The Women and Girls Fund was established in 2004 when Wisconsin Judge, the Hon. J. Mac Davis, responded to a motion from the board of the YWCA which was then ceasing operations. The board, led by President Laraine O’Brien, requested that the remaining assets of the YWCA be turned over to a special fund within the Waukesha County Community Foundation specifically dedicated to helping women and girls throughout Waukesha County.
The order of the court, issued on November 29, 2004, created the Women and Girls Fund with an original endowment of $73,000. The five women on the Fund’s original board – Betty Arndt, Andrea Bryant, Beverly Chappie, Jill Haupt, and Anne Styza – agreed to lead the new fund in carrying out its mission to provide grants to programs and projects for area women and girls. They also pledged to raise additional money through both traditional fundraising efforts and also through hosting the long-honored “Women of Distinction” Luncheon.
The WGF Board has continued to shepherd its grant awards, which by 2017 have totaled nearly $800,000, and increased the endowment to more than $1.4 million.