Timeline and Historical Documents

Timeline and Historical Documents

In 1956, the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation became the first foundation to dedicate itself to research and information solely about workingwomen. In celebration of the BPW Foundation’s trailblazing spirit and vision, an interactive and living timeline was created, documenting this incredible history.


 Business and Professional Women’s Club founded. 


Marguerite Rawalt signs the incorporation documents for BPW.

Marguerite Rawalt signs the incorporation documents for BPW.

The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation was formally organized in February 1956 by the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and was hailed as the first exempt Foundation and research center devoted exclusively to the interests and advancement of workingwomen. BPW Foundation was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia on February 27, 1956. BPW Foundation was granted a tentative exemption under 501(c)(3) from the Internal Revenue Service and would be entitled to permanent exemption by operating in accordance with the representation in the application. The Spencer House at 2012 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, was purchased by BPW Foundation for $150,000 for National Headquarters. The Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship Fund of the National Federation, whose purposes were to “promote research in problems which are important to the business and professional woman and to encourage graduate study in fields of work in which the Federation would like to enlarge the activities of women,” was turned over to the Foundation for administration. The first BPW Foundation grant from the Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship Fund was awarded to Dr. Margaret Cussler for research on The Woman Executive and for the publication of a book by that title. BPW Foundation has focused on making strides with gender biasness throughout the decades, the Earnings Gap was an article published describing the role that women share in occupational settings.


WomanPower Survey, the first major “pilot project” by the Research & Library Committee on the interests of working women, appeared on the December issue of National Business Women. “Too Old for a Job?” (1957) about older women in the workforce appears in National Business Women.


The Automotive Safety Foundation presented the first grant ever awarded to BPW Foundation in the amount of $10,000 for the first nationwide survey on Design for Living, a traffic survey.


The Internal Revenue Service granted permanent tax exemption under 501(c)(3) to the BPW Foundation. The BPW Foundation Library was established as a center for research into the economic, educational, social and psychological interests and problems of business and professional women; establish methods for searching, preserving and disseminating materials in that field.



Seminars were held during the 1960s with topics ranging from Middle Management Seminars to the Dynamics of Community Self-Surveys by Organized Women’s Groups: High Level Women Executives to Career Opportunity. These seminars were held in various states, such as, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan and New Mexico. A card (union) catalog was purchased from the Library of Congress. This catalog included, as nearly as possible, a listing of every article, book or reference pertaining to women. A Collection of Oral History tapes, including interviews with Past National Presidents, the 1919ers and notable women, was assembled.


An Allstate Foundation grant of $15,000 funded Economic Seminars in Cincinnati, OH & Denver, CO.


The Sally Butler International Scholarship Fund for Latino Research of the National Federation was turned over to the BPW Foundation for administration.  BPW Foundation co-sponsored with the University of Michigan, the First Leadership Seminar ever held exclusively for Top Women Executives.


The Research and Education Committee was requested to establish a General Scholarship Fund, which subsequently became the Career Advancement Scholarship Fund.  Second Annual Leadership Seminar for Woman Executives at Michigan State University.


Georgina Smith, with the help of the Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship, published her thesis, “An Empirical Investigation of Demand and Supply in a Local Job Market for Women.” Management and Leadership for the Executive Woman Seminar held at the University of Southern California. Third Annual Seminar for Key Women Executives held at Michigan State University. Seminar for Women Executives, University of Georgia, presented through Allstate Foundation grant.


A Washington Post article in the For and About Women section titled Women’s Woes Fill a Library, Hundreds of Books Fill a Library, highlighted The Library and its collection dealing specifically with the subject of women. A grant supporting women of color was awarded to Mrs. Leota Jean Brown to study Negro disadvantaged girls and their future employment.


The Foundation Library contained 1,032 bound volumes, in addition to dissertations on microfilm and reference indexes. Published Bibliography: “A Selected Annotated Bibliography: Women in Positions at Managerial, Administrative and Executive Levels”


Published Bibliography: “Continuing Education for Women”


BPW Foundation sponsored three Young Career Women from England, Belgium and Finland to take part in the Young Career Woman program at the 1968 BPW/USA National Convention. A permanent card file was established for information pertaining to grants under the Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship Fund. Published bibliography Working Mothers.


BPW Foundation sponsored three Young Career Women from Australia, Netherlands and Canada to take part in the Young Career Woman program at the 1969 BPW/USA National Conference. The BPW Foundation accorded new status as a Public Foundation under the Tax Reform Act of 1969. Published bibliography Sex Role Concepts: How Women and Men See Themselves and Each Other. Published bibliography Working Mothers.


1970s: Six bibliographies were prepared by BPW Foundation staff: Women Executives; Career Counseling: New perspectives for Women and Girls; Working Women: Homemakers and Volunteers; Women and Work in U. S. History; Work Force Entry by Mature Women; and Where the Jobs Are. The Women Executive was updated and supported a bibliography entitled “Women Executives: A Commentary and Bibliography from the Center for Social Sciences, Columbia University. The first scholarships were awarded to 25 women for a total amount of $7,947. A survey, Profiles of Business and Professional Women, was completed and available for $2.50 each. A seminar for Young Career Women was held at the University of Hawaii with 28 girls from various states attending. BPW Foundation sponsored three Asian Young Career Women to attend this seminar. The first grant in the amount of $5,000 from Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries was received for the Career Advancement Scholarship program. Published Women Executive bibliography.


BPW Foundation sponsored three Young Career Women from Canada, Central America and South America to take part in the Young Career Women program at the 1971 BPW/USA National Conference. The first Certificates for BPW state organizations with the highest per capita contribution for the BPW Foundation were awarded at the 1971 BPW/USA National Convention to Hawaii, Massachusetts and South Dakota. First Mobil Foundation grant to a women’s organization for $25,000 for Career Advancement Scholarships.


The Foundation sponsored a series across the country on “Dynamic Management of People in Situations”, “Solving Specific Management Problems” and “New Patterns of Effective Management”. Published Career Counseling: New Perspectives for Women and Girls bibliography.


Bloomington, Illinois, and Reno, Nevada, were chosen for the pilot project Career Awareness Project. This project’s aim was for an individual to know how to make occupational decisions based upon the knowledge and understanding of occupational opportunities. BPW sponsored the 1973-74 Management and Advanced Management Seminar Series in Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; West Point, NY; Portland, OR; New Orleans,LA; Phoenix, AZ; Richmond, VA; and Louisville, KY.


The Graduate Business Education revolving loan fund was established by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation. This loan was dissolved in 2002 with the funds distributed among the Lena Lake Forrest and Sally Butler research/grant funds and the Jennie C. Mock and Winifred Brady Scholarship funds. The Clairol and BPW Foundation relationship was established a relationship that would last more than 10 years.


The publication Hours of Work When Workers Can Choose resulted from the first BPW Foundation Research Internship. This was an early survey of major corporations and government agencies using flex time. BPW Foundation sponsored the 1975-76 Management Seminar Series. View brochure. Published bibliography “Working Women: Homemakers & Volunteers.


The Women in Graduate Engineering Studies loan fund was established with funding from the Exxon Education Foundation. This loan was dissolved in 2002 with the funds distributed among the Lena Lake Forrest and Sally Butler research/grant funds and the Jennie C. Mock and Winifred Brady scholarship funds. Published bibliography Women and Work in United States History.


Published Bibliography: “Work Force Entry by Mature Women”


Employer Advising Conferences held in 1978 and 1979 featured seminars on Women’s New Challenges-New Rewards in Management. “Situation Management: Effectively Managing Challenge” and “Career Development and Advancement” seminars were also given in 1978 and 1979.



The library was renamed the Marguerite Rawalt Resource Center and was dedicated January 1980 in Honor of Her Outstanding and Continuous Service to the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. In 1979 and 1980, “Money in Motion” became the topic for “Seminars for Economic Effectiveness” in Denver, CO, Louisville, KY and Baltimore, MD. Published bibliography Where the Jobs Are.


1980s: Two bibliographies were prepared by BPW Foundation staff: Women Managers in the US: Research and Analysis and Work Force Entry by Mature Women: Career Choice. Published Info-Digest – Updates on Women’s Issues. Published article – Sexual Harassment at Work: Why It Happens, What to do about It?   View bibliography.


Published Determinants & Consequences of Maternal Employment: An Annotated Bibliography, 1968-1980 and Woman Manager in the United States: A Research Analysis and Bibliography.


Published Info-Digest – Where the Jobs Are: Selected Careers for Women. Published The Equality Center – Sex Discrimination and Health and Disablility Insurance. Published Info-Digest – Who to Call in the Federal Maze


A New York Life scholarship fund was established for women studying in the health professions without a bachelor degree. New York Life provided funds through 1999 with a total funding of $1,000,000. Published Recent Research on Women in Management, by David Van Fleet & Julie Saurage. It was decided that the Executive Director serving BPW Foundation will be the same Executive Director serving the BPW Federation. Prior to this date each organization had its own Executive Director.


Published article What is Flextime?


The Avon Company provided funds for Career Advancement Scholarships for a two year period. Published Info-Digest – Women in Engineering View resources .


A Women’s Thesaurus was published. Published Work Force Entry by Mature Women: Career Choice.


Two fundraising programs for the renovation of Headquarters at 2012 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, were Bucks for Bricks with diamond, gold, silver and bronze bricks available and memorial windows. A project of the Girls Clubs of America to promote the study of science, math and related technologies (Project SMART) was adopted by BPW Foundation. The St. Paul Foundation provided funds for minority training. BPW Foundation funded this program for one year.


The loan from Signet bank for the renovation of 2012 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, was increased from $1,500,000 to $1,700,000.


1990s: Seven issue papers were prepared by BPW Foundation on Reproductive Rights: A Political, Professional and Personal Issue; Crime of Power Not Passion: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace; You Can’t Get There From Here: Working Women and the Glass Ceiling; Financing Your Future: Women and Retirement Income; Work and Family Policies: Options for the 90s and Beyond, and Women in Primetime: Employment Issues for Middle Age Women Grand Opening of Restored 2012 Headquarters, March 7th, 1990.


A partnership was entered into with Proctor and Gamble to develop a consumer education project on solid waste and other environmental concerns.


The Foundation published a paper entitled Reproductive Rights: A Political, Professional and Personal Issue. Published issue papers: Crime of Power Not Passion: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace; You Can’t Get There From Here: Working Women and the Glass Ceiling and Financing Your Future: Women and Retirement Income. Building Women Power – Politically, Professionally, Personally: Workplace Equity Program Manual


A Study of the Factors Which Aid and Deter Married Women in the Continuance of Higher Education was made by Doris H. Ruslink, with the help of the Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship. The first installment of “75 Facts on the Status of Working Women” was produced in conjunction with BPW/USA’s 75th Anniversary. This publication would later be known as, “101 Facts on the Status of Workingwomen.” Modest Reforms with a Major Impact—Measures to Improve the Status of Workingwomen (BPW/USA)


The first Magnificent 7 award function was held by BPW Foundation. Zoe Baird, Aetna Life and Casualty Co.; Nancy Donovan, NOVUS Financial Corporation; Annabelle Fetterman, Lundy Packing Company, Helen Hahn, Dreamworks SKG; Lillian Katz, Lillian Vernon Corporation; Susan Keating, NationsBank of Maryland; and Dr. Barbara Ross-Lea, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, were the first recipients of the award. These awards were presented annually through 2002. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories provided a program on Understanding Menopause, which was sponsored by BPW Foundation and developed with the American Medical Women’s Association. The Making Workplaces Work roundtable was held in 1994 during National Business Women’s Week. Published issue paper on Women in Primetime: Employment Issues for Middle Age Women.


The theme of BPW Foundation’s 40th anniversary was Strengthening the Fabric of Women’s Lives, which was designed to heighten awareness of the Planned Giving Program and to raise visibility as to the impact BPW Foundation has had on women’s lives. A partnership was entered into with the Equitable Life Assurance Society with regard to the Financial Education Awareness Program. By 1999, more than 100 local organizations had used this program


Eli Lilly provided a grant, Freedom from Fear, for a program on depression entitled Depression and Woman, Dispelling the Myths.


The Avon Foundation supported an Empowerment Scholarship for Women designed to help women move off welfare by earning a college degree. This was a two-year pilot project in the Los Angeles area. A summary volume, The Duality of Work and Family Roles, of the first Academic Symposium on Work and Family was published. A Resource Guide for Women Entrepreneurs was published.


The American Management Association published a summary of findings from a survey research project designed to explore gender differences in compensation/benefit issues existing in the corporate culture.


The Foundation partnered with the American Management Association on a survey research project designed to explore gender differences in compensation/benefit issues existing in corporate culture. The findings were pulished in 1999 by the American Management Association.


The 2000 Academic Symposium, “Work and Family: Expanding the Horizons” was held in San Francisco, co-sponsored by the Center for Working Families at Berkeley and the Sloan Foundation.

  • 50th Anniversary (click on the link below to see more)


2012 Massachusetts Avenue was sold for $6,500,000.


The final report and preparation for the grant proposal was prepared on theWomenomics pilot program.


The governance of BPW Foundation was reorganized to have 13 trustees, three of whom are the BPW/USA senior officers, and 10 of whom are elected as trustees; of these 10, at least 6 must be BPW members. During the 75th anniversary of National Business Women’s Week, BPW Foundation presented a national WOMENomics program at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


BPW Foundation defined a new mission: To empower workingwomen to achieve their full potential and to partner with employers to build successful workplaces. Workingwomen Speak Out, the results of a survey of women across the country about their work place security and quality of life, was published. American College Testing was chosen as the outsourcer for the operation of the scholarship program; selection of scholarship recipients remained within BPW Foundation.


BPW Foundation launched a new employer initiative with a National Employer Summit on Workplaces & Workforces in Transition which included leading employers from across the country.


In honor of the 50th anniversary of the BPW Foundation, the DeLonais Foundation agreed to match $25,000 in contributions from BPW/USA members to establish a first time scholarship endowment with an initial value of $50,000. BPW Foundation released Resources and Policy Changes Needed to Create Successful Workplaces, recommendations from the 2005 Inaugural Workplaces and Workforces in Transition: A National Employer Summit. BPW Foundation published series of discussion guides to encourage dialogue around issues impacting 21st Century workingwomen. These included Forces Impacting 21st Century Workplaces and Workforces, 2006 WOMENomics Discussion Guide, 2006 WOMENomics Planning Guide, the 2005 National Employer Summit Discussion Starters. Launched phase one of the Rawalt Online Resource Center, a web-based clearinghouse featuring the BPW Foundation’s extensive archive of research papers, issue briefs and articles as well as links to the latest resources for workingwomen and employers. BPW Foundation programmed a special research and education day at the 2006 BPW/USA Policy & Action Conference, opening a new venue for foundation programming. An original research paper title: Helping Business Women Transition from Maternity Leave by Elizabeth Morgan Russell, Elizabeth Blunk, and Sue Williams of Texas State University-San Marcus was presented. BPW Foundation programmed an entire day of workshops and plenary sessions for the 2006 BPW/USA National Conference. To expand its educational reach, workshop materials were housed on the Rawalt Online Resource Center. In June 2006, BPW Foundation published its first issue paper in a decade. An update of the 1993 paper, Work and Family Policies: Options for the 90s and Beyond. The 2006 publication was titled: The State of Work-Life Effectiveness. A Summer/Fall audio conference series, featuring workplace experts on work-life effectiveness, diversity, and flexibility and aimed at employers, workingwomen and policy makers was launched by the BPW Foundation. In December 2006, BPW Foundation sponsored the 2nd National Employer Summit in conjunction with Workplace Flexibility 2010 of Georgetown University Law Center. Titled Raising Profits and Potential: Return on Investment for Work-Life Effectiveness, Workplace Equity and Diversity the event brought together a cross-sector network of employers, workingwomen, researchers and policy makers to discuss promising workplace practices and public policy options. With the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and other organizations, BPW Foundation co-sponsors National Stress Out Week and distributes Helpful Tips for Stress Management at Work.


BPW Foundation conducted a groundbreaking survey women veterans experiences transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce.  In the absence of a publicly available database of women veterans, BPW Foundation researchers and supporting partners created a database.  The 2007 online survey Women Veterans in Transition was completed by over 1,600 women. Top Ten Recommendations for Employers to Recruit and Retain Women Veterans Building Strong Programs and Policies to Support Women Veterans Recommendations to Support Women Veterans Click here to read more about BPW Fondation’s Women Veteran research. BPW Foundation featured in New York Times article, “Women in Today’s Workplace.”


Today’s workplace is a mosaic of workers from different generations, cultures, genders and with varying experiences- each at a different point in the career life-cycle. BPW Foundation’s Young Careerist research project provides a framework through which to view the choices of Generations X and Y. Young careerists— as defined by BPW Foundation- includes individuals between the ages of 21 and 35. Critical Career Junctures that Direct the Career Life-Cycle of Young Careerists— This initial research examines choices made by Generations X and Y along the career path, and the subsequent consequences these decisions have on lives, generations, workplaces and society as a whole Click here to read more about BPW Foundation’s Young Careerist Research Project.


BPW Foundation and the Walmart Foundation partner to connect women to the emerging green economy by providing green job training. “Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy” established a pilot program providing resources to four local organizations to expand their capacity to train women for green jobs. BPW Foundation merged with Business and Professional Women/USA (BPW/USA)on July 1, 2009, ensuring that the two organizations advocacy and support for working women and families will continue. This merged organization represents nearly 150 years of supporting working women and their families. With support from Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, BPW Foundation created Dear Jane, a letter-writing campaign connecting women veterans with deployed women soldiers. The women veterans provided information and tips to help women who would soon be leaving the military with career transition assistance.


In celebration of Earth Day, BPW Foundation launched Working Women in the Green the Green Economy (www.bpwfoundation.org/greenforwomen), a new microsite tailored specifically for women seeking information and career assistance for sustainable jobs of the future. Developed the “Women Go to War Timeline” to illustrate the new role of women in the military. Hosted the inaugural Joining Forces for Women Veterans National Summit, bringing together leaders from the business, non profit and government sectors to address challenges facing women veterans as they make their transition back into civilian life.


BPW Foundation CEO invited to attend the White House Joining Forces to announce national initiative to support members of the military and their families. Released Gen Y Women in the Workplace, a report based on research that explores Generation Y women’s workplace attitudes, perspectives on intergenerational workplace dynamics, and perceptions of how gender impacts their workplace experiences. Conducted research and released the report, Women Are Always “On”, documenting women’s use and need for Internet serves. A Joining Forces Mentoring Plus advisory council is appointed to help with the development of a career mentoring program for women veterans. The Career Advancement Scholarship program is reinitiated. Gen Y Women to Employers: What they Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business, a report based on a national survey that explored Generation Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace was released. Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) provides a $100,000 grant to help launch a mentoring program to assist women veterans with their transition from military to civilian careers. BPW Foundation and the USO conduct a pilot program mentoring women veterans in Virginia.


Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and Cengage Learning partner to create high touch/high tech internet platform to assist women veterans and military and veteran spouses in their career search Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus™ is launched and begins matching mentors with mentees. NBC News features Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ mentors and mentees. BPW Foundation is invited to participate in the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Chicago. BPW Foundation’s CEO is designated a Girls and Women Champion and BPW Foundation made a CGI American commitment to support women veterans through mentoring. BPW Foundation CEO leads session on women veterans during the Veterans on Wall Street event.