Founding Mothers and Organizations
Women's Funding Alliance (WFA) was formed in 1983 as a way to enable women's and girls' organizations to raise money through workplace giving campaigns. WFA became the second women's federation in the country and one of the first alternative workplace giving options in the Northwest. At that time, non-profit agencies only had access to workplace campaigns through United Way. Our founding mothers—the executive directors of WFA's five founding organizations—thought that forming a federation focused on women and girls would help them build an ongoing revenue stream.
WFA's five founding organizations included: Aradia Women's Health Center, Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (currently FaithTrust Institute), Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and Seattle Rape Relief.
Women's Funding Alliance Through the Years
WFA hired its first executive director, Dyan Oldenburg in 1984. One year later, the inaugural workplace allocations were distributed as WFA's federation was admitted into the Combined Fund Drive (Washington State) for the first time.
Five years after its inception, WFA helped co-found the Coalition for Charitable Choice, an alliance of workplace federations. Around that time, Karen Campbell became WFA's second executive director.
WFA marched into its second decade by starting The Community Fund which kicked off an expanded grantmaking program open to non-federation organizations serving women and girls. Dian Ferguson becomes the third executive director and, in 1995, WFA distributes its one-millionth dollar!
LeAnne Moss was hired as executive director in 1996, at a time when there was a dramatic increase in WFA's workplace allocations to its member organizations. WFA's growth continued and now, 15 years after it's founding, it was time for the organization to re-evaluate its mission and purpose and infuse the organization with new energy and more creative approaches to effect social change. By year end, the board decided on a new vision and structure for WFA. One significant shift was a new commitment to developing partnerships to advocate for and support women's issues.
In 2001, WFA expanded its federation dramatically by adding 10 new organizations. In that same year, WFA published a Directory of Organizations Serving Women & Girls.
WFA's first Donor Circle, The Ripple Fund, was launched in 2004. This was also the year that WFA conducted a feasibility study to test an Advancement Campaign. In the following year WFA kicked off a 3-year Advancement Campaign to build organizational capacity and to launch an unprecedented research project, A Closer Look, on the status of women and girls in the Puget Sound region.
In 2006, LeAnne Moss was selected by Puget Sound Business Journal as a Woman of Influence which coincided with her 10th anniversary as executive director. The following year, WFA unveiled A Closer Look in the summer of 2007 and followed this with a series of community forums to gain feedback on the study. The board began a process of establishing priority areas based on the status study. The first grants in response to A Closer Look were distributed in the area of civic engagement and leadership development in the spring of 2008.
In 2009, WFA participated in the Women Moving Millions campaign led by the Women’s Funding Network’s, securing three $1M pledges. Additionally, WFA was honored as an Outstanding Philanthropic Organization by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for National Philanthropy Day. In 2010, WFA developed a theory of change and strategic plan to drive the organization’s grantmaking and program development efforts in the years ahead. Economic opportunity was identified as a lead grantmaking priority, and at least half of WFA’s grant dollars will be invested in this issue area over the next five years.