Looking Ahead

Today, Women’s Funding Network is a growing community of more than 120 women’s funds and foundations spanning 14 countries. Our growing community is served by a diverse team, including our talented staff and our Board of Directors, composed of member representatives, visionary supporters and thought leaders from around the world.

Our History

Nearly 40 years ago, the women’s funding movement started with a gathering of about 20 leaders who were convinced that philanthropy and social change needed to more fully recognize and include women’s voices.

Early Beginnings

In 1984, women from several funds discussed creating an organization of women’s funds at a joint meeting of the National Black United Fund and National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. A year later, 20 funds gathered for the first conference of women’s funds in Washington, D.C.

In 1990, we became an independent organization and filed for 501(c)3 status. In the early 1990s, we became an affinity group of the Council on Foundations, held our first board elections and produced special reports on violence against women.

As our collective global work grew, Women’s Funding Network participated in the NGO Forum on Women and the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. We also helped organize a meeting of women’s funds and foundation leaders with Hilary Clinton.

Gaining Momentum

By 2000, the Network included 94 member funds and foundations, with over $200 million in collective working assets and $30 million in annual grantmaking. Our 2001 conference attracted over 300 people.

The Network launched Making the Case: A Learning & Measurement Tool for Social Change and administered the New Women and Wealth Philanthropy Project, which brought over 300 new donors and raised $21 million.

In partnership with Fenton Communications and The White House Project, we launched SheSource.org, a database of women experts to increase the inclusion of women in interviews, speaking engagements and media.

The Network launched U.S. Women Without Borders campaign to mobilize action on gender equality globally. The online community grew from 1,300 to 30,000 in one year.

In 2006, longtime donors Swanee Hunt and Helen LaKelly Hunt initiated a fundraising campaign for women’s funds that would become Women Moving Millions. By the end of 2009, the total raised was $182 million, surpassing its $150 million goal.

The Network partnered with women’s funds and foundations on a national campaign combatting minor sex trafficking. We also helped create Engage 2012, a national summit of people of color leaders working together toward the 2012 election.

We created the Girls Grantmaking Conference in 2012 and the Girls Grantmaking Toolkit to help start girls-as-grantmakers programs.

In 2013, we launched Women & the New Economy, a series of convenings attended by more than 150 members and partners. Women’s Funding Network also participated in CGI America as a champion for women and girls.

Woman with curly hair smiling

United we are
a movement.

WFN’s powerful alliance works together to develop strategies, mobilize resources, and raise awareness to combat systemic gender and racial inequality at the community level, forging a better quality of life for all.