WOMEN’S WAY: 2023 In Review

8 min readDec 20, 2023

As we turn the page on yet another year, we take immense pride in recounting the milestones and events that have shaped WOMEN’S WAY — each one a testament to the impact we’re collectively making to transform the region into one where all women, girls, and gender-expansive people can thrive.

From each challenge and triumph that 2023 brought us, we are so grateful to have a community with you in it! Whether you participated in one of our convenings, volunteered with YWI, lent expertise to our Gender Wealth Index Research Project, contributed to the relaunch of our Immediate Response Action Fund, invested in WOMEN’S WAY as a sponsor — and everything else in between — we are so grateful to have a community with you in it!

As the year winds down, we invite you to read on below to revisit some of the top highlights from 2023.

45th Annual Celebration Held Back In Person For First Time in Four Years

Throwback to Thursday, May 18th, 2023, when we hosted our 45th Annual Celebration: Spark Collective Action. Back in person for the first time in four years, this signature annual event and fundraiser brought together over 450 community leaders, activists, funders, and professionals from across the region to build solidarity while also raising critical funds to support WOMEN’S WAY. Together, we were able to raise $285,000 in support of WOMEN’S WAY and our work to advance gender and racial equity.

Diane Cornman-Levy, Chief Disruptor at WOMEN’S WAY, with renowned public interest attorney and our 2023 Lucretia Mott Honoree, Kathryn Kolbert, Esq.

WOMEN’S WAY Board Welcomed 6 New Members

During 2023, we proudly welcomed six highly skilled and talented new board members. Their areas of expertise include DEI work, mission-aligned investing, entrepreneurship, reproductive justice, narrative change, finance, and fundraising. Our board members are an essential driving force behind our mission — meet all of our amazing Board Members here.

Gender Wealth Institute Hosted 2nd Annual Gender Wealth Summit

Marking another milestone, on September 22nd, the Gender Wealth Institute at WOMEN’S WAY presented the 2nd Annual Gender Wealth Summit. At the summit, 100 attendees explored the gender wealth gap by discussing insights from the Gender Wealth Index Research Project, listening to different women share their personal experiences with wealth, and participating in interactive workshops to shape the next phase of the Gender Wealth Index Research Project. For press coverage of this event, click here.

Attendees excitedly tune in for opening remarks at the 2nd Annual Gender Wealth Summit

WOMEN’S WAY Initiated a New Strategic Planning Process

In November 2023, the WOMEN’S WAY Board of Directors and staff embarked on a multi-month process to craft a 2024–2027 strategic plan. Once completed, this plan will encompass a revised vision, mission, theory of change, core values, guiding principles, and strategic goals, charting our collective efforts over the next three years. Stay tuned!

Six Closing the Gender Wealth Gap Forums Hosted

We took great pride in hosting six Closing the Gender Wealth Gap Forums throughout 2023. Each event included panelists ranging from CEOs and business owners to authors, activists, and WOMEN’S WAY grantees and fellows. The discussions delved into pressing and timely topics, and we were delighted to witness a surge in community engagement within our virtual chat rooms. Looking ahead, stay tuned for the 2024 forums which will now be offered in both English and Spanish thanks to a collaborative effort with General Operating Fund grantee, el Centro Integral de la Mujer Madre Tierra. This expansion aims to broaden our impact and bring these important conversations to an even wider audience. To view our entire library of event recordings, visit our YouTube here.

Panelists kick off the 2023 Closing the Gender Wealth Gap Forum educational series with an engaging discussion about the origins of wealth and power in the United States

Year One of the Gender Wealth Index Research Project Completed

In 2022, WOMEN’S WAY and the Gender Wealth Institute (GWI) launched the Gender Wealth Index Research Project — a large-scale regional research campaign to identify and address key drivers of gender wealth inequity. This project will culminate in the creation of the Greater Philadelphia region’s first Gender Wealth Index. This year, the research team diligently conducted a thorough literature review, refined concepts and research questions with a research advisory council, reviewed publicly available data, and launched a survey and qualitative field study. Eager to learn more about the insights that have been gained so far? You can review the results of the survey in our Year One Research Report.

15th Annual Book Prize Held, honoring Casey Parks

On November 1st, WOMEN’S WAY hosted the 15th Annual Book Prize to honor Casey Parks for her book Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery. This event brought the WOMEN’S WAY community together for an engaging virtual conversation and Q&A session moderated by Jeannine A. Cook, author and shopkeeper of Harriett’s Bookshop and Ida’s Bookshop.

15th Annual Book Prize Honoree, Casey Parks, in conversation with Jeannine A. Cook, Author and Shopkeeper of Harriett’s Bookshop and Ida’s Bookshop

FCTP Evolved into the Financial Wellness Program

This fall, the Gender Wealth Institute launched the Financial Wellness Program (FWP), a new iteration of the Financial Coach Training Program (FCTP). FWP aims to improve the financial health of women and gender-expansive employees who are economically insecure while simultaneously strengthening nonprofit and grassroots organizations. This will be accomplished by providing financial coaching to employees and members of these organizations. Learn more about this new program and how you can get involved.

YWI Organized Seven Unique and Engaging Events

From Brunch with Board Members to Selfcare September, YWI kept its members busy this year! YWI, short for Young Women’s Initiative, is a dynamic group of people between the ages of 21 and 45 who identify as women or gender expansive/gender non-conforming/non-binary. YWI hosts various gatherings as a way to encourage its members to become advocates for social change and empower young people throughout Philadelphia. Follow their Instagram page @youngwomensinitiative to stay up to date on their events!

YWI members and volunteers are all smiles after their annual Thanks-Giving Back event at Lutheran Settlement House on Giving Tuesday

IRAF Distributed 12 Grants, Impacting 11,500 Individuals

Since the inception of the Immediate Response Action Fund (IRAF), over $500,000 has been awarded to 57 organizations, impacting over 44,000 women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals! In FY23, 12 grants totaling nearly $120,000 were given out, impacting over 11,500 women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals. While we had to pause IRAF due to increasing demands, we are working diligently to relaunch in early 2024. Please consider a donation to IRAF to help us reopen the fund as quickly as possible.

WOMEN’S WAY Co-Hosted Mayoral Candidate Forum

On April 26th, in person and via live stream, WOMEN’S WAY, The Forum of Executive Women, The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia, Every Voice, Every Vote, Girls Justice League, and Juvenile Law Center hosted: Sparking Conversations on Women’s Issues: A Mayoral Candidate Forum. This event provided a platform for mayoral candidates in the run-up to the municipal primaries to address issues critical to the well-being of women and girls in the City of Philadelphia and emphasize the importance of placing gender and racial equity at the forefront of the 100th Mayor’s priorities. Of the candidates that were invited, Cherelle Parker and Rebecca Rhynhart joined us for this essential discussion.

Cherelle Parker and Rebecca Rhynhart join WOMEN’S WAY and partners for “Sparking Conversations on Women’s Issues: A Mayoral Candidate Forum”

GOF Funded its Second Round of Grantees

We proudly launched the second cohort of General Operating Fund (GOF) grantees to provide 2-year grants to organizations primarily serving women, girls, and the gender-expansive community, prioritizing organizations led by women of color with budgets under $500,000. We also implemented a participatory grantmaking framework with current grantees serving as the Grant Application Review Committee. We disbursed $130,000 to 13 inspiring organizations — all Women of Color-led with most budgets under $200,000, positively impacting over 59,000 individuals.

Nine Fellows Completed the Change the Narrative Fellowship

This year, nine new fellows completed the Change the Narrative Fellowship, all of whom are outstanding students at the Community College of Philadelphia. A heartfelt thank you goes out to our partners, CCP’s Women’s Outreach and Advocacy Center and Love Now Media, for their invaluable contributions to the success of this cohort. Among the highlights of this year’s cohort included a graduation ceremony honoring the Fellows’ dedicated efforts, opportunities for the Fellows to share their insights on panels and other events, and a powerful screening at CCP to premiere the impactful stories created during the Change the Narrative Fellowship. To view the powerful stories from this year’s cohort, click here.

Change the Narrative Fellows celebrate the completion of the Fellowship with a special graduation ceremony at Community College of Philadelphia

WOMEN’S WAY Wednesdays Celebrated Women’s History Month

Throughout March, Stratus Rooftop Lounge and Sisterly Love Collective presented WOMEN’S WAY Wednesdays, a weekly pop-up celebrating various women-owned and operated culinary and beverage establishments in the Philadelphia region. Not only did these events showcase the extraordinary talent found throughout our community, but they also served a meaningful purpose — with 100% of proceeds from ticket sales benefitting WOMEN’S WAY. We are so grateful to our partners throughout the region whose collaborations and support help propel our mission forward.

WOMEN’S WAY Got Its Own Milkshake

This Summer, Bassetts Ice Cream welcomed us with a sweet surprise, launching a new specialty shake to honor our organization. The shake was a mix of matcha and toasted coconut ice cream, with vanilla cream and green and yellow sprinkles. With every WOMEN’S WAY Shake that was sold, a portion of proceeds was donated to WOMEN’S WAY to power our mission forward. We truly enjoyed this treat and look forward to even more collaborations in the future.

WOMEN’S WAY Staff and Board Members make a trip to Bassetts Ice Cream in Reading Terminal Market to try the WOMEN’S WAY Signature Shake

Together, we will advance gender and racial equity.

While we’ve achieved a lot in just one year, there is still much work ahead! We look forward to another impactful year of collective action to advance gender and racial equity throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. Let’s see what we can accomplish, together, in 2024.

To donate or learn more about other ways to get involved with WOMEN’S WAY, visit here.




WOMEN’S WAY is the Greater Philadelphia region’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of women, girls, and gender equity.