About Athena

The Athena Society is an organization of Tampa professionals who have demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promoting equality and opportunity for women. Started in 1976 to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, Athena remains true to its shared purpose today.

From the beginning, Athena members have worked to improve the status of women by producing programs and forums designed to assist women who were in or returning to the work force. One of its highly successful annual projects is the Dr. Sylvia Richardson Young Women of Promise, a program designed to honor eight to ten high school juniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their community. These young women set a standard of excellence; they are role models today and have the potential to be our future leaders. Each year the Society also awards the Phyllis P. Marshall grants which provide career assistance to striving economically disadvantaged women. The money may be used for tuition, books, childcare, transportation or needed career equipment. The Phyllis P. Marshall grants are awarded from the endowed Athena Fund, a part of the Community Foundation.

Athena Society continues to promote equality through the removal of artificial boundaries to success and by fostering leadership through collaboration and education. Athena is guided by the selfless spirit of founding member Nancy Torbett Ford (1927–2001), who often reminded us “from those to whom much is given, much is expected.”