Women's Sports Foundation

All Girls. All Women. All Sports.



The Women’s Sports Foundation was established in 1974 to advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. Our mission today - we are dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports. We provide financial fuel to aspiring champion athletes. We fund groundbreaking research. We educate. We advocate. And we help communities get girls active.

Ruling year info


Chief Executive Officer

Danette Leighton

Main address

247 West 30th Street 5th Floor

New York, NY 10001 USA

Show more contact info



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (N01)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Women's Rights (R24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Decades of research point to athletics as a great equalizer. WSF is especially focused on supporting girls in underserved communities, particularly girls of color who are doubly hit by gender and race and face complex and intersecting challenges. Glaring disparities in resources create an uneven playing field, impeding the ability of many girls to fully thrive. Girls in the LGBTQ, undocumented and disabled communities are also disproportionately affected by bias and limited resources. The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to ensure that all girls and women have access and opportunity on and off the field. The result of this work is extraordinary, playing out in classrooms, communities and in workplaces throughout the country.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Participation: GoGirlGo! Initiative

The GoGirlGo! Initiative is active in underserved communities where lack of access, financial access, financial impediments and cultural bias would otherwise prevent girls from getting the tools they need to prevent early pregnancies, stay away from drugs, graduate from school and prevent diseases stemming from obesity. We uphold the success of TItle IX, a law critical to girls' sports and educational opportunities, and advocate for its continued enforcement. We are the voice of professional women athletes, and we help shape the media's understanding of the issues surrounding women's sports and those who play them.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

The Women’s Sports Foundation Research & Policy Institute is a multidisciplinary network of specialists who seek to enhance the quality of girls’ and women’s experiences with sports and physical activity through evidence-based research and policy development. The Women’s Sports Foundation is currently working with the University of Michigan to develop a world class Research and Policy Institute to: 
Conduct sound, cutting-edge research on all facets of girls’ and women’s involvement in sports and physical activity.
Provide the most comprehensive, browser-friendly source of information and analysis of gender and sport on the World Wide Web for educators, journalists, coaches, athletic administrators, policymakers, parents and fans.
Create a single-source gateway to publications, research reports, essays, position papers and policy statements.
Supply online links to journals, research centers and policy organizations that focus on girls and women in sports.
Offer a forum for policy development and debate.
Pool together leading experts in a variety of subfields who meet periodically in order to share ideas, present scholarly papers and publish research studies and educational materials.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Our educational and advocay efforts on the rights and representation of girls and women in sport are channelled through our defense of Title iX legisation and our GoGirlGo! curriculum.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Preteens, American Indians, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Participation: GoGirlGo! Initiative

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We believe that all girls and women deserve equitable opportunities to develop their personal potential through the benefits of sports and physical activity. We are committed to strengthening and expanding access to all sports at all levels for all girls and women. All girls. All women. All sports.

1. Research is at the epicenter of our work. WSF has examined barriers, gaps, benefits and best practices in the gender equality and sport space. Data-driven research informs all of our programming.

2. Advocacy educates and empowers the public and policymakers to take action. WSF serves as a leader on gender equity and ensures that intersectional voices are amplified. WSF is a vocal monitor at the grassroots, state and local levels to ensure that Title IX and other policies are in place to promote equality in sports.

3. Community Impact seeks to increase participation and retention of girls in sport. WSF provides: grants to community-based organizations in underserved communities; educational tools that reinforce positive body image, confidence, strength, leadership and joy that sport can unleash; capacity building training for program leaders to boost sustainability and athlete activations to connect girls with collegiate and elite athlete who serve as ambassadors and role models.

WSF’s work is enriched through deep partnerships and grassroots engagement. WSF collaborates with a vast network of organizations, thought leaders and corporate partners that share our vision, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Aspen Institute, Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Club of America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nike, Citi, AT&T, the national governing bodies for sport (NGB’s), among others. Corporate partners include: espnW, NBC Sports Group, Gatorade and Chevrolet. WSF continues to galvanize an ever-wider circle of support with multi-year grants from NoVo Foundation and The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. Through strategic partnerships, a robust and capable team, a combination of research, community impact and advocacy driven work, we aim to accomplish our goals.

Over the past five years WSF has established a solid infrastructure; robust financial growth; dedicated leadership team, new foundation and corporate partners; expanded Board leadership; and a broad national footprint. WSF has a bold new strategic plan and launched many new initiatives including: breakthrough new research “Coaching Through a Gender Lens: Maximizing Girls’ Play and Potential”; a partnership with First Book, connecting literacy, learning and leadership with sport; the development of “Her Time to Play” curriculum in partnership with Jr. NBA and WNBA designed to get sedentary girls to become more active; and the launch of Athlete Ambassador Program, connecting collegiate and elite athletes with girl-serving organizations across the country to serve as mentors and role models.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To determine value of communities program to the children they serve.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Women's Sports Foundation

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Women's Sports Foundation

Board of directors
as of 06/09/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Robin Harris

The Ivy League

Elana Meyers Taylor

Former US Olympian

Fiona Carter

Chief Marketing Officer, Goldman Sachs

Ilana Kloss

Chief Executive Officer, World TeamTennis

Michael Gregoire

Chief Executive Officer, CA Technologies, Inc.

Billie Jean King


Robin Harris

Executive Director, The Ivy League

Kate Johnson

Head Of Global Sports & Entertainment Marketing Partnerships, Content and Media, Google, and 2004 Olympian, Rowing

Phaidra Knight

Three-time World Rugby Cup player and World Rugby Hall of Fame member

Shawna Ryan

Director of Marketing, Gatorade

Scott Pioli

Former Assistant General Manager, Atlanta Falcons

Carol Stiff

V.P., Programs & Acquisitions, ESPN

Molly Van Wagenen


Jim Wilkinson

Chairman and CEO, TrailRunner International

Danette Leighton

CEO, Women's Sports Foundation

Muffet McGraw

Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball Coach; Sports Broadcaster

Joan Haffenreffer

Managing Director, CAO, Global Public Affairs, Citi

Portia Archer

Chief Operating Officer, NBA G League

Kathy Kayse

Chief Media Strategy and Partnerships Officer, The Ad Council

Ralph Andretta

President and CEO, Bread Financial

Scout Bassett

Paralympian, Track & Field

Swin Cash

VP Basketball Operations & Team Development, New Orleans Pelicans

Rosetta Ellis-Pilie

Vice President, Talent Development and Negotiations, ESPN

Brett Goodman

General Counsel, NBC Sports Group

Nefertiti Greene

President, Science & Diagnostics division, MARS Petcare

Mark Henderson

Founder, The Athletes Village

Darcie Glazer Kassewitz

Co-Owner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, President, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and Glazer Family Foundation

Bernard Muir

Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics, Stanford University

Jill Nash

Communications Executive

LaChina Robinson

Women’s Basketball Analyst, ESPN

Brenda Villa

Four-time Olympic medalist, Water Polo

Vanessa Wallace

Head of Brand Marketing, Jordan Brand North America, Nike

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/9/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/21/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.