The Women Mayors Network, a project of the Mayors Innovation Project, is thrilled and humbled to announce generous support from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation to support and advance its work to lift up the leadership of women mayors across the country.
The news comes as part of the Nov. 4 announcement from Barbara Lee that her namesake charitable and educational organization, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, will sunset at the end of 2024. WMN/MIP is one of 12 outstanding organizations supporting women’s political leadership across the country chosen to receive funds.
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation has been committed to conducting research on the opportunities and obstacles women in politics face. Foundation Executive Director Amanda Hunter spoke at the launch of the Women Mayors Network in Washington D.C. in 2020 and has since stayed connected to the network, providing research and recommendations to support the success of women mayors on the campaign trail and once in office.
“When Barbara Lee started this foundation 25 years ago, she realized the importance of building a pipeline of women serving in executive office,” said Amanda Hunter, Executive Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation. “Especially in recent years, the leadership of mayors in this country has been more important than ever. We are so grateful for the important community the Women Mayors Network has built to help women leaders support each other, and navigate the challenges they face when serving in executive office.”
“When I started the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, I dreamed of a future in which women and girls could do anything, and everything,” said Lee. “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.”
According to the Center for American Women in Politics, as of Sept. 2023 women make up 25.8% of the 1,616 mayors and officials who perform mayoral functions of U.S. cities, towns, and minor civil divisions with populations over 30,000.
“We are deeply grateful to the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, both for their generous support and for their leadership and partnership over the years,” said MIP Managing Director Katya Spear. “This investment will allow us to continue and expand our work to lift up the incredible work that women mayors across the country are doing and to provide leadership development opportunities for women mayors.”