Founded in 1998, Washington Area Women’s Foundation transforms the lives of women and girls, the Washington region and the world. The Foundation connects the DC area with the global movement that recognizes that promoting women’s and girl’s prosperity is key to stronger, more resilient and healthier communities. We believe in the promise and value of every women and girl in the Washington area because we know that when they achieve their full potential, our entire region benefits.
At Washington Area Women’s Foundation, we have deep insight into the needs of women and girls and the expertise to collect, direct and leverage resources that support the most effective organizations and solutions. Through grantmaking, research and education, advocacy, and catalyzing philanthropy, we are creating opportunities for women and girls to reach their full potential and for our community to prosper through their involvement.
Highlights of our work include the publication of two groundbreaking reports released in 2003 and 2010 that illuminated the challenges facing women and girls in this region. A Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area and the update, 2010 Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area, both showed two distinct images. One is of great success — women in the Washington area are the most highly educated, employed and well-paid in the nation. But the other image is of women struggling in their roles as family breadwinners, living in or near poverty, with limited access to child care, jobs with benefits, or opportunities to increase their savings and assets.
As a result of the first Portrait Project report, the Foundation launched the Stepping Stones Initiative in 2005. The program became a model for building the economic security and financial independence of women-headed families. The program has led to more than 7,000 women increasing their income and assets by $35 million. Click here to learn more about Stepping Stones.
The Foundation also catalyzed the region’s first giving circles, which have invested over $500,000 in women and girls across the Washington metro area. Through collective giving programs like the giving circles and leadership networks, thousands of women have received training and education that taught them about the need in their community and gave them opportunities to have an impact.
We’ve partnered with more than 160 local nonprofits that have used grants from the Foundation to improve the lives of women and girls. In 2006, Washington Area Women’s Foundation became one of three women’s funds — out of 90 nationwide — to make more than $1 million in grants.
Washington Area Women’s Foundation also partners with individuals, groups and organizations around the country, including other women’s funds. In 2012, the Foundation helped launch the Partnership for Women’s Prosperity, a platform to share best practices and form replicable solutions to address systemic problems that face economically vulnerable women and girls nationwide.
And through the annual Leadership Luncheon, the Foundation has brought the community together to be inspired, raise awareness and give women and girls the resources they need to reach their full potential.
Click on the following links to learn more about us and found out how you can join the movement!