When our founding mothers – Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine, Letty Cottin-Pogrebin and Marlo Thomas, established the Ms. Foundation in 1973, they introduced the then-revolutionary idea that women themselves could provide leadership, support and solutions to the most pressing issues our country faced.
Since then, we have evolved with the larger feminist movement and continue to move culture, policy and society in new and positive directions.
Explore All Highlights and Milestones
Transforming Philanthropy, Prioritizing Women and Girls of Color
Stemming from the Pocket Change study, the Ms. Foundation convened a Women’s Council of Indigenous leadership to understand how such funding discrepancies are a direct byproduct of colonization and institutional systems, identify vital funding needs for Native women, and how to shift the philanthropic paradigm to one that prioritizes Native communities.
The Ms. Foundation released our landmark Pocket Change report which revealed that the total philanthropic giving to women and girls of color is just $5.48 per year for each woman or girl of color in the U.S., accounting for just 0.5% of the total $66.9 billion given by foundations.
Building Power, Advancing Democracy
We released a new strategic plan which centered our grantmaking and advocacy structure to invest — inclusively, and intentionally — in women and girls of color as a means to create social, cultural, and economic equity for all genders.
Launched national #MyFeminismIs campaign to paint a broad, inclusive and intersectional picture of what feminism is – which is, “the social, economic and political equality of ALL genders.”
Current President and CEO, Teresa C. Younger, joined the organization
Speaking Out on Child Sexual Abuse
With a national spotlight on the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal, the Ms. Foundation is recognized and cited by the national media as a leading voice on preventing child sexual abuse.
Shedding Light on the “Womancession”
We commissioned a national poll to explore the effects of the economic downturn on women. The survey reveals that—contrary to conventional wisdom—women are feeling the impact of the recession more acutely than men. Low-income women are in the most precarious situation, the survey reveals.
Improving Sexuality Education
Grantees of our Sexuality Education Advocacy Initiative (SEAI) have policy wins in six key states, including passage of the Washington State Healthy Youth Act; mandated comprehensive sexuality education in New Mexico and California; and Montana’s and New Mexico’s rejection of federal abstinence-only money. Created in 2005, SEAI bolsters support for state-based organizations and coalitions and strengthens the sexuality education movement nationwide.
Creating Hope from Disaster
We formed the Katrina Women’s Response Fund (KWRF) to support immediate needs after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and to offer ongoing support for grassroots women’s leadership. The fund prioritizes ensuring the full participation of low-income women and women of color in policymaking decisions. In total, we deliver nearly $3 million to over 40 community-based organizations.
Advocating for Women’s Health
With our support, National Women and AIDS Collective (NWAC) is created by Ms. Foundation grantees. NWAC is the country’s first national policy coalition led by and for women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Today an independent entity, NWAC advances policy solutions at the CDC, the White House and other key decision-making tables nationwide.
Gaining National Recognition
The Ms. Foundation receives a Presidential Award for Excellence to recognize the success of the Collaborative Fund for Women and Economic Development. Since its establishment in 1986, the CFWED has leveraged over $12 million in support of grassroots women’s organizations to promote women’s economic security.
Supporting Women with HIV/AIDS
We create the Women and AIDS Fund, the first national fund solely dedicated to supporting community-based advocacy led by and for women living with HIV/AIDS. Our support in this critical area helps create and sustain a national Women and HIV/AIDS movement.
The Ms. Foundation creates Take Our Daughters To Work® Day, one of the most successful national public education campaigns ever launched. It achieved its goal in making girls visible, valued and heard in the workplace, became known to 8 out of 10 people across the U.S., and now involves 35 million participants each year.
Protecting Reproductive Rights
We begin investing in local and state organizing for reproductive health and rights led by and for low-income women and women of color. Over the next two decades, our support enables groups to connect reproductive health and rights to a range of social justice issues and build a diverse movement that will meet all women’s needs.
Encouraging Economic Independence
At a time when “women” and “economic development” are rarely used in the same sentence, we created the Collaborative Fund for Women and Economic Development (CFWED).
Defending Women’s Safety
We were one of the first funders of domestic violence shelters and sexual-assault hotlines and were early leaders in supporting violence prevention, making us early leaders in supporting violence prevention.