The Birth of a Great Idea

"I couldn't stop thinking about the idea," Ginny Jarrett said.

“Like a rabid dog, she couldn’t give it up,” said Kandy Elliott, who is Jarrett’s close friend....

Women Making a Difference


About The Roanoke Women's Foundation

The Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF) is a philanthropic organization based on a model started in 1995 in Seattle, Washington ( and subsequently put into action in and around the country.

Ginny Jarrett, a Roanoke financial consultant, began thinking about the power of pooling women's wealth in April 2004 after hearing Colleen Willoughby, founder of the Washington Women’s Foundation, speak at a Junior League International conference in Chicago.

"I couldn't stop thinking about the idea," she said.

“Like a rabid dog, she couldn’t give it up,” said Kandy Elliott, who is Jarrett’s close friend.

Elliott ultimately got so tired of hearing about the foundation that she threw up her hands and agreed to help Jarrett start one in Roanoke. They drew up plans for the group on Elliott’s kitchen table.

Before the end of 2004, they had formed a board of directors. Members of the board developed a list of over 600 women who were invited to hear about this extraordinary new venture. The RWF was launched at The Jefferson Center in March 2005 and one hundred women showed up. Another 100 called for information. RWF was on its way!

Jarrett believes the foundation caught the attention of Roanoke Valley women because the powerful idea of women pooling their money had never been tried in the Star City.

It is clear from the RWF’s success that women are more interested than ever in philanthropy and want to have a greater voice in where and how their contributions are spent.

RWF occasionally uses photos of people and groups on the website and in publications.  Those objecting to the use of their photos should so inform the RWF.

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