Washington Area Women's Foundation

Washington Area Women's Foundation is a results-oriented, creative catalyst for social change. We believe in the promise and value of every women and girl in the Washington area. We know that we we achieve our full potential, our entire region benefits. We envision the Washington metro area as a model community where every women and girl is on the path to prosperity. That is why we are using our deep insight into the needs of women and girls to collect, direct, and leverage resources to three core areas: financial education and wealth creation, jobs with benefits, career pathways and family sustaining wages; and high-quality early care and education. By supporting the most effective organiza...
Jun 12, 2012

Stand with us. So she can stand on her own.

Each one of us has the power to transform our community.  Each time we invest in women and girls, we help unravel the fabric of poverty and begin to weave a tapestry of prosperity.

Poverty Among the Powerful.

In our region, one in five women and girls lives in poverty. That means over 200,000 women and girls struggle everyday to get the basics required to take care of their families.   

Imagine that after paying for housing and child care, what you have left is $15 per day—$15 per day to pay for everything that you and your family need: food, clothing, transportation, medicine, school supplies . . . everything. That’s what one in every five mothers in our region struggles with every day.

Building a Future.

Washington Area Women’s Foundation invested in programs that in the last two years helped 2,400 women increase their assets and income by $13 million!  Thank you—we couldn’t have done it without you!

 We helped women like Deborah, a single mom living in a one bedroom apartment who had a dream of something more for her son Dion, and the drive to attain it. She needed knowledge, counseling, and encouragement—all of which she received under the tutelage of the staff of the Homebuyers Club at Manna, Inc., a Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner.  Her first steps included opening a dedicated savings account for her home purchase, reviewing her finances monthly with Manna staff, and making daily decisions to sacrifice in the short-term for her long-term goal, all the while working three jobs.  Three years later she moved into her own home, saying with satisfaction that home ownership, “made me feel my self-worth as an adult.” Deborah is now a thriving member of her community, working with her neighbors to address community concerns and issues.

 Stand Together. So She Can Stand on Her Own.

Every day at The Women’s Foundation we are privileged to see the impact that collective giving has on the lives of low-income women and their families.  We know that together, everything is possible. Together we can help all women in our region thrive and help change the face of poverty in the U.S. 

In 2011, we directed $175,000 to a strategic set of organizations that provide financial education and job training.  The return on that investment was $6.7 million!

Our stakeholders support:

  • Grantmaking to the most effective nonprofits working to improve economic security for women and girls;
  • Research and Education on the needs of women and girls in the region and the policies and strategies that best suit those needs;
  • Advocacy to raise awareness of policy issues that affect the economic security of women and girls;
  • Mobilizing and engaging the public around the most critical and timely issues impacting women and girls in the DC metro area.

Please stand with us, so women and girls in our region can stand on their own and help transform our community, the region and beyond.


Mar 26, 2012

Highlights of upcoming work in 2012

Many exciting things are happening at Washington Area Women's Foundation.  On January 30th we moved offices and we are now located at 1331 H Street, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005.  We encourage our stakeholders to visit us and see our new space!

On March 1st, we unveiled our new logo and tagline - Stand together.  So she can stand on her own.  It perfectly encapsulates our mission to mobilize our community to ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in our region have the resources they need to thrive.  We know we can’t do it alone, but together, everything is possible. (Our new logo will be available to view shortly)

We are very excited to announce our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Urban Institute to undertake a national research project to measure the return on investing in women and girls in the United States.  This groundbreaking research will provide important context for funders and policymakers on how vital it is to invest in women and girls. 

In the coming months we hope to expand our grantmaking to address the critical needs of girls and young women as they build their own path to prosperity.

And finally, in December 2011, our board approved $240,000 in grants to eight area nonprofits whose work is transforming the lives of women and girls.  Five of the nonprofits received funding from the Foundation’s Early Care and Education FundersCollaborative (ECEFC), a partnership between national and local private foundations, corporate funders and family foundations to increase access to quality early care and education in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  The ECEFC Grantee Partners are: CentroNía ($50,000) Empower DC ($50,000) Fairfax Futures ($50,000) Hopkins House ($25,000) Voices for Virginia’s Children ($50,000).  Three nonprofits received funding from the African American Women’s Giving Circle.  The giving circle supports African American women led organizations that improve the lives of African American women and girls in the Washington region.The African American Women’s Giving Circle Grantee Partners are: New Community for Children ($6,070) Our Place DC ($6,070) Petals of Primrose ($2,000).

Dec 5, 2011

What Inspires You to Step up and Take Action?

What inspires you to step up and take action?  When Mya Zeronis looks at her five-year-old daughter, Mandy, she sees a reason to fight.  After Mya left her job as a chef at a local restaurant, her employer refused to pay her last month’s wages.  So Mya sprang into action with the help of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC-DC), a Washington Area Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner.  After taking leadership training courses at ROC-DC, Mya created an online petition drive and an in-person flier campaign that resulted in her getting the money she was owed.  After all, could you survive without pay for a month?

“There are a lot of wrongs happening in the restaurant industry and no one seems to care,” says Mya. “[When I joined ROC-DC] I wanted to be active in reforming the industry.  It felt good to send a message.

And not just to restaurant owners.  She also wants to teach her daughter that “she’s in charge of her own future.”

There is an increasing number of women and girls like Mya and Mandy who fight to survive day-by-day. 

Mya Zeronis and her daughter, Mandy.

“A lot of work went into just getting a paycheck I already earned,” says Mya.

Shamefully, 21 percent of women and girls live in poverty in our nation’s capital.   And frighteningly, the numbers keep rising.  More than 200,000 females live in poverty in our region, according to recent Census data,  nearly 14 percent more than just a year ago. That’s twice the increase seen nationwide. 

We cannot stand by while more and more people in our community struggle.  We have to act.

With your support, in the last six years, Washington Area Women’s Foundation has:

  • Invested nearly $5 million in grants to more than 45 community-based organizations.
  • Helped more than 4,000 women increase their assets by just over $18 million through decreased debt, increased savings and growing equity related to home ownership.
  • Conducted research on the status of women and girls in our region and educated our community about the needs of women and girls.  
  • Thank you.  Your support measurably improved the lives of thousands of women and girls like Mya and Mandy.

    And your gift today will have even greater impact.  Please give as generously as you can. 

    We will ensure that your donations support the most effective strategies and programs that help women and girls access high-quality and affordable childcare, obtain jobs with family-sustaining wages & benefits, and save for their futures.

    Together we will shape a community where all women and girls have the resources they need to thrive.

    With gratitude.


    Donation Options
    An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
    Terms and conditions apply.
    Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
    Make a donation in honor or memory of:
    What kind of card would you like to send?
    How much would you like to donate?
    gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

    Reviews of Washington Area Women's Foundation

    Great Nonprofits
    Read and write reviews about Washington Area Women's Foundation on GreatNonProfits.org.