Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Roanoke Women's Foundation?

The RWF was founded to offer women in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas an avenue to become leaders in the field of philanthropy and to offer a model for collaborative giving in response to the needs of our community.  Our organization is based on a philanthropy model started in Seattle, Washington in 1995 and since replicated in other cities around the country.

Why was this group formed?

The RWF was founded because it is clear that women are more interested than ever in philanthropy and want to have a greater voice in where and how their contributions are spent. The RWF is open to women of all income levels who have an interest in aggregating smaller gifts in order to make significant impact grants to worthy organizations in the community.

Who founded the RWF?

The RWF was co-founded by Ginny Jarrett and Kandy Elliott who, along with 5 other founding board members, have been involved in numerous community organizations and have a firm commitment to philanthropy in our community. We are organized as a field of interest fund of Foundation for Roanoke Valley and, therefore, hold public charity status under FRV's 501(c)(3) umbrella.

Is there a limit to the membership?

The RWF is open to any woman who makes the commitment to support The RWF for three years at a level of $2100/year. Members have no other obligation than to fulfill the annual contribution and to participate in the voting process determining recipients of pooled fund grants.

Is this just an organization of women?

While membership is limited to women, grants will not be limited to women and girls as beneficiaries.

What are the areas of support?

The Board has determined that we will support venture, capital and operating needs within organizations focusing on:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health and Human Services

How are decisions made regarding organizations that will be supported?

The Foundation does not limit grant making to women and girls as beneficiaries. We look for critical needs, new ventures and innovative approaches to solving problems in the areas of arts and culture, education, the environment and health and human services. The grants committee, open to any interested members, thoroughly evaluates grant proposals and selects up to ten projects for the ballot. Ballots are sent to all members in the early fall.  The amount of money available to award from the RWF is directly proportional to the size of the membership. The projects selected for funding  reflect the diverse interests of the membership.

What are the core values of The RWF?

The Board has agreed on the following core values:

  • Membership is open to individual women only.
  • Membership is diverse.
  • Decision-making is democratic.
  • Every member is entitled to one vote.
  • Grants are made solely from members' contributions.
  • Grant-making is not limited to women and girls as beneficiaries.
  • Pooled fund grants are large impact grants.
  • There is no obligation to volunteer or participate in committee work.
  • The geographical reach of support will include: Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem, Vinton, Botetourt County, Craig County, Floyd County, and Franklin County.

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What is different about this foundation vs. what is being done with the Foundation for Roanoke Valley?

The RWF is one of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley's field of interest funds. We in no way see ourselves as competing with any other organization in the area. Rather, The RWF offers another method of making an impact in the community by extending the “ask” to any woman in the community who wants to be a part of a member-driven, pooled-fund grant making process.


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