It is my honor to have served as CEO of the Women’s Funding Network since February 2015. Early in my career, in the mid-1990s, I had the opportunity to pioneer the first online learning communities in the United States. Since that time, I have been inspired by the power that is available to us by connecting and sharing knowledge – across geographic, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic borders. I have found no better place to incorporate those best practices for knowledge-sharing than this network, with our shared desire to learn and work together as we create a world where women and girls reach their full potential.
In the past year, we have focused on creating a Women’s Funding Network that is nimble, vibrant, and dynamic enough to meet the evolving needs of our network. We streamlined our operations by engaging in flexible workplace structures, relocated to a co-working office space, and significantly reduced overhead costs. To further cement our competencies, I was delighted to offer the position of Chief Strategist to Dr. Marcia Coné, former CEO of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island—a long-time member of Women’s Funding Network. Marcia brings over 25 years of nonprofit management experience, deep knowledge of women’s foundations’ practices, and an extensive background in policy advocacy. Her talents are enormous and have been critical for our growth.
Looking forward, my team seeks new and innovative ways to raise the profile of women’s funding organizations to increase their impact and influence, mobilize resources, and advance the rights of women and girls. Women’s Funding Network occupies a unique space, being afforded a macro-level view of trends, models, and strategies that are working to advance women and girls’ human rights. By sharing comprehensive data analysis we come to better understand opportunities for learning, collaboration, and for identifying critical tipping-point shifts in social change. In our 2014-2015 annual report, you will find stories of the ways we have done so.
With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations in October 2015, we feel a sense of both urgency and focus. This growing global demand for gender equality represents a coming-of-age for Women’s Funding Network, which, along with its 100 members, has been working day-by-day to achieve just that for the past three decades. We enter 2016 full of spirit and commitment. Feedback from our members, funders, and other stakeholders has been immensely positive about the current and future direction of the network. I hope you will share in this enthusiasm and will join us in our mission.
We look forward to your continued partnership.