And the Winner of the $15,000 Criminal Justice Diversity Partner Grant is…

by Ann Kumasaka and Donna Lou
Co-Leaders of the Criminal Justice Diversity Partner Grant
WA Women’s Foundation Board Members

It was an honor to serve as this year’s Diversity Partner Grant Co-Chairs and as always, it gave us the opportunity to meet and get to know so many more of our WA Women Foundation members, which in turn provides me with connections that will last for many years to come.

This year, the process for choosing the topic of criminal justice was timely and carefully planned.

Before the Grant

Our leadership team, led by President Beth McCaw, Grant Programs Manager Laura Ciotti and WA Women’s Foundation member Maura Fallon, put together a year-long program that culminated with the work of this committee. Earlier this year, all WA Women’s Foundation members were invited to read Brian Stevenson’s book Just Mercy followed by a discussion at The Seattle Public Library. Read more about the discussion here

Members were then invited to watch the final episode of the PBS series Race: The Power of an Illusion (2003). The episode called “The House We Live In” focuses on the ways institutions and policies advantage some groups at the expense of others.

The words “mass incarceration,” “Prison Industrial Complex” and the “School to Prison Pipeline” are now familiar terms to many of us. We at the Foundation wanted to become better informed about these social justice issues and take action toward addressing these issues.

As a result, this fall’s Diversity Partner Grant committee focused on Criminal Justice, and it had the highest number of members (24) participate out of all of our previous Partner Grant committees since the initiative began in 2011. Through fundraising and members’ participation, we collected $15,000 to award to one organization.

Our Process

Before the committee embarked on its work, we held a workshop called “Healing from Racism to Build Stronger Philanthropy” led by WA Women’s Foundation member, Maura Fallon. We felt that in order to have a better understanding of the issues we would be studying, we needed to be 1) aware of our own racial identity and its impact, 2) understand how race and oppression have operated individually, and 3) develop goals for becoming an ally through philanthropy.

social-justice-fund-nwAt our first committee meeting, Mijo Lee, Executive Director of Social Justice Fund Northwest (SJF), shared their approach to grant making and educated us about issues within the criminal justice system, about the types of organizations that SJF funds, and why they support grassroots community organizing.  It was an enlightening and humbling experience, and we are very grateful that Mijo took time out of her busy schedule this fall to share her expertise with us as our partner.

Our committee members reviewed proposals from ten Washington-based organizations who, earlier this year, applied for funding directly from SJF. In this way, we were able to hear from some very small organizations who may not otherwise have learned about. After reviewing the proposals, committee members selected 3 organizations that received site visits. We then came together last Thursday, December 1 to talk about our visits and what we learned. We then voted and the grant award winner was determined.

Our Three Finalists

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With its 44,000 members and a coalition of 2,500 small businesses, Washington CAN! is the largest community grassroots organization in Washington state. Since their founding in 1983, they have created and maintained a large, strong and diverse statewide community presence of grassroots leaders and community members working to achieve racial, gender, social and economic justice in Washington state and throughout the nation. They sought funding to support their work to reinstate the parole system in Washington which was eliminated in 1984, largely due to inadequate funding and now-disputed research that suggested rehabilitation-based sentencing fails. The funding would also support work to reform the system of Legal Financial Obligations, which are the extensive fines, fees, and costs imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. At our site visit, we met with extremely impassioned family members who are organizing and advocating on behalf of their imprisoned sons and brothers, and it was clear that Washington CAN!’s work in these areas gives much needed support for highly marginalized and impoverished communities under stress.

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T.E.A.C.H., which is “Taking Education and Creating History”, is a higher education program in the Clallam Bay Corrections Center run by the Black Prisoners Caucus designed to bring college-level education to prisoners. T.E.A.C.H. classes are available to every prisoner regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs. The program provides many opportunities for prisoners to develop a broad range of skills to improve their lives — leadership, teaching and mentorship, curriculum development, parenting, problem-solving, introspection, and a deep understanding of the forces and decisions that have influenced their lives. At our site visit, we met with ten founding members on the T.E.A.C.H. board. Their passion for learning and their enthusiasm to share knowledge has greatly impacted their lives and has radiated outward into the community. State law prohibiting the use of public funds to support higher education for incarcerated people has increased their need for additional support to build a vibrant and sustainable program. Their focus on education and self-empowerment for prisoners is unwavering, and their success has been truly measureable.

Both Washington CAN! and T.E.A.C.H. are exceptional organizations, and both deserve recognition for their incredible service to our communities.

Now it is our great pleasure to announce this year’s $15,000 grant recipient, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo.

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Photo Credit: Myllie Vo

Colectiva Legal del Pueblo (CLP) was founded in 2012 by undocumented community organizers, activists and immigration attorneys working to build community power to achieve dignity and migrant justice through advocacy, education and legal support. Their mission is to provide a wide variety of direct legal services as well as community organizing, community-based trainings and workshops. These programs empower immigrant and undocumented communities to know their rights, de-mystify the legal process and build collective power. CLP employs these strategies to strengthen communities to defend themselves from deportation and detention, and to increase movement building to address immigration reform and systemic racism within immigration laws and policies, both locally and nationally. Dedicated to the abolition of migrant imprisonment that profits off the separation of families and exploited labor, CLP envisions a world in which migrant justice work is rooted in the right of free movement for all people, regardless of borders.

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A number of members from this Diversity Partner Grant Committee plan to stay in touch with each of the three finalist organizations. Many of us feel that a personal commitment, whether to volunteer our time or offer financial support, will help make a genuine difference in the lives of the people that these organizations serve. We invite you to join us and help to create transformational change in our community.

Thank you to the Diversity Partner Grant Committee: Kathleen Albrecht, Suzy Bruya, Susan Burke, Jean Carter, Amy Corey, Kathleen Davis, Lorraine Del Prado, Nancy Elliott, Maura Fallon, Sharon Hammel, Lori Harnick, Jill Hearne, Ann Kumasaka, Jana Mohr Lone, Donna Lou, Beth Morrison, Donna Murphy, Erika Olsen, Sarah Perry, Anne Repass, Paula Riggert, Charmaine Stouder, Brooke Witt, Leslie Yamada
 
A special thank you to leaders Ann Kumasaka and Donna Lou, and to Maura Fallon, who created and facilitated the workshop “Healing from Racism” for all committee members.

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.wawomensfdn.org

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:

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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.

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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

2016 Diversity Partner Grant: Criminal Justice

This fall, Washington Women’s Foundation’s Diversity Partner Grant Committee, co-led by members Ann Kumasaka and Donna Lou, will focus its learning and inquiry on the topic of criminal justice. The 30 members serving on this Committee will fund one or more not-for-profit organizations supporting communities that have borne a historical pattern of discrimination resulting in poverty, vulnerability to mistreatment and economic abuse, and continuing social intolerance. 

As with all committees at Washington Women’s Foundation, this Partner Grant experience provides the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and skill building workshops, each designed to challenge our members to look beyond their personal perspectives. Participating members will:

  • Better understand systemic and institutional racism, especially within our criminal justice system.
  • Explore their own relationships to privilege and oppression.
  • Come to a shared understanding of the terms “race,” “prejudice,” “bias,” “social justice” and “social justice philanthropy.”
  • Become better allies and more informed philanthropists.
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2016 Diversity Partner Grant Committee – a record number of participants!

Why Criminal Justice?

JustMercyIn WA Women’s Foundation’s 2016 Book Discussion selection Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, author Bryan Stevenson wrote, “Criminal justice in America sometimes seems more criminal than just — replete with error, malfeasance, racism and cruel, if not unusual, punishment, coupled with stubborn resistance to reform and a failure to learn from even its most glaring mistakes.” Read more about the Book Discussion here.
Racial profiling, the school-to-prison pipeline, and policies and practices that may seem race-neutral have contributed to a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets people of color and poor people. Nationally, an African-American person is 5 times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated. In Washington State, African-Americans are 5.5 times as likely; Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are 3 times as likely; and Hispanics/Latinxs are 1.5 times as likely as whites to be in prison. The Committee will seek to better understand the institutional and systemic reasons for these disproportionate outcomes and ways not-for-profit organizations are working to address them.

Our Partner: Social Justice Fund Northwest

social-justice-fund-nwEach Partner Grant Committee benefits from the expertise of a fellow community grant maker, and we are excited to announce a new partnership withSocial Justice Fund Northwest (SJF). Like us, SJF is a member-funded, member-led grant making organization. SJF fosters significant, long-term social justice solutions throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Participating SJF members engage in a deep process of learning about race, class, fundraising and social change. SJF supports organizations that are led by people from the communities most impacted by injustice and inequality.

Join Us to Celebrate

Our Diversity Partner Grant Showcase will be held Tuesday, December 13, 10 – 11:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity to learn from fellow members, our partner grant maker and our grant award winner! Read more and register here.

Resources To Learn More

We have more resources available in the Washington Women’s Foundation offices – please contact us to receive more.


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

Welcome New WA Women’s Members!

Each year, nearly fifty new women join the movement of women’s leadership in philanthropy at WA Women’s Foundation, contributing to our collective influence.

Building on WA Women’s core organizational value of “inclusiveness,” we want to make sure that each new member feels welcomed, connected to our mission and prepared to engage in our programs and committees whenever her schedule allows.

New Program: WA Women’s Ambassadors

In order to help new members engage with WA Women’s Foundation, the Member Engagement Committee is excited to announce the launch of our new Ambassadors Program.

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Some of our WA Women’s Ambassadors!

WA Women’s Foundation’s Member Engagement Committee has offered to act as our inaugural Ambassadors. When a new member joins, she will be matched with an Ambassador. Over the course of that new member’s first year with WA Women’s Foundation, the Ambassador will:

  • Send welcome emails and set up phone calls to answer membership questions
  • Connect personally by inviting her to coffee or lunch to talk about engagement with WA Women’s Foundation
  • Invite her to and host her at upcoming Foundation events, including WA Women’s New Member Social in late Spring

Want To Connect With a WA Women’s Ambassador?

If you’ve joined the Foundation in the past year and are interested in being paired with an Ambassador, please contact Emily Feicht at emily@wawomensfoundation.org or 206.407.2175.

Want To Be a WA Women’s Ambassador?

Being a WA Women’s Ambassador is a great way to connect with more members and show off your passion for WA Women’s Foundation!

If you are interested in being an Ambassador, please contact Emily at emily@wawomensfoundation.org or 206.407.2175 for more information. We ask that all new Ambassadors join the Member Engagement Committee.

Thank You to Our 2016-2017 Ambassadors

Denise Allan
Electa Anderson
Jan Anderson
Marcia Bailey
Amy Corey
Frances Costigan
Alice Cunningham
Mary-Ellen Diorio
Betty Drumheller
Nancy Elliott
Julia Gibson
Sharon Hammel
Jean Kelly
Carol Madigan
Liz McGrath
Anne Repass
Deborah Wakefield
Pat Walker


Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has awarded $16 million in transformative 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