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Wenda Weekes Moore: Giving Back to Create a Civil and Just World

Wenda Weekes Moore was 10 years old when the meaning of “philanthropy” hit home. She was with her father at Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, D.C.), his alma mater, attending a ceremony in his honor. A son of immigrant parents from Barbados, he worked his way through medical school.

Once he was a successful OB/GYN in Los Angeles, he established a scholarship at Howard to help other students pay for medical school. Before the ceremony, Wenda asked her father, “Why are you giving our money away to someone we don’t know?” He replied, “Somebody helped me, and that’s why I’m here, and why you’re here. It’ s important that we help others. Somebody gave to me, so I give back.”

The impact on Wenda was profound and lasting. She and her husband taught their children the personal responsibility to “give back” and the critical role philanthropy plays in making the world a more civil and just place. Wenda put this belief into practice by serving on many philanthropic boards, including the Women’s Funding Network, Ms. Foundation, University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Through work with grantees, she learned that women were most often at the core of transformative and positive community change and held the power to create that civil and just world.

This recognition led Wenda to the Women’s Foundation back in the early 1980s. Over 31 years’ time, she has served as a trusted advisor to Foundation leadership and watched as it has grown from $8 million in assets in the 1990’ s to the $23.1 million it is today.

Last year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation honored Wenda’ s 26 years of Board service with targeted money she could direct anywhere she chose. Wenda chose to open a Donor Advised Fund at the Women’s Foundation because of its proven effectiveness to affect real economic, political, and social equality for all women and girls in the state.

Equally important, the Foundation’ s values mirror her own: justice, social change, inclusion, feminism, and hope.

“I believe in the Women’s Foundation’s mission, commitment to diversity, and what it does consistently: meeting people where they are and feeding the sense of ‘you can do it’ in women and girls across Minnesota. My father believed it was important to help others, and I’m thrilled I have continued his legacy of philanthropy.”

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