20th Anniversary Timeline

In 2019, we celebrated 20 years of creating a culture of possibility where every woman and girl can live, grow, and lead to her fullest potential.

Our history

Cheers to 20 Years


Founded by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo as the WNY Women’s Fund.


First Investments made to Fillmore Leroy Area Residents (Teaching and Restoring Youth), UB School of Social Work (Girls in Charge), Parents Anonymous (On My Way), and Homespace Corporation (Buds in Full Blossom), totaling $15,595.


First Fall in Fashion held at the Buffalo Club with 254 guests in attendance raising $20,000.


First What She’s Made Of with keynote speaker Olympia Dukakis held at Kleinhan’s Music Hall with 450 guests in attendance, raising $47,000.

When asked why the event was so
important, Olympia Dukakis said:
“Because of what they intend to
accomplish! The WNY Women’s Fund reaches out to Buffalo and WNY women, to relieve their terrible burdens and strains.”


Pathways to Progress Volume 1 released to answer the question: “If I had one dollar to invest in WNY women and girls, where should that investment be made?”


The WNY Women’s Foundation is officially established as a 501(c)3.


Inaugural Pathways to Progress Speaker Series.

Say Yes After School Incubator Process began.

WNYWF Advocacy efforts launched.


MOMs: From Education to Employment® launched at NCCC.

After School Network strategic plan funded.


Impact Grants initiative launched.

YPQI Professional Development conducted for afterschool providers.

Pat Garman Torch Circle established with $120,000 legacy gift from Pat Garman’s estate.

BNMC Early Childhood Education Strategy convened 50 experts.


MOMs reached 234 mothers in first 5 semesters!

WoMen IN ACTION initiative launched.


Paid Family Leave legislation passed in New York State.

Buffalo Public Schools began afterschool programming in all schools due to WNYWF efforts.

Winning Beginnings NY Steering Committee appointment.

Kellogg Foundation and Aspen Institute partnership on 2-Gen programs.

Facilitated enrollment child care subsidy secured for Erie County providing essential supports for working mothers.


Pathways to Progress Volume 2 released.

Increased face-to-fact meetings with legislators 39%.

MOMs: From Education to Employment expanded to SUNY Erie.

SOPHI All Star Award recognized WNYWF impact on WNY health and wellness.


ALL IN initiative launched.

What If WNY campaign launched to build intrigue and drive action.

MOMs: From Education to Employment expanded to JCC.

Community Civic Engagement Effort: voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote efforts with 65 community organizations.

Partnered with Senator Kennedy for East Side Single MOMs club.

Child care part of workforce development state-wide dialogue due to WNYWF.


New York State Child Care Task Force appointment.

CORE – WNYWF convened partnership with five organizations on the East Side to drive workforce systems change.

First Jeanette Rankin Foundation scholarships awarded to MOMs students.