Resourcing Change: Membership Level Additions at Washington Women’s Foundation 

In the autumn of 2018, the Washington Women’s Foundation (WaWF) embarked on a grand adventure of Doing Things Differently. We began by reprioritizing our grantmaking criteria, choosing to put achieving race and gender equity in Washington state at the center of our work. We went on from there, building a strategic plan that focused not only on reducing disparities and increasing equity but on helping to fuel a thriving nonprofit sector, creating a culture within our foundation that embraced partnership and sharing power, and striving to grow an inclusive community of women members who understood what it meant to be agents of change. 

These ambitions have driven the changes here at WaWF for the last four years: a refreshed grantmaking structure grounded in trust-based philanthropic practices; an advocacy grant designed to address the systemic roots and causes of the inequities we seek to end; an emphasis on our members deepening their understanding around the visions and hopes of the communities we serve; an acknowledgment of past mistakes with an award honoring Black women nonprofit leaders. It is now time to examine our collective of women change agents and grow their numbers. It is time to widen our membership door. 

At WaWF, we strive to empower women philanthropists to become leaders for change in our community. We do this in a collective model because we believe we can make a greater impact together than each of us could do alone. Our collective, trust-based approach demands that our members take responsibility for educating themselves on the issues facing our communities, and then channel their pooled resources into grants given to nonprofit organizations working across Washington State.  

As a giving collective, we are a funder in our community. Being a funder comes with its own set of responsibilities, but what it means at its barest bones is that we distribute resources into underinvested communities. Our membership contribution levels reflect our acknowledgment that ultimately communities need resources to enact many of the changes we all want to see happen. Encouraging more individuals who identify as women to join us is one of the ways in which we can grow our collective resources and distribute even more to our nonprofit partners.  

We know that just as there are many Washington women comfortable giving more than the $2,500 contribution we have asked for in the past, there are also many women who are not comfortable giving $2,500! Furthermore, we recognize that young women, and women working in the nonprofit sector, often have less disposable income than women who are older or who are employed in for-profit industries. This understanding led us to the shape of our new membership structure, one that we hope will expand our reach and allow us to welcome even more women to join us in making a difference! 

Starting today, Washington Women’s Foundation invites you to choose from the following options for your membership (you can read more details around each membership, or sign up to join here): 

  • $5,000 ($416.67 per month) Sustaining Membership 
  • $2,500 ($208.34 per month) Classic Membership 
  • $900 ($75 per month) Under-40 Membership 
  • $900 ($75 per month) Nonprofit Professional Membership 

The only variation in these memberships is in the contribution level. The benefits offered for each of them are identical: 

  • Invitations to all Washington Women’s Foundation Events 
  • Invitations to join all our member committees  
    • Collective Grants  
    • Advocacy Grants
    • Women & Girls Grants
    • Member Events  
    • Membership and Resource Development  
    • Grantee Engagement  
    • Convening Planning
  • Full voting rights for the Board of Directors and on Collective Grant decisions   
  • Access to the member-only section of our website and archived educational program recordings  
  • Funds from all memberships support the Foundation by providing resources needed for  
    • Collective grantmaking  
    • Educational and social programs  
    • General operations 

We are eager to welcome the voices of younger women looking to explore philanthropy and changemaking in a collective environment, and women in nonprofits, who know all too well the needs of various communities. 

In enacting these new membership levels, we hope to better serve our mission by increasing our impact and support for those nonprofit organizations in Washington working to bring lasting change and greater equity to our state.  

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