About the foundation.

Washington Area Women’s Foundation helps build pathways out of poverty for women and their families. We help to create economic opportunities that have positive ripple effects across society.

Since 1998, we have awarded nearly $13 million in grants to more than 170 community-based organizations in the Washington, D.C. region and helped women increase their assets and income by more than $53 million.


We mobilize our community so that women and girls experiencing economic vulnerability in the region have the resources they need to thrive.


Washington Area Women’s Foundation is an influential, respected, visionary national leader of community strategies that enrich the lives of women and girls.


• We are a results-oriented, innovative catalyst for social change, willing to take risks in order to create deep and lasting impact in our community.
• We are committed to advancing an equitable, diverse and inclusive community.
• We value the full participation of women and girls of all backgrounds and at all income levels so that their diverse life experiences can enhance our community and one another.


Significant events and advancements have paved the way for the Foundation’s growth and success.


Incorporated as Washington Area Women’s Foundation.


Awarded first grants totaling $17K.


Published seminal research A Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area.


Created Stepping Stones Grant Initiative.


Launched Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.


Released Portrait Project 2010.


Adopted a new strategic plan, introducing the current mission and vision focused on economic security.


Unveiled new brand.


Expanded Stepping Stones grants to include two-generation strategy.


Joined Prosperity Together, a nonpartisan partnership of public women’s foundations from across the country.


Launched Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), a new way to invest in women and girls locally.


Launched new strategic plan Together We Thrive.


Launched the Young Women’s Initiative.

Meet Our Staff

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    Sarena Barnes
    Office Assistant

    Sarena serves as the first point of contact for the Foundation, providing operations, administrative and finance support to the staff.

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    Mercy Chikowore
    Communications Manager

    Mercy Chikowore is responsible for executing the organization’s communications and branding strategies.

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    Martine Gordon
    Vice President of Programs
    Martine leads the Program team and The Foundation’s program strategy development.
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    Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat
    President and CEO

    Jennifer leads the organization in its mission, providing and implementing its strategic vision.

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    Sylvia Padilla
    Finance and Operations Associate

    Sylvia provides operation and finance support to The Foundation staff.

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    Emmy Torruellas
    Vice President of Development

    Emmy oversees all fundraising activities for The Women’s Foundation.

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    Claudia Williams
    Program Officer
    Claudia contributes to crafting and executing program strategy and manages the Young Women’s Initiative of Washington, DC.
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    Donna Wiedeman
    Executive Assistant to the President

    Donna provides administrative support to the President and CEO, serving as liaison with the Board of Directors, and as office manager.

Meet Our Board

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    Joyce M. Brayboy

    Managing Director
    Goldman Sachs Office of Government Affairs

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    Yvette Butler

    Head of Private Bank & Wealth Advisory
    Silicon Valley Bank

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    Evelyn N. Bynum

    The Maultsby Way

    Senior Career Consultant
    George Washington University School of Business

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    Sally D’Amato

    Deloitte Consulting

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    Andrea Dykes
    Co-Chair, Development & Co-Chair, Luncheon Committees

    Managing Partner
    Howard Insurance

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    James MacGregor

    Vice President of Local Markets
    Washington Business Journal

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    Pinkie Dent Mayfield
    Board Chair

    Vice President — Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer
    Graham Holdings Company

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    Jennifer Parker Porter, M.D.

    Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon,
    Medical Director 
    Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgery, LLC

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    Teresa Payne-Nunn

    Vice President and Chief Member Officer
    Executive Leadership Council

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    Matthew D. Shank, Ph.D

    Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges

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    Leo Tucker

    Managing Partner
    Northwestern Mutual

Grantee Partners

We use data and research to support our innovative and multifaceted approach to grantmaking. We ensure that our Grantee Partners are some of the most effective organizations working to build women’s economic security in the Washington, D.C. region.