In the early 1970s, the assets of the Pinehurst Resort were sold to Diamondhead Corporation. About that same time, Helen Kramer and her husband opened a real estate firm and purchased a plane to fly prospective property owners to the area. The real estate firm, Pinehurst Area Realty, remains a family operation to this day. As the Pinehurst community grew, Helen began to invite ladies into her home to socialize, have lunch and make crafts. Over time, as the number of crafts grew, the group decided to start selling what they made and contribute the money to the Pinehurst and West End Fire Departments. Some speculate that this activity spawned the annual Holly Arts and Crafts Festival, now hosted by the Pinehurst Business Guild.
By 1974, the ladies’ group had become too big to meet in Helen’s home. The decision was made to formalize the group, develop by-laws, elect officers, meet monthly at a public venue, continue to raise money and invite speakers to the meetings. Helen’s good friend, Sybil Calhoun, was elected President of the fledgling organization—Women of the Pines. Membership was limited to 48.
As time went on, the membership decided to host fall and spring rummage sales to provide needed goods at a fair price to those in the community who were in need of assistance. Proceeds from the sales were initially contributed to the Pinehurst and West End Fire Departments. Over time those receiving contributions expanded to include Friend to Friend and, in 1989, a scholarship program for seniors graduating from Pinecrest High School and planning to attend a college in North Carolina (including Sandhills Community College).
By the early 1990’s Women of the Pines was a thriving organization that participated in the annual Holly Arts & Crafts Festival, hosted an annual fashion show and organized an annual spring rummage sale. Additionally, members brought various items to specified meetings that were contributed to targeted non-profit organizations.
Today our list of grantees has grown. However, two organizations that received contributions in the early years continue to receive them – Friend to Friend and Sandhills Community College (1993-present). Notably, in 2002, Women of the Pines was inducted into the Sandhills Community College Summa Group as an organization that had provided at least $10,000 for scholarships. Today, our contribution is in excess of $70,000 and elevates Women of the Pines to a giving level of Integrity.
As our Mission Statement says “The purpose of this organization shall be to work together to provide assistance to those in need in our community.” We are as committed to that mission today as the founders of Women of the Pines were in 1974.