Moments with Maria: Introduction

In her first video message, Maria Kolby-Wolfe introduces herself as the new President & CEO of WA Women’s Foundation.


Hi everyone. I’m Maria! I’m the new President and CEO of Washington Women’s Foundation. 

I’ve been here a month and I’m so honored, and glad, and thrilled to be here with all of you at this pivotal time 

I’m honored to be part of an organization founded by women looking for a place for women to learn and grow together, as they exercised the power that comes from collective action.  

I do believe we are stronger together, and this is proven by the staying power and strength of the Washington Women’s Foundation itself. It is humbling to be at the helm of this group of thoughtful, curious, giving people who identify themselves as women. Thank you! 

I’m glad to be here, too, because I’ve been a staff member at organizations that have been granted funds from the Foundation. I have watched as members first learn of an organization through the granting process and then go on to volunteer and donate and sometimes even join the board of that same organization years later. 

I value those long-standing relationships members make with each other and the organizations they grow to support. 

And I am thrilled to be joining Washington Women’s Foundation at this particular moment in time.  

I know Foundation members have been having honest conversations for several years now regarding the quandary of how power is wielded in the philanthropic world. And I know that conversation has not always been easy. 

It has, however, been important. It demonstrates that the members of this organization are asking the right questions.  

Are we supporting communities as they wish to be supported? 

Are we learning about what work in the communities we serve will be the most impactful? 

Have we supported work that speaks to the systemic nature of so many oppressions? 

Members have started asking the vital question that every funder in Washington State should be asking themselves. 

“Are we holding ourselves accountable to the people Washington State has failed?” 

To those who have had the least access to resources? To those who have been abandoned by our democracy? To those who have been most affected by white supremacy and patriarchy and class bias? Are we holding ourselves accountable to these people? 

Here at Washington Women’s Foundation we undoubtedly have more work – and thinking, and learning and growing – to do before we will be able to answer that question with a confident Yes. But we are asking. It is thrilling, to be part of an organization asking these questions.  

I am honored, and glad, and thrilled to be here to ask and learn and think and grow with all of you. I look forward to our time together. 

Thank you. 

2 responses to “Moments with Maria: Introduction

  1. Maria- so thrilled to have you leading WaWF to such an inspiring and important destination. Im excited to be asking, answering, and learning right along with you and my fellow members. Thank you!! Also, really appreciate this video message – it’s a great format.

  2. We are so fortunate to have your leadership, Maria! Thank you for your vision and for your passion. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside of you and for us all to learn and grow together.

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