About Us

Women Leaders Strengthening Economic Wellbeing

California women are bold, resourceful and smart and, if given an opportunity, will find solutions to the challenges facing their families and communities. All too often, the most complex and pervasive of these obstacles are rooted in economic insecurity.

That’s why the Women’s Foundation of California trains and invests in women to become policy advocates and philanthropic leaders who strengthen the economic wellbeing of California’s women and their families. We want to put an end to women living month-to-month and paycheck-to-paycheck, never knowing whether one financial setback—a trip to the emergency room, an unexpected car repair—will push them to the edge of poverty and homelessness.

For over 36 years we have been a leader and trusted partner, activating our extensive grassroots and statewide network to shape the policies, programs and attitudes that elevate women and their families.

A Secure and Just Future for All

We believe in a California where women and their families are economically healthy and secure—today and for generations to come. Economic security means a stable and safe place to live, comprehensive health insurance, enough to eat, reliable transportation, quality child care, access to education, job opportunities, fair wages and savings for emergencies and retirement.

Economic Wellbeing Matters

Women are half of our state and head two-thirds of our households as breadwinners or co-breadwinners. Yet the vast majority of California’s minimum wage workers are women and one-third of single mothers live in poverty. This has an enormous impact on the wellbeing and economic security of California’s children and families. Studies show that investing in women strengthens families and has the highest return for the health, education and general prosperity of entire communities.

Transformative Action Through Policy and Philanthropy

We equip women with the tools and resources they need to make a difference on the local and statewide levels, providing comprehensive training and ongoing opportunities for women to drive change toward economic security. The unique combination of our renowned Women’s Policy Institute and philanthropic Giving Circles position us as a catalyst for lasting change. 

POLICY. More effective than a single lobby group, our Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) amplifies the voices of women throughout the state, training them to be legislative advocates and connecting them with decision-makers to influence policy. WPI is a year-long program where women of diverse backgrounds and experiences are paired with a mentor and work in teams to implement important legislative projects. To date, WPI has trained more than 350 advocates and local leaders and helped pass 25 statewide laws improving health, safety and economic wellbeing.

Our advocacy efforts, however, go beyond capacity building and leadership development. We also serve as a trusted ally and strategic connector across the state, helping to build coalitions and create a comprehensive women’s policy agenda.  

PHILANTHROPY. Our Giving Circles are at the heart of our philanthropic culture. Giving Circles are composed of local philanthropists who know their communities, understand where their investments can make the most impact and create true partnerships with grantees. Through our hands-on approach to philanthropy, we provide financial management and grantmaking support, access to a community of donors and opportunities for education and training. Since 2000, our Giving Circles have collectively awarded $10.4 million to more than 500 nonprofit organizations.

Giving Circle grants are complemented by additional grants that we award to women’s rights organizations throughout the state. Together, these funding streams represent a powerful investment in the programs and people who strengthen the economic wellbeing of women and their families. However, unlike private foundations that can sustain their philanthropy from large endowments, we are a community foundation that relies on the ongoing generosity of individuals and institutions. We are proud to partner with donors and foundations to carry out our mission and create a strong, collaborative network of philanthropy.



300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 420
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: 510-740-2500
Fax: 510-740-2539