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.

Depending on when I join, will I be eligible to vote on this year's grants?

We welcome women to join at any time during the year, and those whose membership donation is paid by September 1 are eligible to vote on that year's grant recipients.  Those who choose to join after this deadline are still considered full members, are welcome to attend the Awards Luncheon in the latter part of the year, and can participate in other events and committees as they wish.

How many events are planned each year for the entire membership?  Are there additional fees associated with the Awards Luncheon or other events?

The Awards Luncheon is free for RWF members and their invited guests.  The other major event we hold is the Power of the Purse, generally held in May.  That is when we hear mid-year reports from the grantees about how their projects are progressing with the money we have given them.  There are no fees associated with this event either.

Explain the RWF fee structure and how payments can be made.

The membership fee structure includes $2000 to a fund that is only used for grants and $100 for our annual operating expenses.  We budget very carefully so that the cost of the Awards Luncheon and the Power of the Purse is covered by the $100 administrative fee.  After paying the $2100 annual membership donation, there are no other required fees.

Membership donations may be made on an annual, semi-annually, or quarterly basis, and we accept payments by check, credit card, and stock transfer.  (See the JOIN page for additional information.)


RWF occasionally uses photos of people and groups on the website and in publications.  Those objecting to the use of their photos should so inform the RWF.

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