Somehow, it has been a full year since I stepped into this role as Executive Director of the San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF) – time flies when you’re working hard and having fun! Anniversaries are a great time for reflection, and people keep asking if this role is what I expected.

The short answer – it is everything I expected and more.

I expected to be working with smart, talented women, and our members have not disappointed. I am truly honored to spend my time with such an impressive, dedicated group of changemakers.

I expected to have a significant impact in the region, but I didn’t fully understand the size of our reach. Yes, we granted more than $200,000 to five effective organizations combatting youth homelessness this spring, and I’m deeply proud of those investments.

But our impact goes further than our grantmaking.[pullquote]I am truly honored to spend my time with such an impressive, dedicated group of changemakers.[/pullquote]

SDWF has 216 members and 400 alumnae. Those members come to SDWF because they have the means and the drive to change our community. Their impact through SDWF doesn’t stop when we cut a check to an organization.

Through our extensive grant review process, our members are introduced to a new cohort of quality organizations each year. Oftentimes, they go on to serve as volunteers, board members and donors of those organizations, in addition to their engagement with SDWF.

Perhaps the most valuable service that we provide to the region is in helping our members see where they can fit and work within the larger landscape of San Diego’s nonprofit sector. The philanthropic education that we provide ensures that our members are valuable partners to the organizations that they get involved with.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past year, but I’m even more excited about what lies ahead.

  • In June, we’ll grant about $200,000 to support enrichment programs with behavioral health outcomes.
  • We’ll offer innovative educational programs to help women become savvier philanthropists and community changemakers.
  • We’ll bring smart, talented and community-minded women together all year, starting with a Neighborhood Connection on February 13 hosted by members Nancy Spector and Shannon Pavell. Note that this gathering is open to women interested in learning more about SDWF membership, but is not open to nonprofit partners.
  • We have some exciting collaborations and programs in the works, so stay tuned!

If you’re interested in learning more about SDWF, we’d love to have you! The greater our numbers, the bigger our impact. Please contact me anytime at, or join us for one of our upcoming events.

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About Katie Sawyer

Katie SawyerKatie oversees day-to-day operations and strategic direction of the San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF), ensuring that programs and services delivered are consistent with the organization’s mission to engage women in significant philanthropy. Katie works closely with SDWF board of directors, members, community partners and staff to guide an effective grantmaking process and to provide programming that helps members become more savvy, strategic philanthropists.