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2006 Washingtonians of the Year: Anne Mosle

“People involved with us feel positive about doing something for the greater good.”

Photograph by Matthew Worden.

You can invest in people by giving to a charity. Or you can invest in people by creating a charity—plus building financial savvy and developing philanthropic leaders.

After just eight years, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation gave more than $1 million last year to 90 regional nonprofits for women and girls. “We’re creating a new model of philanthropy,” says president Anne Mosle. “Women come together as both donors and recipients.” One of the world’s five fastest-growing women’s foundations, WAWF is already in the top 10 percent in grantmaking. It also trains leaders of partner organizations—those that receive grants and provide direct aid—to operate more effectively, deliver more services, and raise more money.

WAWF has formed the Washington 100, who commit $10,000 over two years. But thousands of donors give much less. Volunteers investigate charities and aim to address the greatest needs to build stronger communities. WAWF ultimately focuses on building financial independence for low-income families.

Mosle’s parents volunteered and donated and taught young Anne to do the same. “Equity is really important to me,” she says. “I’m driven by how to help vulnerable populations.”

WAWF gave four hours’ training on donor and board development to Bethel House, which serves the needy of Prince George’s and Charles counties. Within two days, executive director Sherita Seawright requested—and won—a $10,000 donation. “The training taught me that people give because people ask,” says Seawright. Mosle and the foundation “are able to harness their talents and make a serious impact on the Washington area. They’re awesome!”

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