Invest in Women in the Washington DC Metro Area

by Washington Area Women's Foundation

Washington Area Women's Foundation recently released a groundbreaking issue brief on women's philanthropy in the Washington region.  By combining first-hand experiences of philanthropists with a critical examination of regional and national data through a gender lens, we have found that turning the corner on poverty for women and girls within our region is within our grasp.

"I've experienced personally - and I think studies support this - that if you empower women, you will save the world, so that's why I like to give to women..."   -Lorena, Philanthropist in the Washington region

By our estimates, if every woman in our region with a net worth of $5 million or more contributed 0.1% of their wealth to programs tailored to the unique needs of women and girls, they could collectively invest at least $45 million - enough to have a significant impact on helping the nearly half-million women and girls living below or near poverty in our region attain economic security.

"Women never had money to give...Now we have wonderful women who are working hard and doing good jobs and getting paid a lot of money, and they need to know how to give." - Tamicka, Philanthropist in the Washington region

A rough estimation of woman's net worth in the Washington region is over $253 billion.  With this vast amount of resources, women have the potential to significantly grow philanthropy.  In fact, research shows that women proportionately donate more of their own wealth to benefit communities than men.  On average, high net worth women give close to four percent of their total net worth each year, which is twice as much as the two percent men give.

"I'm a big believer in outcomes and results.  I'm just a big believer in putting money where things are working best." - Eleanor, Philanthropist in the Washington region

The biggest challenge facing our community is not a lack of strategies to address the needs of the region's most economically vulnerable residents, but a lack of resources.  The complexity of poverty is overwhelming, but we have the expertise needed to do something about it, especially if we tap into the incredible giving power of women in our region. 

Join us and become a philanthropist with the unprecedented power and potential to change our community!

Why Give?
Why Give?


Elaine at the 2015 Leadership Luncheon
Elaine at the 2015 Leadership Luncheon

Washington Area Women's Foundation recently held their annual Leadership Luncheon on October 15, 2015. This event drew over 1,000 of the Washington area's best and brightest from the nonprofit, corporate, public, and academic sectors. The highlight of this amazing event celebrating women and girls and the people who work for their future every day?


Elaine graduated from the Academy of Hope, a Washington Area Women's Foundation grantee partner, with her GED at the age of 62.  After dropping out of school in the 9th grade and working for 37 years in the government, Elaine made it a priority to go back to school and receive the diploma that she never had. Why? "I felt like there was something missing in my life that I needed to get."

With a high school diploma, workers can earn 82% more than those who did not complete high school.

Everyday, women just like Elaine are supported by grants from The Women's Foundation as they pursue secondary and postsecondary education to develop their position in the workforce and provide a stronger basis of economic security for themselves and their family. 

Watch Elaine and other recipients of The Women's Foundation's grants speak here about their hopes for the future.

Now that she has her GED, what are Elaine's plans for her future? She wants to go to music school and, as she shared with our Luncheon audience, hit the high notes!  Her rendition of "All is Well with my Soul" brought the house to a standing ovation - for her courage, for her inspiration to other women to pursue their dreams, and for all the women who are working toward a better and brighter future for themselves and their families.

Donate to The Women's Foundation today to support women like Elaine and ensure that all women and girls have the support and tools they need for economic security and a brighter tomorrow.

Join us to be Here. Now. For Her Future.


Training Futures Graduation Celebration
Training Futures Graduation Celebration

Because of dedicated supporters like you, there is a brighter future for women like Lidia V.

Lidia, a single mother and graduate of the Washington Area Women's Foundation supported Training Futures program at Northern Virginia Family Service, found the program while pursuing her GED. Prior to enrolling, Lidia said she was constantly thinking, “I’ll get my GED, but then what?” Training Futures helped her answer that question by showing her that it was possible to go from working two jobs on nights and weekends to securing a full-time position with benefits and regular business hours.

In 2014, after completing a three-week internship with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, Lidia was offered a full-time position as an executive assistant. Since then, she’s impressed her employers, received a raise, and is now able to spend more time at home raising her 9-year-old son. She acknowledges that without the support of Training Futures and Washington Area Women’s Foundation she would never have been able to imagine achieving all of these things.

Your support and donations provide critical services like job training for economically vulnerable women in the Washington region and helps them work towards a brighter future for themselves and their children.

But the most rewarding experience Lidia says thus far has been the opportunity to help change other people’s lives by introducing them to Training Futures. She says, “I couldn’t be more blessed. I don’t even have the words to describe Training Future’s impact on my life. Where I work, I have the ability to speak to a lot of people who could benefit from the program and I tell everyone I can about it.”

At Washington Area Women’s Foundation, we invest in pathways out of poverty for women and girls, including job training and post-secondary education opportunities that provide access to careers that offer benefits and pay family-sustaining wages. The Foundation first started supporting Northern Virginia Family Service’s Training Futures program through Stepping Stones in 2005. Training Futures provides the training and skills that help under-employed and unemployed women in Northern Virginia secure a rewarding career.

When it comes to helping women build their economic security and earnings potential, Training Futures is one of the nation’s most effective workforce development programs. More than 90 percent of all participants who enroll in the program graduate, and 80 percent of all Training Futures graduates find administrative jobs with benefits paying an average of $12.50 per hour within a year after completing the program. With your support, Washington Area Women's Foundation can continue identifying and resourcing high-performing programs like Training Futures that are changing the lives of women and their families in the Washington region.  

Lidia V.
Lidia V.


Your support of Washington Area Women's Foundation fuels investment in Early Care and Education.  Join with us to support a critical opportunity for children to increase school readiness and close the achievement gap.

Did you know?

  • Kids who enter kindergarten prepared are four times more likely to graduate high school.
  • In 2013, the average annual cost of full-time center-based care for an infant in the District of Columbia was $22,000, or about 92 percent of the median income of a female-headed household.
  • The cost of center-based care for an infant in the District of Columbia was three times higher than the cost of a year's tuition and fees at a four-year public college in 2013.
  • Every public dollar invested in early care and education saves taxpayers up to $13 dollars in future costs.

In 2014, early care and education grants helped reach over 6,300 low-income children across the region.  These grants improved teacher-child communication in the classroom, supported literacy efforts and interventions, invested in the professional development of child care workers and empowered families to advocate for quality child care across the region.

In the Washington metropolitan region, more than 200,000 women and girls are living in poverty.  Early care and education is one critical strategy to help increase the economic security of families and, together, we can make influence change that will have lasting impact, not just on this generation, but for generations to come.  

Please donate today to Washington Area Women's Foundation.


Because of supporters like you, new doors are opening for Beverly S.

Beverly S., a recent graduate of The Women's Foundation's Grantee Partner Academy of Hope, exclaimed, “Getting my high school diploma is the best!” She adds, “It’s so good to take on a challenge and complete it. It (a high school credential) is already opening up new doors of opportunity for me!”

Beverly, like so many adults in Washington, DC, was desperate to get her high school credential and begin to turn her life around.  She was one of the lucky ones.  More than 64,000 adults in the District of Columbia lack a high school credential but the city only serves about 7,000 residents through its locally funded adult education programs and adult charter schools. In recent years, Academy of Hope has had a waiting list of over 200 adults each term with the goal of obtaining their GED or improving their academic skills to obtain a better job or to enter college. According to the U.S. Department of Education, over 30 million adults lack a high school credential in the U.S.  Across the city, adult education providers report long waiting lists for their services. Yet, for the last ten years, national and local funding has continued to decline, with more cuts to come due to sequestration.

The need for adult education services is great. Your commitment to funding The Women's Foundation helps make life-changing programs, like the one Beverly participated in, possible. 

Adult education has been the easy target for cuts as we blame adults for squandering an opportunity as children – one that some would argue, given the life circumstance of many who drop out, never existed. The ramifications of continued funding cuts in adult education have begun to reveal themselves. The release of survey results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competency (PIAAC) in fall 2012 confirmed what many in adult education already knew: American adults are not doing well in literacy, numeracy or problem solving skills compared to other countries. The impact of low literacy extends beyond the adult with low skills. PIACC findings indicate that, more than any of the 24 nations participating in the survey, a U.S. parent’s literacy and socioeconomic status had the greatest impact on a child’s ability to succeed in school. Because of this, it is not surprising that U.S. results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA,  are also lagging. PISA is designed to test whether high school students can apply what they’ve learned in school to real-life problems.

When dealing with the drop-out crisis, elected officials often cite stopping the pipeline of dropouts as a justification for increased funding in K-12 education. The pipeline, however, begins with the parent. Parents with strong literacy skills can better help their children do homework, study and succeed in school. According to a 2012 Urban Institute report, young adults whose parents have a high school diploma are more likely to complete high school than are those whose parents do not. They are also less likely to live in poverty.

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Organization Information

Washington Area Women's Foundation

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat
Vice Presdient
Washington, DC United States