A note from President & CEO Melanie R. Bridgeforth 


“Alabama is at a crossroads. Unleashing the potential of women will ensure they are an integral part of the economy and represented at decision-making tables from neighborhood associations to corporate boardrooms to the state house.”

These are my words from a recent feature on Women’s Voices by Reckon, but they bear repeating. Women are nearly 52% percent of Alabama’s population but are 100% essential to the state’s future prosperity. Yet they continue to face barriers created by antiquated policies and systems that result in unequal outcomes in virtually every area of life.

Now more than ever, The Women’s Fund’s trifecta approach of targeted philanthropy, research, and advocacy is essential.  

Recently, I was asked if grantmaking would remain one of our core strategies in light of our heightened legislative success. My answer was and is simply: AlwaysThe pendulum of justice requires both—philanthropy and advocacy.

As I write, we are strategically evaluating grant applications for programs and statewide public policy advocacy that build economic opportunity for women.

The total amount of funding requested this year is the largest in our history, an indication that more organizations “get” the importance of intentionally prioritizing gender equity and see The Women’s Fund as a key ally.

All of this makes me think: “What is the role of philanthropy? Who is considered a philanthropist? How can we redefine both?”

A recent report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute found that common perceptions of who society sees as a “philanthropist” are being challenged as never before. In response, they created a campaign to change the stereotypes around who is and can be a philanthropist (hint: it’s you!).

You have the power to direct your resources and giving to and through women. 

The Women’s Fund was founded to serve the community in exactly that way. When we combine this power of truly collective giving with gender-focused investment strategies, I have no doubt we will build an Alabama where all women thrive.

Women forward,

Melanie R. Bridgeforth, MSW
President & CEO


This originally appeared in our summer e-newsletter. To join our mailing list, click here.

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