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Women’s Foundation opens new headquarters

In 2022, the Women’s Foundation secured over $700,000 for organizations serving women in 21 counties.

Bridgeforth cuts the ribbon Samuel Stettheimer

The Women’s Foundation of Alabama — a philanthropy, research, and advocacy organization that aims to accelerate gender equity and economic opportunities for women — opened its new headquarters in Birmingham on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house in the new space.

The roughly 5,000 square foot office at 2213 1st Avenue South, neighboring Birmingham’s Rotary Trail, is the next step in an expansion effort that, beginning in 2021, transformed the Women’s Fund of Alabama, a regional organization founded in 1996, into the now statewide Women’s Foundation.

“This expanding space and endless possibility renews our pledge to work relentlessly for fulfilling our mission,” Dawn Helms Sharff, the Women’s Foundation board chair, said. “Today, we not only open this new space officially, but we also open a new chapter of hope and empowerment for women across our state.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured comments from Sharff, President and CEO Melanie Bridgeforth, one founder of the Women’s Fund Cameron Vowell, and Dean of Workforce at Jefferson State Community College Leah Bigbee. Around 100 people — including donors, partners, and board members — attended the event.

“Today was incredible. We had a tremendous outpouring of support from our folks who showed up,” Rachel Bunning, vice president for external affairs, said. “For us, it’s a larger space, we can convene more women around the things that are impacting them and they care about. It’s a community driven space where we can really accelerate the work that we’re doing.”

In 2022, the Women’s Foundation secured over $700,000 for organizations serving women in 21 counties. They lobbied for four successful legislative actions, including $40 million spent on pre-k and child care programs. Through the Women’s Policy Institute, they graduated 24 fellows learning grassroots advocacy.

“The sign, this building, and the work that is already taking place inside stands as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path toward an equitable future. This is a place of safety, comfort, and affirmation where every woman who walks through those doors knows she is valued and has the support she needs to reach her potential,” Sharff said.

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Samuel Stettheimer is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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