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About us

Committed to creating a movement to change the lives of women and girls in our area

Our Mission

The mission of The Women’s Fund is to create economic, educational, and personal growth opportunities for women of all ages, and encourage their advancement and full participation in the community.  

We are a volunteer driven organization sustained solely by donor contributions and led by women who are committed to creating a movement to change the lives of women and girls in our area.  

We accomplish our mission by...

  • Supporting critical programs aimed at providing women and girls with job readiness skills, employment opportunities, budget/money management skills, positive parenting education, and life skills necessary to maintain safe, healthy, violence-free lives.
  • Offering life-changing intervention through Annie’s Fund, a unique fund that provides critical monetary support enabling women to overcome obstacles and crisis.
  • Promoting philanthropy through awareness and education events.
  • Responding to the urgent and emerging needs of women and their families.
  • Researching and promoting projects to advance the status of women and girls in Herkimer and Oneida Counties.


The inspiration for The Women’s Fund of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. came from the 75th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in 1995. After attending the national celebration in Seneca Falls, Ann Allen had the idea of forming a women’s organization in Herkimer and Oneida Counties to assist women and girls in a time of crisis. She invited a number of friends and acquaintances who were willing to each donate $1,000 or more to establish a fund for this purpose. These women became the founders of The Women’s Fund. After many long hours and the selfless dedication of our founders, The Women’s Fund of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. became a reality in 1997!

Non-Profit Grants
The Women’s Fund at its beginnings had two main components: first to raise money and secondly to decide where to grant the funds raised. All local Non-Profit organizations that provide services and programs for women and girls are eligible to be considered to receive funding. The first grant was made to The House of the Good Shepherd for “Smart Start,” an early intervention program working with new mothers. Since that time, we have granted hundreds of thousands of dollars and made a positive difference for countless women and families in our area.

Annie’s Fund
As we grew and became better known in the community as a source of help and hope, the late Richard Hanna, an area businessman and former congressman, came to us with a proposal to create a fund to help individual women in temporary but immediate crisis situations. With Mr. Hanna’s financial support, Annie’s Fund was established in 2005. It was then necessary to find “Partner Agencies” to identify women in need and to front monies to them which would be reimbursed by The Women’s Fund. Our first gift was simple but life changing – $50 for a woman to renew her nursing license. Without this support, she would not have been able to continue in her career and provide for her family. We partner with more than a dozen local agencies and will add organizations as needs continue to arise.

Isla’s Fund
In 2018, Isla’s Fund was established with a generous donation from one of our board members to help women in need of financial assistance to further their post-secondary education and remain in school. We believe that education is the most powerful tool in helping women escape the confines of poverty. But…emergencies happen, and this stop-gap measure of a grant from Isla’s Fund can make a significant impact on a woman’s ability to move forward for a more positive future. Our first partner college was Mohawk Valley Community College, and we work with the staff to identify female students in need. We also provide for female students through Young Scholars, and the Education Committee of The Women’s Fund continually works to consider and add other institutions to further our reach within the community.

Women Investing in Women
In honor of our 25th Anniversary in 2022, The Women’s Fund focused on the pivotal role that women-owned businesses play in growing our region’s economy, while recognizing the unique challenges female entrepreneurs face. Women Investing in Women grants of $5,000 each are offered to help take their businesses to the next level.

Ann P. Allen Memorial Scholarship Fund
Our founder Ann Allen led an amazing life of service and her dedication and passion never waivered. We are proud to continue her legacy of empowering women and girls. The Ann P. Allen Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in her memory and in recognition of her career as a guidance counselor at T. R. Proctor High School in Utica, NY. This fund provides scholarships to graduating young women from Proctor who will be continuing their education.

Since 1997, we have awarded: $445,000 in program grants for women and girls to achieve independence and success, $205,000 to hundreds of women in crisis through Annie’s Fund, $18,000 from Isla’s Fund in partnership with local colleges, $45,000 in Women Investing in Women grants for women business owners, and $500 to our first Ann P. Allen Memorial Scholarship Fund winner.  

We are proud of our history, and we are always looking for innovative ways to assist women and girls to become strong and successful.  We are dedicated to the vision of our founders and will continue to work together with you to make a difference and empower women and girls in our community!  

Our Sponsors

Our Programs

Isla's Fund
Isla’s Fund

Supporting local women students facing obstacles in their educational pursuits.

Annie’s Fund
Annie's Fund

Annie’s Fund offers monetary intervention in a temporary, but immediate, crisis.

Non-Profit Grants

Supports programs in the local community

Digital marketing, creative business women planning, collaboration and marketing ideas brainstormin
Women Investing in Women

Grants to help take women-owned businesses to the next level.

Empowering Women and Girls in ny
Status of Women

Addressing the most pressing issues for women and girls in our area.

Empowering Women and Girls in ny
Ann P. Allen Memorial Scholarship Fund

A scholarship to graduating young women from Utica City School District who will be continuing their education.


Our Officers

Janet Richmond

Serving as President since 2023, Janet has been involved for over 15 years.  

Debra Altdoerffer
Vice President

Dedicated to advancing Women’s Fund mission and initiatives through communications as chair of the Public Relations Committee.  

Diane Wolfe
Second Vice President

Diane has been involved since 1997.

Ellen Rainey
Recording Secretary

Ellen serves as Secretary and as Chair of the Women Investing in Women Program.

Colleen Munger

Colleen keeps us all in balance, serving as Treasurer for The Women’s Fund since 2020. 

Patrice Joslin-King
Past President/Compliance Officer

Patrice has a long standing history working with all of our various programs. 

Cara Fenstemacher

Cara keeps track of the historical information from our organization, and the impact that has been made. 

Jan Corn
Denise Cavanaugh
Denise Flihan
Carol Mandour
Cynthia McLean
Joanne Moskal
Kathy Perra
Ellen Rainey
Kathleen Rutishauser
Michele Sheridan
Kelli Watson

Support women in need

The Women’s Fund is a volunteer driven agency sustained solely by donor contributions and led by women who are committed to creating a movement to change the lives of women and girls in our area.