Most women lawyers are drawn to the law at least in part by their desire to make a difference in the world by helping address unmet needs. Sooner or later, a member of your women’s bar association will come up with a great idea for a charitable project.  In order to accept tax-deductible charitable donations, an organization must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3). Most women’s bar associations are recognized by the IRS as not-for-profit “business leagues” under the provisions of 501(c)(6).  As a consequence, bar associations often establish charitable sister organizations to carry out or fund the projects envisioned by their members. If you don’t have a sister Foundation, someone may suggest finding a fiscal agent to help funnel grant money. Doing so requires entering the relationship with a thorough understanding of the relations. 

It is important to remember that bar foundations are separate entities, subject to their own rules and governance.   At the same time, they often share a similar name, which in the public’s eye can be confusing. The bar association and the bar foundation must work together to ensure that boundaries are respected while common goals are attained. Here is an example of relationship guidelines:

Relationship Between Women’s Bar and Foundation

A helpful resource for volunteers and staff of bar foundations is the National Conference of Bar Foundations

Here are thoughts on the importance of maintaining the right mission, focus and dedication to foundation goals:

Mission Control 

A New Executive Director Walks into a Bar…Foundation: Strategy and Rebranding

Here are links to some women’s bar foundations:


California Women Lawyers Foundation

Lawyers Club of San Diego Fund for Justice


Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation

District of Columbia

Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Foundation


Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation

The GABWA Foundation


Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation


Women’s Bar Foundation


Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts Foundation


Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation


Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City Foundation

New York

New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation

Westchester Women’s Bar Association Foundation


Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation


Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation


Legal Charitable Foundation of El Paso


Washington Women Lawyers Foundation