AFFW Endowment Milestone Achieved

By: Melinda Heinritz, Director of Strategic Partnerships

In January 2011, A Fund For Women embarked on a campaign to increase its endowment from $1.4M to $2.1M.  By reaching the $2.1M endowment level, A Fund for Women would have, on average, $100,000 to distribute annually in support of our community’s women and girls.  As of June 30, 2014, we did it!

In fact, with cash and pledges (through 2016), A Fund for Women now has $2,241,687 in endowment commitments.  The A Fund for Women Advisory Board is deeply grateful to the more than 700 individuals and corporations who made this success possible.

We especially want to honor three different contributors who offered challenge grants to inspire others to give generously to A Fund for Women:

- Diane Ballweg, who offered $200,000 to match gifts of $10,000 and up.
- Holly Berkenstadt, who offered $50,000 to match gifts below $10,000.
- The Madison Community Foundation, which offered $50,000 on October 16, 2013, to help us complete this multi-year campaign.

We’re thrilled to report that A Fund for Women has met those fundraising challenges, too, thanks in part to an incredible $100,000 gift we received several weeks ago in memory of Judy Schwaemle.  You’ll read about her incredible story as part of this month’s newsletter.

We also want to acknowledge the work of key volunteer partners who reached out for endowment gifts.  Kudos to Gina Carter and Jane Coleman for their efforts.

If anyone has any questions about our endowment campaign or would like information about creating an acorn fund or named fund or legacy gift in support of A Fund for Women, please contact Melinda Heinritz, Strategic Partnerships Director, Madison Community Foundation, at or (608) 232-1763.

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Judy Schwaemle’s Legacy Lives on in AFFW Endowment Fund

judy smilingBy: Jennifer Seeker Conroy, AFFW Volunteer

In 1993, 100 women in the Madison area raised $100,000 to create A Fund for Women as a component fund within the Madison Community Foundation. Just over 20 years later, a $100,000 donation from a remarkable Madison woman has helped AFFW reach its endowment goal of $2.1 million. This ensures AFFW can offer grants totaling an average of $100,000 a year to help women and girls in our community.

judy youngDuring her life, Judy Schwaemle was a passionate proponent of social justice, women’s  rights, and philanthropy.  After her death, her legacy will live on in the projects AFFW helps fund through her donation. “It’s the tangible expression of the intangible love she had for Madison, and for women, and payback for how women helped her,” explained Jacob Stockinger, Schwaemle’s partner of 42 years and husband of 25 years.

Judy ID 6Schwaemle was devoted to her career as a public servant. She spent almost 30 years in the Dane County District Attorney’s office, eventually retiring as a Deputy District Attorney in 2010. She earned praise from her peers and even from those she prosecuted and earned awards from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Legal Association for Women. An award was also created in her name within the district attorney’s office after she retired.

In 1949, Schwaemle was born the youngest of four daughters in Great Neck, N.Y. She attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and later UW-Madison Law School. Schwaemle was smart, hard-working, and compassionate. Stockinger says she was never a wealthy woman, but she was prudent and saved and was able to make generous donations upon her death to AFFW and other organizations including Porchlight and the Audubon Society. “She really cared about social justice,” Stockinger said. “She thought philanthropy was a way to achieve social justice.”

Besides career and philanthropy, Schwaemle had a love for birding, basketball, gardening, and the arts. Stockinger says she had a dazzling smile and powerful presence that wasn’t dimmed by the repeated bouts of breast cancer she faced. “She was a very big spirit,” he said.

Schwaemle was first diagnosed at the age of 29 in 1979. Breast cancer had claimed the lives of many of Schwaemle’s family members, but she fought it successfully and was cancer-free for many years. The cancer returned in 2006, 2011, and 2012, and eventually claimed her life at the age of 64 on November 19, 2013, at Agrace Hospice with Stockinger by her side.

Judy with bald head

For the past three years, Schwaemle had quietly made donations to AFFW. She and Stockinger kept their bank accounts separate, and she didn’t talk much about plans for her estate. But she did leave behind explicit directions to donate money to causes she believed in. “This is her afterlife in a way,” said Stockinger. “She really believed in women helping women.”

Judy & Jacob

Schwaemle touched the lives of many people while she was alive from family and friends to colleagues and community members and her powerful influence continues after her death. Schwaemle’s generous gift to AFFW has a major effect, helping us reach our endowment goal and opening countless opportunities for women and girls in Dane County. As Stockinger said, “She was an extraordinary woman who left an extraordinary gift to an extraordinary organization.”

judy older

With Jake’s blessing, the Madison Community Foundation has created the Judy Schwaemle Fund for A Fund for Women. If you would like to contribute to Judy’s fund, please contact Melinda Heinritz, Strategic Partnerships Director, at or (608) 232-1763. You can also give online.

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A Night Out With A Fund For Women

Hilldale and Ulla Eyewear will host A Night Out with A Fund for Women on Wednesday, August 20th, 4:00pm-7:00pm. Participating businesses and restaurants will offer a range of specials, discounts, coupons, and free merchandise to attendees. Come by to enjoy a drawing, networking, and champagne! Start in the atrium of Hilldale and then enjoy a night out with your friends and have a great night shopping and supporting A Fund For Women!

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Arab Women Gain Power

Dr. Mona AlMunajjed, “Powerful Arab Women: Only the best,”, March 4, 2013,

Each country has its list of the most powerful ranging from CEOs to companies to men. More and more are starting to list the most powerful women. Read about how the Arab region ranks its most powerful women and how they view the change.


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Increasing Economic Opportunities for Women Drives Need for New Economic Policy

Johnson, Simon, “The Case for Women,” The New York Times, June 27, 2013,

Leaders are slow to recognize that women are central to economic growth and development. The member countries of the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F) countries especially face the challenge of reworking how they recognize contributions made by women. Read a full transcript of a recent  speech given by Heidi Crebo-Rediker, the chief economist at the United States State Department, about this issue.


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Money Smart Week Marked by Money Smart Women Conference in Madison

Money Smart Week® is an awareness campaign that partners with businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, and government agencies to help consumers embrace financial literacy. It was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002. Money Smart Week partners will be hosting their events April 20 – 27, 2013.

On April 20th, a Money Smart Women conference will be held in Madison to help women define and achieve financial goals. It is another example of women helping women succeed. Visit for more information.

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Women-Owned Businesses Continue to Drive Economic Growth

American Express Open Forum,” New OPEN Report Shows Phenomenal Growth of Women-Owned Businesses,” AmericanExpress Open Forum; April 4, 2013;

Every year American Express OPEN analyzes U.S. Census Bureau Data relating to the state of women-owned businesses. Read the 2013 full report and learn how our state is doing.

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Upcoming Business Expo Highlights Successful Women Executives

Jagler, Steve; “Women in Business panelists to share insights,”; April 15, 2013;

The upcoming BizExpo scheduled for May 16th at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee with feature the BizTimes Women in Business conference.  A panel of distinguished women executives will discuss how to succeed in business and how women in leadership roles help a business succeed. Go to for more information and to register.

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Non-traditional Jobs Require Non-traditional Education

Khadouja Mellouli, Dr. Jelila Benzarti, Sonia Bouchandira, “Tunisian Association of Women for Sustainable Development,” Global Fund for Women,

Although Tunisia is a country that empowers women in many ways, access to education needs to adjust to the changing global economy. Women are typically pigeon holed into the study of humanities, however, the growing sector of employment opportunities in Tunisia are more tech focused requiring a different knowledge base. The Global Fund for Women continues to support efforts to help the women of Tunisia gain access to non-traditional training programs.

Posted in General Interest, Women in the News | Comments Off Gives Voice to Women Leaders of Congo

Read a petition from the women leaders of the Congo to the women leaders of the United States to join together in solidarity. Namadamu and a group of grassroots women leaders who call themselves the Maman Shujaa (‘Hero Women’ in Swahili) are trying end violence and rebuild a region continually ravaged by war.

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