Frequently Asked Questions

What is Women in Leadership & Philanthropy?

  • Women in Leadership & Philanthropy is an initiative within the Office of Development to further advance engagement, leadership, and philanthropic giving to support the strategic priorities of the university. It serves to support the inaugural charter as a means for engaging a historically underrepresented population of women to create meaningful engagement and dedicated service that emerges toward impactful philanthropy.  
  • We are advised by a volunteer board comprised of USF alumnae, community members, faculty, staff, and student representatives and led by the Director of Women in Leadership & Philanthropy.
  • We believe that diversity, gender equity, and inclusion are important to achieving the USF vision of a more just and humane world. 

What is the foundation of Women in Leadership & Philanthropy?

  • We believe that USF can play a role in helping women realize their vision for change and impact through action and philanthropy.
  • Our shared mission of student success and a desire to be more involved in meaningful ways provides for a welcoming space for women to connect with the university and with each other. We recognize that women represent 62 percent of our alumni and that 63 percent of students are female-identified.
  • The continued growth and presence of female-identified philanthropists are evident in today’s society. Reports estimate that women control up to 60% of the wealth in the U.S. which has grown from $12 trillion in 2008 to $22 trillion in 2020. Additionally, when coupled with the trillions of dollars anticipated in the intergenerational wealth transfers over the coming decades, women may have access to previously unimaginable resources for the common good.

What do engagement and leadership look like?

  • Women in Leadership & Philanthropy provides engagement opportunities for alumnae and dedicated friends of the university. Faculty, staff, and students play a critical role in sharing experiences, expertise, and perspectives and are often invited as guest speakers, advisors and attendees of our many events and initiatives. 
  • We serve to provide access to leadership and volunteer opportunities in service to USF and our respective communities by way of committees, events, mentors, and recognition.

What is the Impact of Women in Leadership & Philanthropy? 

  • We strive to democratize giving and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in philanthropic spaces. Our goal is to serve as role models and advocates for USF in its ongoing  campaign to support academic and student access. 
  • By creating a culture of philanthropy we offer our community an opportunity to examine and reflect on their philanthropic priorities and to discover avenues toward making an impact by way of sponsorship, program support, scholarship support, or participation in a giving circle.  
  • Since our inception, we have provided leadership opportunities to over 40 alumnae; engaged over 3000 participants through our 6 annual spring symposiums, 11 virtual webinars, and networking events. We have showcased over 60 female-identified speakers including CEO’s, Founders, Business Owners, Philanthropists, Foundation Presidents, C-Suite Leaders, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officers, Consultants, Social Justice Champions, Gender Equity Practitioners, Non-profit Founders and Executives, Humanitarians, Higher Education Educators and Professionals, Student Scholars, Board Chairs, and Trustees.

How can I get more involved?

  • You are invited to sign up for our quarterly newsletters, join the Alumni Mentor Program, volunteer as a Host Committee member, serve as a speaker, or presenter at an event or in the classroom. We also invite you to attend our virtual or in-person events and consider joining a Giving Circle.

What is the Women’s IMPACT Giving Circle?

  • A giving circle is a form of participatory philanthropy where a group of individuals come together to donate money toward designated funds such as scholarships, programs, initiatives, or USF needs. 
  • As you lead, recruit, or join a giving circle of fellow USF alumni and friends, you will come together to create community, share stories, learn about opportunities to make a difference at USF and choose the areas you are most passionate about supporting. Whether it be first-generation students, gender equity, STEAM, academic persistence, or women in leadership, we’ll provide resources to educate you and your network.
  • We will guide you through the planning stages as you and your fellow giving circle members determine where your donations will best serve your interests and the needs of students or the university. 
  • Every gathering will begin with a fun social activity, and we are confident that you will come away from each interaction with a feeling of belonging, purpose, and hope. 

Can I be involved if I don’t live in the Bay Area?

  • Yes! Alumni in other regions can be involved in all of the above-mentioned opportunities. We also encourage all alumni to consider building our presence as social media ambassadors. 
  • If you are interested in hosting an event in your region, please email or contact us at (415) 422-4055. This includes the Bay Area, the South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, Sacramento, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and even New York!

Contact Info

Women in Leadership & Philanthropy

M–F, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Cheryl Vargas
Director, Women in Leadership & Philanthropy
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton St.
Lone Mountain Rossi
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-2063