Our History

In September 1995, Colleen Willoughby and four other visionary women established the Washington Women’s Foundation, enabling women to pool their financial resources to make large high-impact gifts to improve our community, while developing their skills as philanthropists. The approach was innovative and appealing and attracted over 100 Seattle-area women to be founding members. They studied the needs of the community and awarded their first pooled grant of $100,000 in 1996 to Mothers Against Violence in America.

Today, the Foundation has over 500 members, and the grant committee reviews more than 250 Letters of Inquiry annually. Since 1996, our members together have invested millions of dollars in hundreds of nonprofit organizations.  The concept of giving together allows more individuals to participate in philanthropy and provides members the opportunity to leverage their single gift with others for maximum benefit to their communities.

Click here to learn more about our grantmaking history.