The Women's Foundation was founded on the principle that women, working together, can help enhance the physical, social, and financial well-being of all women and girls.

It all started with a tea...

The story behind The Women’s Foundation is a story of incredible growth fueled by inspiration, community and action in support of women and girls in our area. After seeing an influx of women’s foundations launching in the United States as part of a “women’s funding movement” and also seeing a critical need for Washington, D.C. to be a part of a rapidly growing agenda to address the equity and empowerment of women across the nation, a group of women decided to take action.

What started as an invitation for afternoon tea, soon became a movement that revolutionized the philanthropic sector and our community, ultimately transforming into what we know today as Washington Area Women’s Foundation.


Rooted in trust and driven by a belief in the power of community, The Women's Foundation stands as a beacon of support for emerging leaders and organizations throughout the Washington metropolitan region.

Join us in commemorating our 25th anniversary year as we pause to reflect on transformative moments that have shaped our foundation's journey. These pivotal instances not only define our past but also illuminate the path forward, inspiring us to continue creating positive change in the lives of women and girls of color.

Washington Area Women's Foundation was incorporated on April 3. 1997.


We held our first Leadership Luncheon with 139 attendees. Additionally, we awarded our first grants, investing in local women-leading nonprofits, totaling to $17,000.


Anne Mosle was named president of The Women's Foundation.


We launched our first women’s philanthropy conference: Women and Philanthropy: The Power of Giving.


We published seminal research, A Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area, generating the first $1M grant.


Our Rainmakers Giving Circle launched.


Our African-American Women's Giving Circle launched.


Stepping Stones, our signature grantmaking program to increase the economic stability of women and girls in the Washington, DC Region, launched.


We named Phyllis Caldwell President and CEO of The Women's Foundation.


We launched our Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, a network of corporate funders dedicated to increasing the quality of and access to early care and education. 

We launched our Be That Woman Campaign.

We named Nicky Goren President and CEO of The Women's Foundation.


We joined the Women’s Economic Security Collaborative.




The Women's Foundation rebranded.


We expanded our Stepping Stones grants to include two-generation strategy.


We named Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat President and CEO of The Women's Foundation.


We joined Prosperity Together, a first of its kind partnership with the Women’s Funding Network and 26 other public U.S. women’s foundations. The investment helped move 476,000 women and girls living in economic hardship to a place of economic security.



We committed to advancing our mission with both a gender and racial equity lens.


We attended the White House Summit where more than 5,000 women from across the country convened to celebrate how far we’ve come while committing to changing the #StateofWomen for tomorrow.


We launched our ECE Workforce Network.


We launched the Young Women’s Initiative, a city-wide effort to improve life outcomes and increase opportunities for young women, girls, transgender women, and gender non-conforming youth of color between the ages of 12-24.


We launched our award-winning “Our 100 Days” Campaign.


We launched our D.C. Family Planning Initiative.


We held our first GirlsLEAD Summit with approximately 600 women and girls in attendance.


We released our A Blueprint for Action report featuring the collective voice of more than 250 young women on how to address challenges identified by young women of color living in the District.


We celebrated our 20th Anniversary.


We launched our 20 for 20 campaign.


We announced the recipients of our 2020 Rock Star Fund, a grant that provides young women and gender-expansive youth of color between the ages of 12 and 24 living in DC with up to $2,000 to invest in their own learning, leadership, ideas, and community project.


We launched our Stand Together Fund to respond to the needs of Care Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We launched our #AskHer Interview Series.

We named Jacquelyn Lendsey Interim President & CEO


Our board adopted a 25-year Sustainability Framework.


We named Dr. Tamara Wilds Lawson President and CEO of The Women's Foundation.


We released our 2022 Community Investment Report.

Help us support gender and racial equity and empower women and girls of color in the Washington metropolitan region.