Women’s Bar Association Foundation
The December Member Spotlight shines on the Women’s Bar Association Foundation.
The Women’s Bar Association Foundation’s mission is to leverage the generosity of lawyers and friends to support nonprofits that serve the legal and related needs of women and girls in the DC Metropolitan community.
About the Organization:
The WBA Foundation was founded in 1981 with the intention of supporting and serving the legal needs of women and girls in the DC Metropolitan area. To further their mission of supporting girls and women, the WBA Foundation supports community non-profit organizations in the D.C. Metropolitan area through their annual grant program.
Along with their grant program, the WBA Foundation also offers their Founders Fellowship which is awarded annually each year to one of six area law schools. The Fellowship is used to support a student who is pursuing a public interest summer internship to advance the legal interests of women and children. You can view the recipients of the Founders Fellowship and more information here.
Grants and Charitable Activities:
The Women’s Bar Association Foundation offers several grant opportunities, programs and awards.
The first is the Champion Award. This is an annual award of recognition and appreciation given to a long-time devoted supporter and champion of the WBA Foundation. It is awarded at the WBA Foundation’s annual Grant Awards Ceremony, during which the WBA Foundation presents grants to DC-based non-profits that support the legal and related needs of women and girls in DC. WBA Foundation presented its inaugural Champion Award in 2022 to Marjorie O’Connell, a founding member of the Foundation who served as its first president, from 1981-1983, and who remains actively engaged with the WBA Foundation. You can read more about the Champion Award here.
Next is the Board Grantee Ambassador Program. In order to further support its grantees in the good work that they do on behalf of women and girls in DC and to foster a sense of community between the WBA Foundation and its grantees, individual members of the WBA Foundation board of directors sign up to serve as an “ambassador” to the broader board for a designated grantee. In their role, ambassadors do things such as circulate information about grantee needs (for example, pro bono counsel) and fundraising efforts, trying to raise the profile of the grantees. Ambassadors also engage directly with the grantees by attending their events, inviting them to participate in events in the broader legal community and asking them to submit content for a profile on the WBA Foundation website.
For more than two decades, the WBA Foundation has been hosting their Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, which is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser! However, WBA Foundation, like so many others, had to pivot in 2020 in response to the global pandemic and transition this very popular in-person event to a virtual format, something that had never even been considered before. Through the tremendous effort of the WBA Foundation board and its hard-working staff, WBA Foundation created an unforgettable and hugely successful virtual wine tasting, with the wine selection and food pairings delivered directly to registrants’ door steps the day before the on-line sommelier-led event. The auction was also transitioned to an online event and opened days before the wine tasting to increase interest. WBA Foundation has maintained this virtual format through 2022, breaking attendance and fundraising records each year. However, they fully expect it to be back in person next year. You can view any of WBA’s upcoming events here.
As for their grants, each year, WBA Foundation produces a video highlighting the work of each grantee for that year. The video is available on the website and is broadcast during events like the joint Association/Foundation Annual Dinner and the Wine Tasting & Silent Auction fundraiser. This year’s video can be found here.
The following graphic provides insight as to how the WBA Foundation grantees are using their grant money to support women and girls in DC. It can also be viewed on their website here.
Staff and Leadership:
The WBA Foundation Leadership Team consists of 20 Board of Directors members. You can see their full Leadership Team here.