And the 2018 Pooled Fund Grantees Are…

Yesterday, Washington Women’s Foundation members announced five recipients of $100,000 grants from the Foundation’s Pooled Fund and five $5,000 Merit Award winners, totaling $525,000 in grants, the largest single amount granted in the Foundation’s history. In the 23 years since the Foundation’s inception, our members have influenced transformation in communities across Washington State by collectively granting over $17 million. We are delighted to introduce you to this year’s WA Women’s Foundation Grantees and Merit Award Winners!


Arts & Culture: Spark Central

Spark Central’s mission is to ignite the creativity, innovation, and imagination necessary for people to forge the path to their best future. Their work is rooted in the power of creative expression and explores the intersection between STEM, the arts, and literacy. By removing barriers and equalizing access to creative learning, Spark Central creates the opportunity to interrupt inter-generational poverty. Our general operating grant will build their fund development capacity, which will enable programmatic growth to serve more residents in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane.


Education: La Casa Hogar
La Casa Hogar connects and educates Latino families, to transform lives in Yakima Valley. La Casa offers three primary programs: (1) adult education; (2) early learning; and (3) citizen education and legal services. Our funds will help tear down and transform the dilapidated garage in the backyard into a preschool for their successful and affordable preschool program. The current preschool space in the main house will be turned into a multi-use room for the leadership development program, doubling classroom time for women.


Photo by Thomas O’Keefe

Environment: American Rivers

The mission of American Rivers is to protect healthy rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature. Our grant will help them advance four goals over the next five years within Washington’s Puget Sound and Columbia River Basin: (1) to protect 1000 miles of wild rivers; (2) to improve and restore 3500 acres of floodplains and meadows; (3) to restore access to 200 miles of habitat for native fish by removing at least 5 dams and/or improving fish passage facilities; and (4) to educate decision-makers about the need for water management funding.

Health: Daybreak Youth Services
Daybreak Youth Services promotes involved, healthy communities by offering hope and recovery solutions to youth and their families struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Our grant will help launch their successful Paths to Prosperity (P2P) program at their Brush Prairie facility. This program aims to connect youth in treatment with outside recreation, volunteer mentors, internships with local businesses, and higher education through the coordination of activities focused on recovery and healthy living.

Photo by Barron Peper

Human Services: Sawhorse Revolution
Sawhorse Revolution’s mission is to foster confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft. They offer free holistic carpentry and design programs to vulnerable and diverse youth in Central and South Seattle. Sawhorse Revolution impacts not only the lives of the youth who participate in their programs, but they also address broader community needs around homelessness. Our general operating grant will help expand programs, upgrade their capital infrastructure, and extend program staffing hours.



Washington Women’s Foundation presented a $5,000 Merit Award to each of our other five finalist organizations in recognition of the time, effort and goodwill they invested in our rigorous grant making process. This year’s Merit Award Winners are:

Photo by Erica Schultz

Arts & Culture: Totem Star

Totem Star amplifies and empowers youth voice through music production and performance to strengthen life skills in leadership, civic engagement, and community building. Using the model of a record label, youth with little or no access to arts learning programs compose and record original songs, perform at events they help plan and produce, and receive mentorship from touring artists and music industry professionals. Totem Star’s impact goes beyond music education to help youth develop their own identities through creative expression, growing confidence, strengthening problem solving skills, and giving youth opportunities to productively collaborate with others.

Education: Denise Louie Education Center 

Denise Louie Education Center (DLEC) promotes school and life readiness by providing multi-cultural early learning services to vulnerable children and their families. Over the past 40 years, DLEC has ensured access to high-quality no cost early learning services to thousands of low-income, immigrant and refugee children and their families from all different cultures, ethnicities, and religions.  DLEC’s work is driven by two factors – The first five years of a child’s life are the most important, and parents are their child’s first and most important teachers.

Environment: Stand

Stand challenges corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect, because our lives depend on it. Through market-based corporate campaign strategies they have persuaded more than 20 companies, including Coca Cola and Pepsi, to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Their Extreme Oil Campaign to fight oil processing and transport projects includes a multi-pronged approach to defeat fossil-fuel-related infrastructure proposals while they continue to develop clean energy policies and initiatives.

Health: Washington Youth Soccer Foundation

Washington Youth Soccer Foundation’s (WYSF) mission is to increase opportunities and access to youth soccer for all children in Washington, with a focus on less-advantaged communities through the Soccer for Success program. WYSF is the only organization in WA using soccer – a culturally relevant tool in many communities- to encourage healthy choices through evidence-based and fun physical activities. The free program offers a healthy snack after-school, physical exercise, and nutrition lessons integrated into soccer activities.


Human Services: Seattle Clemency Project

The Seattle Clemency Project’s (SCP) mission is to increase access to justice by matching deserving, reformed incarcerated men and women with pro-bono attorneys to help them file for clemency with the governor. Washington State abolished the parole board in 1984, which means that for many inmates their only avenue for release is clemency. In just two years of existence, the Clemency Project has corresponded with 300 prisoners, met with 114 of them, filed 23 petitions, secured 14 hearings and secured release for five prisoners.

Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has awarded over $17 million in transformational grants that have enabled not-for-profit organizations to improve health outcomes, protect the environment, expand quality educational opportunities, increase access to the arts, and reduce economic disparities throughout Washington state.

All women are invited to join our strong and inclusive collective of informed women influencing community transformation. The challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us.

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