Washington Area Women’s Foundation hosted its annual Leadership Luncheon on October 30, celebrating 20 years and raising over $877,000. The Foundation honored youth activist Naomi Wadler, who delivered an inspiring speech about the importance of voting. The Luncheon also featured an opening performance by Largo High School Band and a special performance by The Women’s Foundation’s Young Women’s Advisory Council and F.R.E.S.H.H. Inc.
The Leadership Luncheon focused on celebrating and highlighting the work of The Women’s Foundation over the past two decades. The organization highlighted the first Leadership Awardee, Marta Urquilla, Chief Program Officer at the Education Design Lab and former Executive Director of Sister to Sister/Hermana a Hermana. She discussed the impact of the first award saying, “When the Women’s Foundation called us in 1998, it wasn’t the small grant we received that mattered most. It was that the Women’s Foundation SAW us. And in turn, we SAW ourselves and our own success in creating a future where all girls would thrive.”
Young leaders age 12-24 from Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) and Griot Girls of FRESHH Inc Theatre Company performed. The script was developed from the experience of the participating young women with the topic: leadership.
“It takes leadership and intentionality to bring together our community to work toward solutions, and that’s what Washington Area Women’s Foundation has done for 20 years. And it’s what brings us together today. In many ways, we’ve come full circle, and as we look to the future, we will also be returning to our roots,” said Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO, Washington Area Women’s Foundation. “Next year, we will relaunch the Leadership Awards, providing general operating support to smaller organizations working to improve the economic security of women and girls, with a specific focus on women and girls of color.
After the first part of the program discussed young leaders, The Women’s Foundation honored one – Naomi Wadler. “When you are an activist at 12, and it is ONE WEEK, before the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION of certainly MY lifetime if not all of yours, well it’s frustrating,” said Naomi Wadler. “So I thought my shaved, orange hair might motivate all of you. Motivate you to not only go out and vote because I can not, but to bring every single person you know with you. Truly, tell everyone you know that if some 12 year old girl can shave her head and dye it orange, the least they can do is go and vote!!”
The Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Luncheon was generously supported by Capital One, Deloitte, iHeartMedia, WASH.FM and Kaiser Permanente among others.
For more information about Washington Area Women’s Foundation or to donate, visit www.thewomensfoundation.org.