Empowering Women to Discover Their Worth

The Need

Women and children of the Rochester region are disproportionately affected by poverty as documented in the findings of the study on the economic status of women by the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley. The minimum income a family needs for ordinary living costs (food, housing, transportation, health care, child care) is far higher than the federal poverty threshold and also significantly higher than what someone working full-time at the minimum wage can earn. Half of all households headed by women have incomes too small to meet basic needs. The burden of poverty falls disproportionately on women—especially African-American, Hispanic, and Native American women. The study also found that 62% of households in poverty were headed by women; of those, more than 93% had children under the age of 18 years. In addition, 34% of women who had dropped out of high school were living in poverty. 

Our Mission

To promote economic self-sufficiency for women and girls through grant making, education, and advocacy. 

Our Vision

The Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley will be recognized as one of the leading organizations in the greater Rochester area focused on women’s economic self-sufficiency, by:

  • Advocating for women and girls through fundraising, education, research and high-impact grant making

  • Partnering and collaborating with key institutions, agencies, foundations and corporations

  • Striving for excellence in all that we do

  • Delivering measurable results

  • Promoting greater social change and making a true difference in the lives of low income women


A strong woman…

is a woman who is in touch with her feelings. Strong women laugh. Strong women cry. Strong women dance in the rain. Strong women help each other get back up. Because even in our own struggle, we can help more women.

— Tokeya Graham, Voices of Experience Chair


Our History

The Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley was established in 1994 to manage a permanent endowment that would create lasting social change by investing in programs that benefit women and girls. Women in our community volunteer to raise, manage and distribute the funds.  Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $1.2M to programs that have proven successful in helping women and girls achieve economic self-sufficiency. In 2004, the Women’s Foun­da­tion of Gene­see Val­ley pub­lished the first com­pre­hen­sive study on the eco­nomic sta­tus of women in the Rochester region using data from to 2000 U.S. Cen­sus. This 2014 research has been updated using the 2010 U.S. Cen­sus data. In addi­tion, the Self-Sufficiency Stan­dard was used to explore income ade­quacy; that is, the level of income nec­es­sary for a given fam­ily to ade­quately meet basic needs. We found that women were dis­pro­por­tion­ately affected by poverty and income inadequacy.


Our Board

Mary Moore 
Linda Hovey 
Kimberly Wilborn

Betsy Rice 
Jennifer Boutte 
Kimm Mitchell

Jennifer Cintron 
Audrey Wackerman 
Ann McAllister

Cindi Spezio 
Phillippa Thiuri  
Lynn Lubecki

Our staff


Maranne McDade Clay Executive Director mmcdadeclay@womensfoundation.org


Rachel Walsh Manager of Programs & Marketing rwalsh@womensfoundation.org


Lisa Vent Program & Development Coordinator lvent@womensfoundation.org