Our Story

Launched in the 1970’s

WFRI AdvocacyWe're About Equity!

Women's Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) invests in women and girls through research, advocacy, grant making and strategic partnerships designed to achieve gender equity through systemic change. Our work lays the foundation for a more equitable Rhode Island and has made our state a national leader in public policies that are good for women and families.

Our vision is a community, nation and world that is free of gender bias and where social justice exists for all. We are committed to creating a space where people are valued regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, national origin, or religious affiliation. We are committed to practicing intersectional feminism that acknowledges the complex relationships between systems of oppression and moving forward together towards a morally just and equitable society for everyone.

Our values include:

  • Access- Women and girls must have equal access to all opportunities, whether social, cultural, economic, educational, or political
  • Collaboration- Meaningful and long-lasting change comes from the combined efforts of diverse organizations and individuals
  • Equity- All people deserve fairness, impartiality, justice, and respect
  • Inclusion- The strength and sustainability of our community depends on its diversity
  • Transparency- WFRI is open, honest, direct, and accountable in its actions and communications

In 2021, in collaboration with our Board, staff, former and current Women's Policy Institute fellows and volunteers, WFRI created an antiracism statement and organizational expectations to improve our practices and ensure we also address racial equity through a gender lens. The statement and strategies can be accessed here.

Our Story

The Ms. Foundation for Women was the first national women’s fund, launched in the 1970’s. Today, hundreds of women’s funds operate throughout the United States and in countries around the world. Their shared purpose is to improve the lives of women and girls. What do they accomplish? A lot, including:

  • Adding millions of dollars each year to the pool of grant money available for the needs of women and girls.
  • Pushing for political change, using fresh, local and important data on the status of women and girls on key indicators such as health, economic stability, leadership and other measures.
  • Developing innovative solutions to address serious social needs.
  • Building a community of shared purpose.
  • Celebrating women by inspiring positive, hopeful views of the future while creating and safeguarding the well-being and potential of women and girls.

In 2001, the Rhode Island Foundation, together with founder Simone Joyaux, established a fund specifically for women and girls in Rhode Island. In 2005, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island became an independent charitable organization and has been working to create a more equitable state ever since. 

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