Wyoming Women’s Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder is based in Laramie, Wyoming, and supports causes for women and girls throughout the state. It is mostly concerned with boosting self-sufficiency and closing the wage gap.

FUNDING AREAS: Women, girls, self-sufficiency, wage gap

IP TAKE: Sign up for the funder’s newsletter to see if and when new grant opportunities come up. It’s affiliated with the Wyoming Community Foundation but awards its own grants.

PROFILE: Based in Laramie, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation (WYWF) was established in 1999 as a fund held at the Wyoming Community Foundation. WYWF makes grants and leads initiatives that benefit women, girls and communities in the state.

Over a period about 17 years, the funder supported 23 counties with 91 grants totaling at least $832,000. Goals of WYWF are self-sufficiency and closing the wage gap for women and girls in Wyoming. The state has the third-largest wage gap in the U.S., with women in some counties making less than 60 percent of what their male counterparts are paid. 

Meanwhile, one out of every 10 Wyoming households is living below the poverty level, and one out of every five households here is living below the self-sufficiency standard. WYWF approaches economic security for women in a few ways. It supports causes that secure the costs of daily basic needs, promotes an emergency savings fund and supports research into practices that help women support themselves. Extensive studies have been conducted about what self-sufficiency actually means to families of different shapes and sizes. The funder’s self-sufficiency calculator is used to establish goals and to inform its granting for optimal impact.

In true Wyoming fashion, the foundation established an antelope hunt for women in 2013 to promote mentorship and camaraderie. The idea, here, is that teaching women to hunt can help them feed their families and be more self-sufficient. Overall, the focus of this foundation has been more on the needs of women rather than typical girls-oriented funding areas like STEM education. Self-sufficiency has been the number one issue for this group in recent times.

Check the funder’s Initiatives page to learn about potential grant opportunities. The foundation actively seeks new donors to create funds and plan gifts. There are just two staff members: an executive director and a program associate. Otherwise, the funder is advised by a volunteer board composed of women from across the state. General questions can be called into 307-721-8300 or emailed to staff at sarah@wycf.org or rebekah@wycf.org.

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