<h1>Blog & News</h1>
May 10, 2012

History in the Making: Sixteen Years of Growth and Success

by Abigail Coleman

Women's Fund was founded in 1996 and celebrated our sixteenth anniversary last week, including a celebration with past and current board members, which I shared about in my last post. Although I have only been engaged for a relatively short time as a staff member at Women's Fund for the last four years, it has been fun to learn about and revisit some key moments. View a detailed history of our first ten years, or read on for highlights from all sixteen years:

1996-1999: Diane Brashear, Advisory Board Chair


  • Bates USA Midwest developed award-winning marketing campaign pro bono
  • Second Women's Fund dinner - 1,100 in attendance


  • Women's Fund hires first Director, Jennifer Pope Baker
  • Three study groups formed: economic empowerment, health, and self-development


2000-2001: Jane Schlegel, Advisory Board Chair

  • OPTIONS created
  • GO: Girls Outreach created (now GO: Give Back)
  • First newsletter, Women's Fund Focus, published


  • Fourth Women's Fund dinner raises $1.6 million

2002-2003: Yvonne Shaheen, Advisory Board Chair

  • First operating grants distributed
  • First Donor Connection event
  • OPTIONS Alumnae created
  • First OPTIONS scholarships distributed


  • Operations and governance planning
  • Still on Shaky Ground published
  • Johnson Grossnickle & Associates hired to conduct historical assessment and campaign feasibility study

2004-2005: Wendy Yerkes, Advisory Board Chair

  • First Power of Girls event
  • Finance and Partners Committees created


2006-2007: Karen Gentleman, Advisory Board Chair

  • Endowment campaign announced
  • Women's Fund endowment reaches $10 million
  • Three bold and transformative grants, $150,000 each, are announced
  • $1 million gift and match from the Lilly Endowment announced
  • Still on Shaky Ground - 2006 published


  • GO: Girls Outreach becomes GO: Give Back as funds for boys are first established
  • Women's Fund meets Lilly Endowment match
  • Organizations central to women and girls in central Indiana are funded to create organizational sustainability plans

2008-2009: Julie Davis, Advisory Board Chair

  • First GO: Give Back Family Philanthropy Day hosted
  • Women's Fund office moves from the English Foundation Building downtown to the Women's Fund IPL House at CICF's Broad Ripple campus
  • Wee Ones Nursery opened at Indiana Women's Prison with funding from Women's Fund
  • WF Society created


  • Women's Fund creates emergency fund for organizations in financial distress
  • Endowment campaign ends

2010-2011: Ann Murtlow, Advisory Board Chair


When I look at this list, I am amazed. We have been able to accomplish so many great things thanks mainly to the visionary leadership of our Advisory Board and our generous donors. Thank you for your support now - and for the next sixteen years!

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