The Foundation empowers women aspiring to lead through education, mentoring and networking.


The WNY Women’s Foundation Women’s Opportunity Network (WON) program strives to cultivate, inspire and empower young women (ages 24-40) to become leaders in our community, particularly in the burgeoning nonprofit sector. Women’s Opportunity Network consists of a network of young and mid-career professionals who represent a new generation of leaders.  The WON assists in advancing the cause of economic empowerment of girls and women.

The next-generation workforce is needed to fill a documented leadership gap in the nonprofit sector due to the huge growth of the nonprofit sector, as well as the retirement of nonprofit leaders from the Baby Boomer generation. According to The Millennial Leadership Study (2015), conducted by Virtuali and WorkplaceTrends.com, 91% of Millennials aspire to be leaders, and the top reason for a Millennial wanting to become a leader is to empower others.

The Foundation will empower and engage young women in our community through education, experience, mentoring and networking in the Women’s Opportunity Network program. Young women participating in this volunteer enrichment program live or work in Erie or Niagara County and will reflect the diversity of our community. The program commits to ongoing learning opportunities in nonprofit governance, leadership, advocacy, and awareness of barriers and opportunities for women and girls in WNY. Mentoring and networking connections with the WNYWF Board of Directors and Emeritae Advisory Board will be an integral part of the experience.