A Fond Farewell from Emily

emilyfeichtby Emily Feicht, Director of Operations & Membership

Joining WA Women’s Foundation staff in November 2008 was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Throughout the past eight years, I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of curious, passionate, and driven women leaders committed to community change through philanthropy. On November 11th, I’ll be leaving the Foundation to take on a new challenge at the University of Washington as the Assistant Director of Foundation Board Engagement.

As I’m packing up my office and reminiscing on all we’ve accomplished over these past 8 years, I’m struck by just how inspiring and appropriate our new mission statement is. WA Women’s Foundation has always been a transformative place, and it certainly was so for me. Here’s what’s been added over the past 8 years: 408 new women who have joined the Foundation, creative programs to enhance your leadership, innovative grant making initiatives, and most inspiring to me, a deepened commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Thank you to every member for your commitment to our mission and women’s leadership. And a very special thank you to my current and past fellow staff members; you have each mentored, challenged, and inspired me. It’s bittersweet to leave the Foundation at such an exciting time – the future is so incredibly promising. I look forward to staying in touch with you all and watching WA Women’s Foundation continue to challenge and transform women and our community.

Please do keep in touch. My personal email is emily.feicht@gmail.com and if you find yourself on UW’s campus, stop by Gerberding Hall and say hello.

With gratitude,
Emily

Introducing Our New Logo

Rainier Clubby Beth McCaw, President

In case you missed our last two blog posts (Unveiling the New Mission Statement for WA Women’s Foundation & Our New Visual Identity, Part 1), here’s a quick recap:

We used our members’ feedback to create our new mission statement:

Washington Women’s Foundation is a strong and inclusive collective of informed women who together influence community transformation.

  • Through individual and collective discovery.

  • Through high-impact grant making.

  • By listening to and respecting all voices in our community.

At the same time, we began a year-long process to design a new visual identity for Washington Women’s Foundation that reflects the following traits and attributes of our brand:

Influential / Engaging / Groundbreaking / Brave / Generous

Challenge / Transformation / Impact

We now present the new logo of Washington Women’s Foundation:

wwf-logo-color

Why are we excited about this new look for the Foundation?

It Honors Our Past: We kept the color orange from our previous logo and paired it with a more modern tone of blue. Why orange? It’s the color that represents “transformation,” one of the key elements of our brand.

It Aligns With Our Mission and the Perception of the Foundation: We believe that this logo matches the spirit of our new, more aspirational mission statement and over time, will come to represent WA Women’s Foundation as a “powerful game changer” – a description of the Foundation that resonated with many.

It Gives Us a Fresh Start: Our new logo allows us to leave “WWF” and all of the brand confusion it creates behind! Our brand can now stand on its own – as WA Women’s Foundation.

What’s Coming Next:

  • A refresh and upgrade of our website to reflect our new brand and improve the user experience.
  • The Board of Directors has started the next phase of strategic planning with a focus on new mission, our organizational culture and how WA Women’s Foundation can evolve to become a more inclusive organization, both from the perspective of our membership as well as the types of organizations and causes we fund.
  • We want to think creatively about how we can wield the greatest influence with our funding while at the same time, deepening your learning through our grant making.

Your voice matters in this conversation, and there will be opportunities for you to provide feedback as we move forward. Because this is not any one member’s vision of WA Women’s Foundation – we are creating our shared vision of what we, as a collective, can do together.

What can hundreds of committed women do together? Anything we choose.

Our New Visual Identity, Part 1

 

Rainier Clubby Beth McCaw, President

Last week, I shared with you how we arrived at a new mission statement for Washington Women’s Foundation. The same process informed our adoption of a new brand for the Foundation.

An organization’s mission statement is the leading verbal representation of its brand identity.

Washington Women’s Foundation is a strong and inclusive collective of informed women who together influence community transformation.

We do this:
Through individual and collective discovery.
Through high-impact grant making.
By listening to and respecting all voices in our community.

A brand also is represented verbally by key messages, traits, attributes and attitudes that weave together into a narrative of the organization. That narrative tells our story to the community at-large.

Brand identity also includes a visual element. A visual element on its own carries no meaning – at least not initially. For example, the Nike “Swoosh” was just a “Swoosh” in the beginning. But over many years, it has evolved into an iconic image that on its own, tells a compelling story. The black and white panda does the same for the “other WWF” – the World Wildlife Fund.

for t 6/03

In the membership survey that we conducted earlier this year, you told us that you were ready for change.  You felt that:

  • Our old mission had been accomplished.
  • We are ready to seek new challenges.
  • We need to evolve our messaging and our look to reflect the Foundation of today.

So, as I detailed in my President’s Letter last week, we’ve been working on that.

To honor the legacy and spirit of the women who founded Washington Women’s Foundation and to reflect our current membership and our new mission statement, our Brand Research Work Group agreed that the visual brand identity of Washington Women’s Foundation must be:

Influential * Engaging * Groundbreaking * Brave * Generous

There also were certain key attributes that needed to be captured:

Challenge * Transformation * Impact

We decided also that it was time to leave “WWF” behind and find a new way to visually represent the Foundation’s current attitude and its attributes.

After spending our 20th Anniversary year at WA Women’s Foundation collecting input, asking questions, probing for deeper understanding of our members and gaining greater clarity about what is important to you and to our community, we are poised to begin planning for the next 20 years of WA Women’s Foundation. We are excited to be led by an updated mission statement and a refreshed narrative, both of which underscore our continued relevance and challenge us to build upon the strength of our community of women to evolve in such a way as to wield even greater influence in our community.

We also are excited to unveil a new logo for the Foundation. But to see that, you will have to attend the Annual Meeting of the Membership on October 26, 2016!

I hope that you will join us for this very “special edition” of our Annual Meeting next week. We’ll be honoring our past; you don’t want to miss the purse display – remember, when we were all about “The Power of the Purse?”

I’ll also report on what is still working so well at WA Women’s Foundation today – there’s a lot and it’s because of you! Change is in the air this fall, but Washington Women’s Foundation is still your Foundation. Thank you for being a member.


Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has awarded $16 million in transformational grants that have enabled not-for-profit organizations to improve lives, protect the environment, advance health and education and increase access to the arts throughout Washington state.

All women are invited to join our strong and inclusive collective of informed women influencing community transformation. The challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us. www.wawomensfoundation.org

Unveiling The New Mission Statement for WA Women’s Foundation

Rainier Club

by Beth McCaw, President

It’s hard to believe that I recently celebrated my second anniversary as President of Washington Women’s Foundation. When I was hired in the Foundation’s 19th year, the Board of Directors charged me with setting the course for the Foundation’s future. You can’t get to “Point B” if you don’t know your starting point, “Point A,” so I spent most of my first year trying to understand the Foundation’s Point A.

What did I discover? 

I learned that much of the narrative about Washington Women’s Foundation, including the community’s perceptions of us as well as our own mission statement and logo, didn’t align with who we are today. Before helping us set our sights on the future, I felt like we needed this alignment.

What did we do? 

When I discussed my findings with the Board of Directors, they agreed that it was time to refresh and update the look of Washington Women’s Foundation. We formed a Brand Research Work Group and hired a brand design and research firm. Megan Davies (Director of Communications & Programs) and I served on the Work Group along with Board Chair Martha Kongsgaard, Cabinet Chair Barbara Fielden and two “at-large” members, Bo Lee and Nicole Resch. 

Our research firm first interviewed representatives of our staff, Board and membership. The firm also reviewed our current brand, including marketing materials and our website, as well as the brand positioning of our “competitors.”

What did we learn? 

We learned from these interviews that our organizational culture is a key differentiator – the community experience within the membership is highly valued and there is a great deal of trust in our membership and in our grant making process. Our community not only attracts new members, it is a key factor in retention. In addition, interviewees made special note of:

  • The caliber of the women in our membership;
  • The intellectual rigor of our conversations; and
  • Our shared attitude of openness and curiosity.

There was one difference of opinion:

  • Younger members especially expressed a concern that WA Women’s Foundation would need to evolve to attract other young women and more diverse women.

Next the research firm interviewed prospective, current and lapsed members as well as a few philanthropic leaders in our community, including our grantees. We learned through these interviews that:

  • While members view our community as open and curious, the lack of membership diversity was identified as an organizational weakness that impacts how the community, including prospective members, views WA Women’s Foundation.
  • Both members and non-members wanted WA Women’s Foundation to update its mission. The current mission was viewed as better describing what the Foundation originally was rather than what it is now, and many members believed that a new, more aspirational mission was needed to align with how they see WA Women’s Foundation – as a “powerful game changer.”

Previous Mission Statement:
The Washington Women’s Foundation educates, inspires and increases the number of women committed to philanthropy in order to strengthen community and demonstrate the impact that can result from informed, focused grant making.

The final research step was an online survey of the full membership conducted over the course of two weeks this past January and February. 275 members completed the survey! We were pleased to see that the participants include a good cross-section of our membership, newer members as well as 10+ members, younger members, more engaged members and members who simply contribute and vote.

Through the survey, you told us that you agreed with and thought the following were the most important aspects of WA Women’s Foundation:

  • Washington Women’s Foundation educates members on important issues.
  • Washington Women’s Foundation focuses attention on critical issues.
  • Washington Women’s Foundation is open to all women who wish to become members.
  • Washington’s Women’s Foundation is a community of strong women.

We also learned that you were ready for Washington Women’s Foundation to change and take on new challenges. You expressed a desire for the Foundation to challenge you to engage in bold and transformational giving, to focus attention on often overlooked issues and to become an even more inclusive community of women.

During both rounds of interviews and in the membership survey, we tested concepts, themes and words to inform the revision of our mission statement and the development of our new brand. We learned that you supported many of the same values as the Board of Directors and our Brand Research Work Group.

After nine months and many, many, many drafts, the Board of Directors adopted a new mission statement for WA Women’s Foundation.

Washington Women’s Foundation is a strong and inclusive collective of informed women who together influence community transformation.

We do this:

  • Through individual and collective discovery.

  • Through high-impact grant making.

  • By listening to and respecting all voices in our community.

The statement is grounded in our history of collective grant making and education, recognizes the strengths and unique qualities of our members and acknowledges that community change requires a partnership among our members as well as with our community. These are all fundamental tenets of how we do what we do at Washington Women’s Foundation.

So perhaps more importantly, the new mission statement sets firmly before us our greatest aspirations – to become more inclusive as a membership organization, to become more deeply informed about the most pressing issues facing communities throughout Washington state, and to more powerfully wield our collective influence in pursuit of community transformation. These are the challenges of the world as we know it today.

However, because of our history at Washington Women’s Foundation, we know the challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us. We are Washington Women’s Foundation.


Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has awarded $16 million in transformational grants that have enabled not-for-profit organizations to improve lives, protect the environment, advance health and education and increase access to the arts throughout Washington state.

All women are invited to join our strong and inclusive collective of informed women influencing community transformation. The challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us. www.wawomensfoundation.org