more than 50 years as a tireless champion for girls and women and for environmental causes in Delaware. She is best known as the founder and first president of the Delaware Nature Society, whose environmental educational programs have reached more than 1.3 million people since its establishment in the 1960s. Also in the 1960s, Williams was instrumental in protecting the 433-acre tract that became the Brandywine Creek State Park, which includes the first two nature preserves established in Delaware.
In the 1980s, when Williams served as president of the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council (GSCBC), she promoted use of the Grove Point Program Center to educate girls on the interrelationships of life in the bay.
Among her most recent achievements, Williams led the effort to establish Delaware's first platinum-certified "green" building, the Lynn W. Williams Science and Education Center for the GSCBC, which opened in Hockessin in 2010. In recent years, Williams also rallied the environmental community to establish the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge and Environmental Education Center.
Williams, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women in 2009, has served on more than 15 boards, task forces, and councils, including Delaware's Open Space Council, the Woodlawn Trustees, Delaware Wild Lands, the Urban Environment Center, and the Christina Conservancy.
She has received numerous honors, including the Delaware Nature Society's Conservation Award, Preservation Pioneer Award, Woman of Distinction Award, Jefferson Award for Public Service, Governor's Volunteer Award, and the Delaware Audubon Society Conservation Award.
The Fund for Women's First Founders' Award memorializes the vision of the original Founders -- the "First Founders," those visionary women who started the Fund in 1993. Previous recipients are Sally Gore (2007), Linda Chick (2008), Eva Verplanck (2009), June Peterson (2010) and Jane Wilkie (2011).
"The lasting impact of Lynn's service to Delaware is truly remarkable," said Fund for Women Chair Laura Day. "Between her work for the Girl Scouts, the Delaware Nature Society, and innumerable other environmental causes, Lynn has created important science and nature educational opportunities for generations of girls."