WFN’s peer communities of practice

The Women’s Funding Network’s peer communities of practice provide intimate virtual spaces that enable members to tap into one another’s expertise and knowledge for collective organizing and mutual support. Peer communities are a place for WFN members to share experiences, expertise, challenges, solutions, and resources that collectively move us forward, and members can engage in the following ways:

There are currently six peer communities that each meet monthly. Continue reading to learn more about these peer groups and their co-chairs, leaders from within the WFN community.

Contact WFN Community Engagement Coordinator Sam Hopper to register for a peer community or with any questions.

Become a Peer Leader

Peer community groups are co-chaired by WFN members with interest or professional expertise in the relevant subject matter. WFN is seeking industry leaders to co-chair available peer communities on a continual rolling basis. If you’d like to nominate yourself or others to lead a peer community, please contact WFN Community Engagement Coordinator Sam Hopper.

Advocacy & Public Policy Peer Community

This peer community focuses on policy priorities and advocacy tactics, and has the opportunity to organize to move regional, state, and national policy priorities forward.

This community is currently co-chaired by Chika Onwuvuche, Program Officer at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and Michael Abramson III, Advocacy Coordinator at Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona.

Advocacy & Public Policy Co-Chairs

Chika Onwuvuche manages the youth and safety grant portfolios and supports the advocacy efforts of Grantee Partners at Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Chika is committed to ensuring Washington DC area residents are afforded equitable resources and services to live self-determined productive lives. In the past, her role as a social worker has helped her assist, learn from, and work alongside youth who have emancipated from the child welfare system and navigated the higher education and immigration systems. Her personal philosophy in the necessity of engaging those most affected as decision-makers for policies and practices drives her passion for the change that needs to happen to invest in women, girls, and gender expansive folks of color. Chika has an undergraduate degree in political science and social work from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Abramson III is currently in his Second year as Advocacy Coordinator for the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona Where he has helped establish a local advocacy coalition, and aided state legislative efforts around postpartum maternity care and ongoing state funding for multiple maternal and family health home-visitation programs. Michael is passionate about fighting for equity for underrepresented communities. In addition to his policy and legislation work he does with WFSA, Michael currently serves as the Policy Director for the Maricopa County Young Democrats where he serves a similar education young folks and communicates with local officials. Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology in December 2019 from Arizona State University and received his Masters in Social Work from Northern Arizona University in 2022. He aims to establish the vital connection between social work and public policy.

Communications Peer Community

This community welcomes all staff working on communications strategies to join this group. Together, peers share ideas and work through challenges as well as refining messaging where groups can find alignment and opportunities for amplification.

Jill Heggen, Communications Director at Women’s Fund of Omaha, is leading this community as current Chair.

Communications Chair

Jill Heggen joined the Women’s Fund in October 2016. As Communications Director, she works with grantees, funders and the general public to ensure consistent messaging and a clear understanding of all initiatives—internally and externally. From orchestrating public relations strategies to pulling off every detail of a campaign, Jill utilizes strategy, bold perseverance and passion for gender equity to create dynamic and lasting change in the community. 

Her past experience includes working as a public relations counsel for Swanson Russell, a local advertising agency; serving in the role of director of communications at Bethany College; and working as a community pledge/development associate at KPTS, a public TV station in Wichita, KS. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with minors in business and multicultural studies from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. Jill served as President of PRSA Nebraska in 2021 and is a member of Leadership Omaha – Class 45. 

Development Peer Community

This peer community welcomes all staff serving in development positions to connect monthly and explore topics, opportunities, and challenges relevant to this important work. As a community-guided space, this peer community will source topics top of mind from the members and engage outside expertise and learning around particular areas of interest.   

Macy Vintson, Director of Development at Women’s Foundation of Alabama, is leading this community as Chair. 

Executive Leaders Peer Community

This peer community is just for executive leaders and a chance to connect with other executive directors, CEOs, presidents, board leadership, and individual practitioners to share best practices with a network of women’s philanthropy peers. Senior leaders enjoy exclusive access to our CEO/executive directors’ discussion group, connecting our network’s leaders to create a collaborative environment of shared expertise, professional development and peer learning. Membership of this peer community is automatic for executive leader members.

Join over 100 women’s foundation CEOs and executive directors in this essential knowledge-sharing tool, in addition to exploring the Women’s Funding Network’s learning labs, research cohorts and other opportunities for learning and collaboration. 

Verónica Colón Rosario, Executive Director of Puerto Rico Women’s Foundation leads this community as current Chair.

Executive Leaders Chair

Originally from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, Verónica Colón Rosario has over a decade of experience in program management for the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She began her career at the National Institutes of Health before pursuing her master’s in Latin American Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. After Georgetown, Verónica joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Latin American Program. In this role, she oversaw different projects in the region and managed fundraising strategies. She later joined the National Science Foundation as a Social Scientist for the Directorate of Social and Economic Sciences. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Verónica decided that after 11 years living in DC, it was time to go back home and be at the forefront of the recovery process. In 2018 she joined the vibrant and emerging start-up ecosystem on the island as a Program Manager at Grupo Guayacán Inc., a non-profit that has supported the entrepreneurial community in Puerto Rico for over 23 years. Two years later she was recruited to launch and serve as the Director of Holberton School Puerto Rico, a software development program born in San Francisco. In this role, she helped strengthen the technology sector on the island by creating partnerships and connecting students with high-profile companies. Verónica currently lives between San Juan and San Lorenzo, with her two dogs and a few chickens. She enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, camping, and refurbishing old furniture. 

From Margin to Center Community

This new community group evolved in response to member requests and feedback. The purpose is to provide a forum for connection and learning among members who self-identify as PGM (People of the Global Majority), BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), or who are from a marginalized racial/ethnic group in their region. This peer community is a place of learning for people with a shared lived experience, while honoring that there is a variety of PGM and BIPOC experiences within a larger shared experience.   

This community is currently chaired by Mary Valadez, Associate Vice President – Grants of Texas Women’s Foundation.

Research & Data Community

This community shares strategies for research design, data collection and database platform integration. In addition, they discuss how to use these tools to make the case for funding and public policy initiatives that support marginalized genders.

Viviana Alvarado Pacheco, Senior Research Associate and Operations Manager at The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, leads this community as Chair, supporting the design and focus of our sessions and shared community work and learning.

Research & Data Chair

Viviana Alvarado Pacheco is Senior Research & Policy Manager at The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade. She holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution and Civil Society Development from the American University of Paris and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Virginia Tech. Throughout her professional career, she has focused on gender studies, international law and sustainable development working for international organizations such as UNESCO and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. Having lived in different countries, Viviana has experience working in various international environments and is fluent in in English, Spanish, and French. She is a fierce advocate for women’s rights and climate change action, promoting a better world for our future generations.