Membership Survey Results

Rainier Club

Dear Members of WA Women’s Foundation,

In May we invited all of our members to complete an online survey.  The survey collected several important points of data that will be helpful to the Board of Directors and staff as we develop the next strategic plan for the Foundation.  Because more than 150 members took the time to share their thoughts with us, I wanted to highlight some of the survey results.

Membership – Why Join?

The vast majority of the respondents joined WA Women’s Foundation because a friend, family member or colleague is or was a member of the Foundation.  Not only was it one of the factors influencing the decision, it was ranked by about half of the respondents as the most compelling factor.

Of those who indicated that an event was an influencing factor, most mentioned Discovery Days, the Grant Awards Celebration and the Annual Philanthropy Celebration at SAM.  Thanks to those of you who recently attended our Grant Award Celebration at SAM and brought guests with you.  We hope many of them will join the Foundation before the end of the year!

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We also wanted to better understand what women hoped to gain by joining our collective. The following are the top five reasons respondents joined the Foundation:

  • I wanted to learn about important community issues.
  • I wanted to increase the impact of my individual giving.
  • I wanted to meet and work with like-minded women.
  • I wanted to learn about not-for-profit organizations active in my community.
  • I wanted to influence community transformation.

Membership – Why Renew?

The responses indicate that the Foundation is delivering on our promises – women are renewing because we increase the impact of their individual giving and they have learned about important community issues through Washington Women’s Foundation.

What’s Important to You?

We heard once again that having the time to participate is a challenge, especially for working women.  For that reason, we are trying to have fewer events in the morning, host more over the lunch hour and find late afternoon times that are not challenged by traffic. This year, two of the five Pooled Fund Grant Committee Work Groups met in downtown Seattle, and one met at the end of the work day. This fall, we are planning to schedule our Partner Grant Committee meetings in the late afternoon as well.  If you are looking for evening or weekend meeting times, let us know that specifically.  When we have tried some of those in the past, they were not well-attended.

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In terms of our grant making, the survey respondents told us it was very important that we make five $100,000 grants each year and that we give $2,000 Merit Awards to each of the 5 organizations not selected for the 5 Pooled Fund Grants. In fact, many comments encouraged us to increase the size of the Merit Awards.  This could be a possibility, depending upon your financial support of the Foundation.  This was the first year that member contributions fully funded the Merit Awards; in past years, the Board has used operating reserves to fund the awards at the current level.

Values – Collaboration, Connection, Education, Equality, Impact, Inclusiveness & Leadership

Like our Board of Directors, the survey respondents had a very difficult time ranking our organizational values, especially since they have not been specifically defined.  When the Board ranked the values, their top three were:

  • Impact
  • Inclusiveness
  • Collaboration

When members were asked to rank the values in order of importance to their experience as a member of the Foundation, the top three responses were:

  • Impact
  • Collaboration
  • Education

When asked to rank the values in the order of importance to our mission, survey respondents’ top three values were:

  • Impact – by a significant margin; it was ranked the top by 48% of the respondents
  • Collaboration – also by a fairly significant margin
  • Inclusiveness

A number of respondents commented on the value of “equality,” which was given the lowest ranking each time.  One member noted that equality was important “internally” but that “equity” was a more important “external” value. Another commented on the importance of the concept of “equity” in the fulfillment of our mission.

Next Steps

As many of you who have served on Boards know, the strategic planning process has many phases.  Last year, as we refreshed our brand, we also updated our mission statement.  Next, we’ll be discussing our organizational values and determining a process by which Board members and members can agree upon shared definitions for our values.  Reaching agreement around our values will allow us to make values-based decisions about what goals we want to set and what strategies we will implement to pursue those goals.

We also want to hear more from you as well as from our grantees. At least one survey respondent asked for more “substantive ways” to contribute to the strategic planning process. As we noted when we distributed the survey, we view it as simply the first step and one tool in a process that will take many months. To that end, the Foundation has engaged a strategic planning firm to help us determine how to best involve as many of you in these conversations going forward with the hope of reaching shared agreement about how to make the culture of the Foundation more inclusive, our educational programming more informative and our influence and impact more transformational.

With Gratitude,

Beth McCaw, President, WA Women’s Foundation

And The 2017 Pooled Fund Grantees Are…

Yesterday, Washington Women’s Foundation members named five organizations to each receive a $100,000 grant from the Foundation’s Pooled Fund, totaling $500,000. In the 22 years since the Foundation’s inception, our members have influenced transformation in communities across Washington State by collectively granting over $17 million. We are delighted to introduce you to this year’s WA Women’s Foundation Grantees and Merit Award Winners!

2017 Pooled Fund Grant Award Winners

Copy of 12244256_1108079419211650_6388223093394342773_oArts & Culture: The Seattle Globalist
The Seattle Globalist is a daily online publication that covers the connections between local and global issues here in Seattle. They highlight diverse voices and train the next generation of media makers. Our funding will help them continue to break down the barriers of entry into media for women and people of color, offering mentorship, guidance and connections as a powerful launchpad for new voices in Seattle.

 

west seattle outdoor preschoolers exploring fungus.jpgEducation: Tiny Trees Preschool
Tiny Tree’s mission is to use outdoor classrooms to make a quality education in reading, math and science affordable for families and to give children a joyful, nature rich childhood – one full of play, exploration and wonder. Our  funding will help them continue to respond to the soaring costs of childcare and its disproportionate effects on low-income families and communities of color by leading the movement for affordable, high quality preschool.

 

RF Workshop BC.jpgEnvironment: ReUse Works
ReUse Works was founded on the simple premise that there is economic opportunity in both the products and the people that our society has discarded. Our funding will help them continue to increase the Ragfinery program’s capacity to provide job training services, sustainable textile recycling, educational outreach about textile waste, and inspiration for creative reuse, while moving Ragfinery toward economic self-sufficiency.

 

IMG_2006 (2)Health: FEEST
FEEST empowers low income youth and youth of color in White Center and Delridge to become leaders for healthy food access, food justice and health equity. They organize 40-45 high school youth once a week to cook an improvised dinner using fresh vegetables from local markets. These community dinners serve as a pipeline to recruit and develop emerging food justice leaders for their year-long internship program. Interns develop and implement campaigns that seek to increase access to healthy foods for students and their families. Our general operating funding will support this work and the continued implementation of their ambitious strategic plan.

 

20150929_BEST_Employers_Alliance_053Human Services: Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking
Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) aligns and equips leaders to use the power of business to prevent human trafficking. Through training, consultation and collaboration, they work with businesses to drive behavioral change and improve the lives of the victims involved. Our funding will help them continue to reduce trafficking in our region by changing the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors that enable human trafficking to flourish.

 

2017 Merit Award Winners

Washington Women’s Foundation presented a $2,000 Merit Award to each of our other five finalist organizations in recognition of the time, effort and goodwill they invested in our rigorous grant making process. This year’s Merit Award Winners are:

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Arts & Culture: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Wing Luke’s mission is to connect everyone to the rich history, dynamic cultures and art of the Asian Pacific Americans through vivid storytelling and inspiring experiences. Wing Luke aims to create more informed citizens, especially around issues of civil and constitutional rights, immigration, labor history and refugees, through the development of an Asian Pacific American history curriculum, web portal and teacher training.

 

RVC fellows.jpgEducation: Rainier Valley Corps 

Rainier Valley Corps promotes social justice by cultivating leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Their fellowship program recruits, trains, mentors, and supports 10 emerging leaders from diverse communities of color and places them in people of color-led Community Building Organizations to develop the organizations’ capacity.

Spill Kit Training Caption.jpgEnvironment: ECOSS
ECOSS educates and empowers businesses and diverse communities to implement environmentally sustainable practices. ECOSS works to advance environmental equity by providing multicultural environmental outreach, engagement, resources and technical assistance to businesses and communities in the Puget Sound Region that encourage urban redevelopment and a healthy environment. 

 

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Health: Yoga Behind Bars
Yoga Behind Bars brings yoga and meditation to prisons, jails, and detention centers to promote rehabilitation, personal transformation, and a more just society for all. They work to help to build safer communities and contribute to the reform of the corrections system through trauma–informed yoga and meditation classes at correctional facilities throughout Washington State. 

It Takes a Village

Human Services: La Casa Hogar

La Casa Hogar’s mission is to connect and educate Latino families, and to transform lives in Yakima Valley. La Casa provides a range of educational opportunities that are specifically suited to the immigrant population in Yakima. Many of these families are at-risk from language, income and education limitations, eroded self-esteem, reduced mobility, few marketable skills, and a scarcity of available resources. Classes offered include English/Spanish literacy, adult basic education, digital inclusion, financial literacy, health education, parenting, pre-school preparation for children, and citizenship education.


Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has awarded $17 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