Established in 1995, WFGM is one of the fastest growing women’s foundations in the country that is dedicated to securing and granting funds to programs that enable women and their families to become economically stable. We are considered to be on the leading edge of economic and community development focused on moving families living at or below the poverty level above the lines toward economic security. Building on what we have learned over the past 19 years, we collaborate with stakeholders from across the city to coordinate strategies to reduce poverty in Memphis. Our vision is for Memphis to become a city of choice, where poverty decreases as educational attainment, wages, business partnerships and inclusion increase.
The mission of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.
The Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis is the agent for change committed to a community of well-being and prosperity, where women live in sufficiency, strength, and safety, sharing their leadership and empowering their children.
We practice stewardship of financial and human resources.
We value the leadership and contributions of women in our community.
We value racial, ethnic, economic, religious, educational, social status and gender diversity in our community.
We seek to understand the complexity and depth of the many barriers preventing many women from reaching and/or maintaining economic self-sufficiency.
We value the independence, self-reliance and interdependence of all women as they strive to reach and/or maintain economic self-sufficiency.
The Women’s Foundation demonstrates formidable leadership through our presence, impact and commitment to creating a greater Memphis. The Board of Directors and Trustees is comprised of philanthropic women leaders – representing diverse sectors of the community from business to community volunteerism – who are highly engaged through their time, influence and financial support. More than 400 women volunteer annually and share their expertise to strengthen WFGM programs and special events. The Women’s Foundation’s model of leadership influences multiple generations and creates powerful advancement opportunities for women and girls throughout Memphis.
Women’s Foundation Legends Award
Started in 2009, the Women’s Foundation Legends Award was created to pay tribute to innovative women whose work embodies the mission of the Women’s Foundation. WFGM has applauded 32 legendary honorees whose vision and influence have created a better community through their passion for education, the arts, philanthropy, advocacy, social justice and civil rights.
Youth Leadership Forum
The Youth Leadership Forum encourages high school girls to envision themselves as future philanthropists and leaders and introduces them to role models from varied backgrounds.
Young Women Philanthropists (YWP)
YWP is focused on educating, empowering, and training the next generation of philanthropic women leaders through active participation in fundraising. We are training today to fill the shoes of the more experienced philanthropists tomorrow.
Women's Initiative Think Tank (WITT)
The Women's Initiative Think Tank (WITT) is a collaboration of women from nearly 15 local corporate women's initiative groups. Our mission is to identify and address issues impacting career women across the city and to promote their advancement through advocacy and education.
As a foundation, we both raise money and give it away. Since 1996, WFGM has awarded $7.2 million to 420 programs. We support more than 30 local non-profits each year with grant awards of over $600,000. This past year we invested $625,000 in 29 programs that serve 17,000 women and children. These programs were selected based on recommendations from Grants Committee volunteers committed to our vision of economic self-sufficiency and stability for families. WFGM’s unique model of effectively allocating funding resources is the cornerstone to establishing engaged partnerships with local agencies.
The Women’s Foundation collaborates locally, regionally, and nationally to help ensure the problems faced by women in poverty are at the center of efforts to improve our community. The Women’s Foundation joined the City of Memphis as a partner to implement the Family Rewards program. Family Rewards is a national poverty-reducing initiative replicated through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) that offers incentives to low income families who take actions that lead to better health, education, and employment outcomes.
The Women’s Foundation was also selected as one of six women’s funds by the Walmart Foundation to join its Partnership for Women’s Prosperity. The additional funding allows WFGM to support local organizations and unites us in a national collaborative that shares best practices and finds scalable solutions to systemic problems facing women and families.
The Women’s Foundation also works with local, state and national policy makers to ensure the voices of women in poverty are heard and that funding is provided to address their needs. WFGM also partners with these initiatives and organizations:
- Women’s Economic Security Campaign
- Women’s Funding Network
- Blueprint for Prosperity
- Center for Research on Women
- Tennessee Women’s Funding Alliance
Memphis HOPE® brings us together with a national non-profit (Urban Strategies), the federal government (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and the City (Memphis Housing Authority). Together we support families who have moved out of public housing and have begun new lives in three revitalized mixed-income communities – University Place, Legends Park and the current redevelopment project – Cleaborn Pointe.
WFGM was a transformational catalyst in helping change the lives of families in public housing by linking public-private partnerships with the City of Memphis, Memphis Housing Authority (MHA), private stakeholders, developers, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Urban Strategies. Since 2004, WFGM has raised and invested $7.7 million for Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE, a public-private partnership that provides comprehensive, personalized case management for more than 2,654 current and former public housing residents.
Research and Advocacy
WFGM also supports research on issues that affect women in the greater Memphis area and then acts as a catalyst for strengthening the community by building on these research findings.