About Us

The Women’s Fund is changing the lives of women and girls right here in our community because of your support.

We appreciate the generosity and kindness that you continue to show. Together we are making a difference.

The Women’s Fund exists to enrich the lives of women and girls so they can do the same for others.

Vision Statement

The Women’s Fund exists to encourage the advancement and full participation of women and girls in society by promoting their full range of choices and to fund projects in the community which:

  • Foster an impact on attitudes and actions that benefit women and girls
  • Promote opportunity, health and self-sufficiency for women
  • Encourage women and girls to develop as philanthropists

History: 20 Years Supporting Women and Children in the Coulee Region

1998 – Signe Schroeder and Roberta Gelatt create The Women’s Fund within the La Crosse Community Foundation.

September 1998 – The first Fall Luncheon is held with Carol Gilligan, chair of Gender Studies at Harvard, speaking on “The Validity and Value of Women’s Voices.”

1999 – The Women’s Fund endowment is established through a challenge grant by the La Crosse Community Foundation. The total grant is $19,000. This grant continues today and the earnings are used for the yearly grant distributions.

1999 – The Women’s Fund awards its first grants totaling $2000.

2003 – First Artist of the Year Award presented to Eileen Daily for her artwork inspired by the Women’s Fund’s “helping others bloom” theme.

2005 – The Women’s Fund receives a bequest from the estate of Roberta Zurn and creates the Roberta Zurn Women in Leadership Award. The first winner is June Kjome, missionary, nurse and social activist.

2010 – The Women’s Fund establishes itself as its own nonprofit organization.

2013 – The Women’s Fund hosts its first Spring Fling to celebrate what unites us as women.

September 2013 – The Women’s Fund hires its first Executive Director to support the organization’s continuing growth.

2015 – The Women’s Fund creates a quasi-endowment to ensure the organization’s ability to provide grants in perpetuity.

2017 – The Women’s Fund distributes the largest amount of grant money in its history – $52,800.

2018 – The Women’s Fund celebrates 20 years of supporting women and children in our community.

2018 Board Members

Reggi Johnson, President

Amy Every, Vice President

Brenda Stuhr, Treasurer

Mary Ann Gschwind, Secretary

Darla Krzoska, Past President

Eileen Carns

Sue Dillenbeck

Flo Aliesch

Jen Jones

Kenna Christians

Erica Rytilahti

Ruthann Schultz

Cheryl Neubauer

Ilene Kernozek

Barb Kruse

 

Media Spotlights

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. What is the Women’s Fund?

A. The Women’s Fund established an endowment in 1998 within the La Crosse Community Foundation. It is a partnership of donors, grantees and volunteers working to support programs for women and girls. The Women’s Fund:

  • Fosters an impact on attitudes and actions that benefit women and girls
  • Promotes opportunity, health and self-sufficiency for women
  • Encourages women and girls to develop as philanthropists

 

Q. What is an endowment?

A. An endowment lasts forever and allows for your gift to keep on giving…and giving…and giving. An endowment is a fund of money (like a never-ending, always-growing savings account) that is set aside PERMANENTLY. Its assets are invested for the purpose of earning and providing income for generations to come! Think of the interest you’d earn on your own savings account and then think about a large savings account that grows into many thousands of dollars. It is these perpetual earnings, derived from the monies invested in the endowment that allow us to provide annual dollars through grants to non-profit programs. And, of course, when the endowment grows (through your generous gifts), so do the earnings accrued for dispersal.

Q. What is a named fund?

A. Under the umbrella of the Women’s Fund, donors can create named funds to improve the lives of women and girls through the grants allocated by the Women’s Fund Board. You can start your own named fund with just $1,000. The named fund will begin to generate dividends after it has reached $10,000. This fund can be established over a period of 10 years.

Q. Why target programs for women?

A. Our goal is to increase the financial resources available to programs for women and girls in our region now and in the future. Despite the dramatic advancement of women in recent decades, women are still far more likely than men to be homeless, live in poverty, be unemployed or under-employed, face violence, or live in substandard housing and have inadequate health care. We will work to increase literacy, prevent violence, promote social, educational, physical, and emotional health and well-being; and encourage artistic and personal growth and economic self-sufficiency for women of all ages.

21 million of the 37 million Americans living in poverty are women. More than 4 million of those women are single mothers, heading more than half of all poor American families (Census Bureau, 2006)
Women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, the gap is even worse – African American women earn $.71 and Latinas $.58 (IWPR and others 2007)
Women are 45% more likely than men to live in poverty (Census Bureau, 2007)

Q. Is the Women’s Fund one-of-a-kind?

A. The Women’s Fund of Greater La Crosse is part of a fast-growing national movement. In recent years, more than 105 women’s funds have been created, representing assets of more than $96 million and grant making of almost $13 million. Currently in Wisconsin, there are Women’s Funds established in Appleton, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Oshkosh.

Q. How can I support the Women’s Fund?

A. There are many ways to donate.

  • Attending events to learn more and to volunteer.
  • An on-line gift: To make an on-line donation, click “donate” above, enter the amount you want to donate. You can either sign in to your PayPal account or if you do not have a PayPal account, click the “continue” link which is found on the bottom left-hand side of your screen and fill in your credit card information. All information is private and secure.
  • Check: Mail your check to the Women’s Fund of Greater La Crosse, P.O. Box 654, La Crosse, WI 54602-0654. Please indicate if this is an honorary or memorial gift. If you provide the person’s name and address as well as a message you would like to include, we will send a Helping Others Bloom card and how you would like your name signed.
  • Gifts of cash: A cash gift is the simplest way to establish a named fund or to add to an existing fund.

You may want to consider giving through:

  • Bequests
  • Stocks, Bonds and Securities
  • Life Insurance
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Pension Plan Beneficiaries