Washington Area Women’s Foundation Annual Leadership Luncheon

Photo credit: Lisa Helfert

It was just another Wednesday in the District as hundreds of well-dressed philanthropic ladies who lunch (and their dashing +1s) congregated at the Grand Hyatt Washington’s main ballroom to honor the standout board members, supporters, and awards recipients at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF) Annual Leadership Luncheon.

Celebrating its 15th year of providing support to women and girls in the Metro Washington, DC area, the WAWF hosts the luncheon as part of an awards ceremony. Drawing some of the city’s biggest names and personalities, the affair this year featured a big surprise: Mayor Vince Gray delivered an unscripted impromptu speech. Though initially filled with praise about organization, Gray’s remarks quickly devolved into fiery criticism about “partisanship,” a thinly veiled condemnation of the Republican party that seemed all too campaign-y for a event to commemorate the work of WAWF. He did, however, make an official proclamation to designate October 23rd as WAWF Day in the District, an exciting announcement for the organization that delighted the audience.

Washington Area Women’s Foundation is the only donor-supported, public foundation solely focused on
improving the lives of women and girls in the region by making sure they have the resources they need
to achieve economic security and thrive.  Founded in 1998, The Women’s Foundation launched the Visionary Awards this year to celebrate 15 years of serving the community.

The recipients were: Marion and Rick Ballard, Anne Mosle, and Sharon Williams.

Marion and Rick Ballard of Bethesda, MD were presented with the first Visionary Award by Carolyn Berkowitz, managing vice president of community affairs at Capital One, president of the Capital One Foundation and chair of The Women’s Foundation’s board of directors. Marion Scattergood Ballard is one of the founders of The Women’s Foundation, a former chair of the Foundation’s board, and is the longest consecutive donor to the Foundation, having given each year for the past 17 years. She is the founder of Dataplus, Inc. and currently serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Montgomery Women, Nurturing Minds, Inc., and the Levine School of Music.

Rick Ballard is a partner at Ballard Spahr, where he practices primarily in federal income tax matters relating to municipal bond issues. He came to the Washington area in 1978 to open the firm’s first office outside Philadelphia. He represents numerous nonprofit organizations on tax-exemption proceedings on a pro bono basis.

Anne Mosle is currently a vice president at the Aspen Institute and is the executive director of Ascend, a policy program at the Aspen Institute. She was the longest-serving president of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, leading the organization from 2000 to 2007. Under her leadership, the Foundation launched the Stepping Stones initiative, which became a model for grantmakers across the country. The Foundation also received its first million dollar gift while Mosle was president. The grant was initiated by Stacey D. Stewart, who was president and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation at the time. Stewart presented Mosle with her Visionary Award.

Sharon Williams is a nurse at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. She received her nursing certification at Prince George’s Community College, a Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner. After struggling with divorce and being a single parent, Williams went to Prince George’s Community College to get the credentials she needed for a job with good wages that would enable her to care for her children. After receiving her certification, she became a nurse and received a scholarship to earn her bachelor’s degree. Next year, she will pursue a master’s.

Washington Area Women’s Foundation is a DC-based public foundation dedicated to mobilizing our community to ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in the Washington region have the resources they need to thrive. Learn more about The Women’s Foundation’s mission to transform the lives of women and girls, the Washington region, and the world by visiting us online, on Facebook or on Twitter. 

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