Michigan Women's Foundation

History of Michigan Women Forward

How it all began...

In 1986, Mary Jo Pulte gathered a group of prominent Michigan women to discuss philanthropy and the serious inequities in charitable giving to women’s programs. At that time, only 3% of philanthropic dollars supported programs specifically for women and girls in the United States. Women were underrepresented in philanthropy, uneducated in financial matters and disinclined to exercise control over assets. The 30 women Mary Jo brought together founded Michigan Women’s Foundation, the only public, statewide foundation specifically devoted to the economic self-sufficiency and personal well-being of the state's women and girls.

MWF’s earliest leadership, its founding mothers, were Julia Darlow, Geri Larkin, Lana Pollack, Patricia Curran, Marjorie Peebles-Meyers (deceased), Sharon George, Mildred Jeffrey (deceased), Sarah Power (deceased), Maureen Reilly, Helen Milliken, Tessie Sharp and Glenda Greenwald.

We owe the amazing future before us today to them!

As the saying goes, ‘we’ve come a long way, baby’ with over 11,000 individuals, families, businesses and foundations supporting MWF’s efforts since our founding. In turn, the organization has granted funds and counsel to more than 500 organizations providing exceptional programs and services for women and girls.