November 4, 2023
AFTER 25 YEARS, BARBARA LEE ANNOUNCES PLAN
TO WIND DOWN HER FAMILY FOUNDATION
Foundation Announces $2.5M to Support Colleagues Organizations
Foundation Will Sunset in December 2024
CAMBRIDGE, MA, November 4, 2023—Today, philanthropic activist Barbara Lee announced that her namesake charitable and educational organization, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, will sunset at the end of 2024. To honor the Foundation’s 25 years of work, Lee announced $2.5 million dollars in support, distributed among colleague organizations. Today, the Foundation also released its 25th Anniversary Essential Guide, which contains highlights from the Foundation’s body of research. Although Lee originally designed the first Essential Guide to fit in a handbag, the latest version is digital.
“If I have learned one thing over the last 25 years, it’s this: Dreams do come true,” said Barbara Lee, President and Founder of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation. “Although there were only a handful of women mentioned by name in my high school American history textbook, my grandchildren will have a completely different experience when it comes to women’s representation.”
Barbara Lee started the Foundation in 1998 to advance women’s equality and representation in the fields of American politics and contemporary art. At that time, a total of 63 women were serving in the U.S. House and the Senate, as compared to a total of 150 today. Through its groundbreaking research, partnerships, and investments, the Foundation has influenced the national conversation about women’s leadership and led the effort to bring American politics and contemporary art closer to gender parity. Today, a record 12 women serve as governor, and almost half of all lieutenant governors are women. Women make up 25% of the U.S. Senate and 28% of Congress.
Over the last 25 years, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has been committed to conducting research on the opportunities and obstacles women in politics face, including a deep dive on every governor’s race with a major party woman candidate. It has shared its findings and analysis with students, faculty, the media, and leaders and staff at all levels and regardless of party affiliation. It has worked with local and national partners on dozens of projects to better understand how voters perceive women leaders as a result of their gender and race.
To honor the Foundation’s colleague organizations, Barbara Lee today announced $2.5 million dollars in support to various charitable and educational organizations doing critical work to advance women’s leadership, including:
- 1000 Women Strong
- Advance Native Political Leadership
- Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)
- Galvanize USA
- Higher Heights Leadership Fund
- LGBTQ+ Victory Institute
- She Should Run
- Running Start
- Voto Latino Foundation
- Vote Mama Foundation
- Voter Participation Center
- Women Mayors Network, Mayors Innovation Project
“When I started the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, I dreamed of a future in which women and girls could do anything, and everything. Thanks to the work of our Foundation, the work of our partners, and the record numbers of the women who have stepped up to run for office, that future is within reach.”
About the Barbara Lee Family Foundation
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation works to advance women’s equality and representation in American politics through political research, strategic partnerships, grants and endowments. The Foundation’s work is guided by its core belief that women’s voices strengthen our democracy and enrich our culture.