Letter from the President & CEO: WA Women’s Foundation and Women’s Funding Alliance

Formal headshot of Beth McCaw of Washington Women's Foundation

Less than two weeks after WA Women’s Foundation hosted the Catalist 2020 Conference for our sister affiliate collective grantmaking and giving organizations from across the country, I have more exciting news to share! WA Women’s Foundation has agreed to assume the grantmaking role of Women’s Funding Alliance in Washington State. 

For the past several months, the Women’s Funding Alliance (WFA) Board of Directors has been exploring and examining a variety of strategic opportunities for WFA’s future. They have decided that, at this point in time, women and girls will be best be served by leveraging WA Women’s Foundation’s collective grantmaking model, 25 years of statewide grantmaking experience, and strong base of community support. 

In short, Women’s Funding Alliance is discontinuing all of its activities and has transferred $100,000 to Washington Women’s Foundation to be held by the Foundation as the “WFA Fund for Women.” The Foundation has agreed to use this Fund to continue the work of WFA, advancing leadership and economic opportunities for women and girls. To the extent we can with the funds available, we also are committed to continuing WFA’s research, advocacy, and capacity-building efforts, which are essential to achieving our goal of advancing race and gender equity in communities across Washington State.

Throughout the history of our organizations, WFA and WA Women’s Foundation have been closely aligned in terms of vision, mission, and values, although WA Women’s Foundation has funded a wider variety of issues. Women’s Funding Alliance was founded in Seattle in 1983 by a small group of passionate people wanting to make a difference in the lives of women.  Like Washington Women’s Foundation, WFA’s mission has been to inspire giving and action. 

Our two organizations also have formally partnered on two different WA Women’s Foundation Partner Grant projects, the 2015 Emerging Issues Partner Grant, Closing the Gender Gap: Empowering Girls, and the 2017 Emerging Issues Partner Grant, Women’s Civic Engagement & Leadership.  The 2017 Partner Grant Committee included both Foundation members and WFA donors, so we have a track record of working well together and using our collective grantmaking model to advance opportunities for women and girls to live, lead, and thrive.

While our leadership is honored to have been selected to carry on the legacy of WFA, we know that its ultimate success depends upon the community’s continuing financial support of the WFA Fund for Women. WFA is inviting its donors to remain a part of the legacy – and future impact – of WFA by contributing to the WFA Fund for Women at Washington Women’s Foundation.  We plan to engage WFA’s donors, our members, the nonprofit community, and other women and girls to create a shared future vision and a plan for grantmaking from the WFA Fund for Women. This also is an excellent opportunity to incorporate learnings from the Catalist Conference into our grantmaking.

WFA has enjoyed the support of a loyal and committed donor community for more than 40 years and with the help of these donors, WFA has benefitted women and girls across the state in meaningful and impactful ways. We thank these donors for their long-term commitment and also thank and recognize Women’s Funding Alliance for forging a path for philanthropy to help transform conditions, systems, and institutions so that the power of women and girls could be more fully realized, making our families, communities, and economy stronger. WA Women’s Foundation stands prepared to continue the transformation.

8 responses to “Letter from the President & CEO: WA Women’s Foundation and Women’s Funding Alliance

  1. In visiting the WFA website today, I learned that a significant portion of their mission involves funding research. This is currently outside of the scope of work/mission of the WWF. Will the WWF’s model evolve to capture this work?

    1. Yes, we hope that with the funds available, and certainly if we can attract more funding for the WFA Fund for Women over time, we will be able to continue funding this important research.

  2. Congratulations on this exciting venture! I’m excited to see how this evolves – and to have a part of WaWF’s work be targeted specifically at women and girls.

  3. Sorry, but I’m not quite understanding this “merger.” Is the WWF and the WaFA mixing their monies?If joining forces, how specifically? Will there be a separate grant dedicated to girls and women? If there will be research involved who will do it? How will it be paid? Will part of my dues go into support of a WaFA grant?

    1. WFA has made a grant of $100,000 to WA Women’s Foundation to establish the WFA Fund for Women. From this Fund, we will make grants to organizations serving women and girls. The details of exactly how the grants will be made has yet to be determined because we want to engage the broader community in a discussion. At this point, no portion of a member’s $2,500 contribution to WA Women’s Fdn will be allocated to the WFA Fund for Women, although we do hope that our members – and others – will consider making contributions to this Fund so we can grow it and increase our long-term support of women and girls.

  4. I am sorry that WFA will not be an independent nonprofit focusing on women. WFA was an effective organization doing research and helping girls and women. It is a great opportunity for WaWF to do what we do best in granting money from WFA, which will affect women. I know we can do it!

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