Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

Why support Women?

Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

The writing is on the wall. When we invest in creating equitable opportunities for women to thrive with access to affordable child care, equal pay, education, health care and job training - stronger families, communities, and economies result. Helping those who face the steepest barriers to opportunity achieve economic security builds a more prosperous Colorado for generations to come. It’s only when all women thrive that we’ll all rise. 

Who Do We Mean by "Woman?"

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado believes any person identifying as a woman is a woman - regardless of gender expression. The concept that people fall into only two gender categories - women or men - causes harm and exclusion for those of us who do not “fit” into a gender binary and to those of us who do. The enforcement and expectation of this gender binary is both oppressive and rooted in histories of colonization. 

Women, in particular trans women, experience reduced economic opportunity, simply because of their gender identity. We believe in a future where Colorado women of every background and identity prosper. 

Find Out How We Invest in Women with Your Support:

 Investing in Women in the Workforce

When women are paid fairly, they are better able to save for retirement, cover their family’s expenses, and contribute to a stronger economy. The average earnings for women in Colorado who work full-time, year-round are still only 83% of men’s average earnings. Over a woman’s career this gap becomes a gorge. The gap is even wider for women of color: Black women typically make 67 cents for every dollar paid to white men. This gap amounts to a staggering loss of $907,680 over 40 years. The wage gap doesn’t just affect women: It drains children, families, neighborhoods, and communities of resources.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado work with our public policy partners and others to advocate for trailblazing equal pay legislation. Thanks to the Equal Pay for Equal Work act, passed in 2019 and strengthened and streamlined with legislation in 2023, Colorado leads the nation in pay transparency.
California, New York, Washington, and multiple cities followed our state’s leadership by passing similar laws. Now, an estimated 1 in 4 employees across the country is covered by pay transparency laws, which are key to closing persistent wage and wealth gaps.

 Investing In Women’s Financial Security

When women are paid a livable wage and have flexible cash funds to cover critical needs, they progress more quickly toward their personal career and financial goals. Cash transfer programs, especially when combined with other comprehensive supports, increase job security, provide an extra boost as people move out of poverty, positively impact health and nutrition, and even boost infant brain development.

More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, without funds to cover an unexpected expense. Women of all backgrounds and people of color are less likely to have emergency funds, even though women are more likely to need to take time off for caregiving purposes. As women try to advance their careers and provide for their families, unexpected expenses can quickly derail them, whether it’s a car that needs repairs or a medical bill.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s WINcome (Women + Income = Women Thriving) grantmaking program is built on transformational trust between WFCO and our partners, and trust in women. With the flexible cash assistance offered through WINcome’s grantee partners, women have agency to use dollars for whatever makes the most sense for them and their families. In an evaluation of WINcome’s first year, 96% of participants reported the positive impact of cash on meeting personal economic security goals, including building their careers by going back to school, securing reliable transportation, stabilizing housing, or saving money for the future. Long-term, the added financial stability made possible by flexible cash assistance pays dividends for Colorado women, their families, and their communities.

 Investing in Child Care

High-quality, affordable child care does more than provide a safe, caring environment for young children to learn and grow. It makes it possible for women to work, earn living wages to support their families, and contribute to their communities. But child care is extremely expensive, taking as much as half of a single parent’s income. The National Women’s Law Center estimates that by expanding access to affordable child care to all women who need such care 17% more women with young children would be able to work full time. Over a lifetime of earnings, a woman in Colorado would have an estimated $132,000 in increased wages, savings, and retirement benefits, dollars that would then boost our economy as a whole.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado continues to advocate for high-quality, affordable childcare and to bolster the early childhood workforce. Past wins include universal prekindergarten for all four-year-olds, which launched in fall 2023, and a 2021 bill designed to increase early childhood teacher salaries and retention. These strategies support women so that they can participate in the workforce, and ensure that the historically underpaid early childhood workforce, 94% of whom are women and 40% of whom are women of color, are able to pay their bills with their wages. 

 Investing in Women in Leadership

When women lead, our communities are stronger. UN Women’s comprehensive research about women’s status and leadership globally found that “where women were better represented in governments, and where feminist movements are stronger, crisis response was more gender-sensitive and effective for everyone.”

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s Women and Girls of Color Fund emerged from the knowledge that investing in women of color with nimble, flexible funds strengthens crucial leaders that our communities rely upon. 

Through The Women and Girls of Color Fund, our grantee partners used flexible general operating dollars to invest in wellness and development that strengthens their own ability to lead, in whatever way matters most to their work and leadership. Others nimbly and effectively met community needs by listening, taking action, and adjusting as needed, launching career development opportunities, and expanding services. Strong, diverse leaders deeply connected to community give more Coloradans the tools and resources to thrive.

 Investing in Women’s Advocacy

When women are part of decision-making processes and actively engaged in political leadership, legislation benefits us all and processes are strengthened, whether it’s in Colorado or across the globe. 

Women legislators are more often conscious of gender-related impacts of legislation and are more likely to introduce bills on issues that deeply impact women, families, and children, such as parental leave and health insurance. Though these issues have been perceived to be for women, equitable laws in paid parental leave, affordable child care, and health insurance benefit all Coloradoans. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, 50% of the Colorado General Assembly is made up of individuals who identify as women, which ranks Colorado as number #2 in the country for women in state legislatures. 

WFCO works with legislators, public policy partners, and our lobbyists to pass bills that create meaningful change for women. Our free Advocating4Impact trainings give participants tools to become more engaged in the legislative process and make an impact for Colorado women and families. We know that when women vote, women’s issues are prioritized! Through these trainings, hundreds of Coloradans have gained tools to inform and advance legislation and joined the movement to build more equitable systems and a stronger Colorado.

 Investing in Women and Healthcare

When women have access to supportive and comprehensive health care, they can better fulfill their responsibilities at work, home, and in their communities.

Data shows the cavern between men and women’s health care, from access to care to the ability to retain autonomy of their own bodies. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders than men. Women are more likely to have their symptoms ignored or dismissed by providers, and 25% of internal residency programs include no training in menopause while 30% include no training in contraception. Many of our grantee partners provide resources to improve Black maternal health outcomes and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado advocates for full access to reproductive health resources

Access to comprehensive family planning, including birth control and abortion care, is linked to higher wages for women, increased college attendance, and higher lifetime earnings. Birth control, abortion care, and access to gender-affirming health care are vital for all women in Colorado. 

 Investing in Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs are job creators and community revitalizers. In 2019, new businesses founded by women created 10 million jobs in the U.S. A recent piece in Forbes revealed that over 70% of women entrepreneurs are motivated to create businesses to make a difference in their community, with 40% of B-corporations in the U.S. owned and operated by women.

WFCO’s Women’s Impact Investing Giving Circle fuels visionary entrepreneurs with low-interest loans to projects, nonprofits, small businesses, and startups that are led by and in turn support women, from diverse-by-design preschools to maternity spas. Eventually, dollars are returned to the fund to be re-invested in new businesses in the future, boosting new women-led businesses, and Colorado’s economy, now and in the future. 

 Investing in Women and Philanthropy

Women’s philanthropy and generosity fuels nonprofit organizations in our state. Research from the University of Indiana’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute reveals that, across income, age, and life stage, women are more likely to donate their dollars than men, and donate more money. Seventy percent of participants in giving circles and other collective methods of giving are women, demonstrating that women recognize the exponential power in gathering with like-minded donors and combining their resources.

As our state’s only community foundation focused on protecting the progress and advancing women, we create opportunities for this generosity to strengthen the work of nonprofits and advocacy partners across our state. WFCO communities of giving, such as the Power of Extended Philanthropy (PEP) and Empowerment Council (EC), provide a steady funding stream for the foundation and provide members with knowledge about the power of collective philanthropy. We’re also proud to house collaborative, innovative community giving circles, such as the Sisterhood of Philanthropy Impacting Needs and the Women’s Impact Investing Giving Circle. 


How you can make a difference for women and their families

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