Foundation For Women's Resources

By: Ellen C. Temple and Candace O'Keefe

Type: General Entry

Published: September 1, 1995

The Foundation for Women's Resources (formerly known as the Texas Foundation for Women's Resources), a private, nonprofit, educational organization with headquarters in Austin, develops programs and projects to advance and improve the personal, economic, and professional status of women. It was originally incorporated on December 28, 1973, in San Antonio under the name Texas Women's Caucus with Josephine Hall, Marilyn Cazort, and Janice McCoy as the founding board of directors. On June 25, 1974, the name of the corporation was changed to Womanpower, An Educational Fund. At a meeting of the board of directors chaired by Liz Parker on September 19, 1976, Sarah Weddington, Jane Hickie, Ann Richards, Cathy Bonner, Judith Guthrie, and Martha Smiley were elected as the board of the corporation. The board's first educational project was the publication, in 1977, of a book entitled Texas Women in Politics. On April 6, 1977, the name of the corporation was formally changed to the Foundation for Women's Resources, and in March 1978, under the leadership of Ann Richards, president, the board of directors launched its first major statewide project, "Texas Women: A Celebration of History," with Mary Beth Rogers as project director. The project was the first large-scale effort to document and publicize the contributions of women to the state's history. The project included an exhibition that toured museums in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Amarillo, El Paso, and Houston in 1981 and 1982. The exhibit was given to Texas Woman's University for permanent display in its library in 1983. TWU is also the repository of the 6,000-plus items collected during the development of the project. The project included an exhibit catalog (reprinted as a sesquicentennial project in 1986); a set of seven traveling exhibits circulated by the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures (two new sets were circulated in 1987); a bibliography of resources on Texas women's history; a book for young people, We Can Fly: Stories of Katherine Stinson and Other Gutsy Texas Women (1983), and the 1990 publication of a multicultural instructional guide to Texas Women: A Celebration of History, compiled by Candace O'Keefe. Mary Beth Rogers was named executive director of the foundation in 1981 and became a member of the board in 1983. Ellen C. Temple and Katherine B. (Chula) Reynolds were elected to the board of directors in 1981. In 1982 board president Cathy Bonner proposed the establishment of Leadership Texas, a program to identify and develop Texas's women leaders. The program combines education in leadership skills with information on state policy issues and an examination of the philosophies and programs of the state's business, cultural, educational, community, and political leaders. Martha P. Farmer was appointed director of Leadership Texas and executive director of the Texas foundation in 1982.

In 1986 the foundation became a national organization. Additional members elected to the board from 1986–88 include Rosie Zamora-Cope, Cassandra Carr, Pat Bailey, Shirley Hoskins, Judith Ford, and Patricia Diaz-Dennis. Also in 1986 the board approved a nationwide program called Leadership America, which expanded the original statewide program to the national level and was launched the following year. Farmer was named national director of both the foundation and Leadership America, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Mary Love Henderson became director for Texas operations. In 1989 Mandy Dealey became executive director of Leadership Texas, followed in 1991 by Candace O'Keefe. Upon retiring from her staff role with the foundation, Martha Farmer was elected to the foundation board of directors in 1991. In 1994 the thousandth woman graduated from the Leadership Texas program at the conclusion of its twelfth year of programming. The foundation has also helped establish similar women's leadership programs in other states, including California, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. Other foundation projects have included Leadership Texas and America alumnae organizations; the Texas Capital Network entrepreneurial program; Friends of the Foundation; cosponsorship of numerous Texas women's history and women's issues conferences; a three-year Women's History Research Fellowship for the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas revision; a statewide conference on women and technology; and the 1992 publication of an anthology on science and math education entitled Options for Girls-a Door to the Future.

Visit the Texas Women Project's standalone website

The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.

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Texas Foundation for Women's Resources, Minutes, Austin.
  • Women
  • Education

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ellen C. Temple and Candace O'Keefe, “Foundation For Women's Resources,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: