Thank you to the many members who attended our Annual Meeting this week. I am pleased to announce that the membership elected five new candidates to join our Board of Directors as of January 1, 2020. They are:
- Yvonne Hall, a member since 2001 and a founding partner of the Hall Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.
- Melinda Herrin, a member since 2017 and an owner and Associate Principal at Metrix Engineers.
- Patricia Kiyono, a member since 2014 and a publications professional.
- Jennifer Sik, a member since 2010 and a Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch.
- Amy Zimerman, a member since 2006 and currently, the interim Executive Director at The Community School of West Seattle.
Also re-elected to additional three-year Board terms were Sue Bennett, Ann Kumasaka and Jane Searing. Our Board Chair Chris Charbonneau recognized several Board members whose terms are ending on December 31, 2019. Those Board members are Grace Chien, Kathy Edwards, Carrie George, Martha Kongsgaard, and Nicole Fiset Resch. These women served between three and ten years on our Board, leading us through the transition from one President & CEO to another, a rebranding process, the design and launch of a new website, the transition of our investment assets from the Seattle Foundation to independent management, a strategic planning process, and most recently, the refresh of our Pooled Fund grantmaking criteria. It has been a privilege working with this group of incredible leaders, and I look forward to welcoming our new leadership in the new year.
Our Annual Meeting is also a point of reflection, an opportunity to celebrate past successes and review challenges. In this week’s e-newsletter you will find a copy of our 2018 Annual Report, which I reviewed at the Annual Meeting. Here are a few highlights from the Annual Meeting:
- In 2018, we maintained a strong overall financial position. The Foundation received another clean audit for 2018, and as of December 31, 2018, our balance sheet remained strong, with total assets exceeding total liabilities. We also ended the year with a balanced operating budget and awarded $848,500 in grants.
- We introduced our new grantmaking criteria. In the summer of 2018, we revised our grantmaking criteria to reflect our new focus on increasing equity and reducing disparities in communities across Washington state. Our 2019 Pooled Fund Grant Committee used this new criteria in their review of the 368 Letters of Inquiry that were submitted to us last fall. This was another record number of Letters of Inquiry submitted.
- We maintained a high level of grantmaking in spite of a decline in membership. In 2018, in spite of a reduction in the overall size of our membership, member contributions to the 2019 Pooled Fund totaled $422,044. Some members made additional contributions to the Pooled Fund, which resulted in a Pooled Fund total of $485,190 as of December 31, 2018. In January, our Board of Directors voted to contribute almost $40,000 from our cash reserved to bring the 2019 Pooled Fund total to $525,000. This enabled us, for the second year in a row, to award a record amount of grants at our Grant Award Celebration this past June. Our total grants collectively awarded since 1996 now exceed $18 million.
We also have a lot to look forward to in 2020:
- We are hosting a national conference, PowerUp! The Spark That Ignites Change. Catalist, the national network of women’s collective grantmaking and giving organizations, selected Washington Women’s Foundation to host its biennial conference next February. The Conference Planning Committee is being co-chaired by our members Laura Midgley and Bo Lee. Other members are serving on various conference-related committees, and more than 220 women from across the country have already registered to attend. We are delighted that WA Women’s Fdn member Tricia Raikes will be the opening plenary speaker on the evening of February 23rd. We hope you will join us at the Conference!
- We are continuing to work on goals related to our Strategic Framework 2020 while maintaining a high level of grantmaking. We hope that the change made last year to our business model will enable us to raise another $525,000 for the 2020 Pooled Fund. In addition, if at least 400 women remain financially committed to the Foundation this year, we hope to have additional funds for grantmaking next year. At the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, we asked members to give us their input on some proposals we have for this additional grantmaking. If you were not able to attend our Annual Meeting, then please join us for an upcoming conversation about the future of grantmaking at Washington Women’s Foundation. We are hosting these Transforming Together Listening Sessions on November 7 and December 11.
- Washington Women’s Foundation will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary in 2020. If membership remains at its current level, then we are on pace to reach a collective grantmaking total of $20 million in 2020, but we need you to help us reach this milestone.
As of this week, our paid membership for 2020 stands at around 190 women, because more than two-thirds of our members are asked to renew their financial commitments to the Foundation in the fall. We hope to stand 420 women strong for 2020 – please help us reach our goal by renewing today and inviting a friend to join us today. The challenges ahead of us require power behind us. Now is the time to activate.