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 $11 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 $45 million.


We mobilize our community to ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in the Washington region have the resources they need to thrive.


The Washington region is a model community that ensures women and girls are on a path to prosperity.


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


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

  • Virginie Webready
    Virginie Carey
    Vice President of Finance and Operations

    Virginie leads finance and accounting, implementing fiscal systems across the organization.

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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
    Early Care and Education Program Officer
    Martine is responsible for managing The Foundation’s Early Care and Education Funder’s Collaborative and facilitating the Washington Region Early Care and Education Workforce Network.
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    Michelle Johnson
    Development Associate

    Michelle promotes donor education/engagement and assists with development operations.

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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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    Frances Melson
    Director of Development

    Frances promotes the organization to reach its annual revenue target along with the development team.

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    Sylvia Padilla
    Finance and Operations Associate

    Sylvia provides operation and finance support to The Foundation staff.

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    Linda Paulson
    Vice President of Philanthropic Engagement

    Linda leads the development team and the fund development and donor engagement work of the organization.

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    Sarena Snowden
    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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    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.

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    Claudia Williams
    Research and Evaluation Program Officer

    Claudia coordinates the Foundation’s program evaluation and research plan, ensuring the effectiveness of program strategy and grantmaking.

Meet Our Board

  • Rosie Webready
    Rosie Allen-Herring
    Board Chair

    President & CEO
    United Way of the National Capital Area

  • yvette-bio-headshot-trans-1
    Yvette Butler

    Capital One Investing

  • Donna C Web Ready
    Donna Callejon

    Chief Business Officer
    Global Giving

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    Andrea Dykes

    Managing Partner of Howard Insurance

  • maria-gomez-headshot-wawf
    Maria Gomez

    President and CEO, Mary’s Center for Maternal & Child Care


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    Diara M. Holmes

    Partner, Washington, DC
    Loeb & Loeb LLP

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    Kim Horn

    Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic  States, Inc.

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    Janene Jackson

    Holland & Knight

  • debbi-jarvis-wawf-site
    Debbi Jarvis

    Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility
    PEPCO Holdings

  • james-mcgregor-wawf-test
    James MacGregor

    Market President and Publisher 
    Washington Business Journal

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    Pinkie Dent Mayfield
    Board Secretary

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

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    Michelle McGuire

    Vice President and Chief of Staff
    Children’s National Medical Center

  • kate-headshot-wawf-final-new
    Kate Rumbaugh

    Vice President, Government Relations
    Coca-Cola North America

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    Dr. Matthew D. Shank
    Interim President at World Affairs Council-Washington, DC
  • leo-tucker-headshot-website
    Leo Tucker
    Managing Partner, Northwestern Mutual
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    Karen R. Wawrzaszek
    Board Treasurer

    Managing Director
    Rockefeller and Company

  • machelle-williams-headshot-website
    Machelle Williams
    Sr. Director, Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility, Volkswagen Group of America

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.