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Advancing Gender, Racial, & Economic Equity for 10 Years

// June 27, 2024

Profile in Philanthropy: Alison Friedman Phillips Reaches 10 Years at WFCO by Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Alison Friedman Phillips’ commitment to social justice and fairness in philanthropy shines throughout our Foundation every day. From her recent board service for the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to leading the coalition for the “Don’t Tax Dignity” bill that ended the state sales tax on period products and diapers, Alison advocates tirelessly for marginalized and overlooked communities.

When she’s not at the Capitol, Alison – WFCO director of programs, policy, & advocacy – can often be found scanning the headlines of Colorado Politics or enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and daughter.

She is a thoughtful collaborator and curious learner who is always willing to help out a teammate. We are so lucky to have had Alison and her infectious laugh on our team for 10 years.

Why is supporting women a top priority for you?

I truly believe that when we all do better, we all do better. There is no doubt that by supporting women and focusing on the intersection of gender, racial, and economic equity will improve our communities, our state, and our country as a whole.

What are you most proud of during your time at WFCO?

I am most proud of our clear commitment to advancing gender, racial, and economic equity through cash assistance and reproductive justice. If you want to improve the lives of women and their families, trusting women to make the financial decisions for themselves and allowing women the freedom to decide if and when they have a child is one of the most effective ways to do so.

What action do you hope people will take to support women in Colorado?

We are constantly being influenced by strong societal forces that it is the fault of individuals if they are not successful, and it is only their responsibility to improve their lives. I hope my fellow Coloradans will examine that force and take the action of supporting organizations like The Women’s Foundation and policies that might not ostensibly seem like it would help you and your own family. For example, a guaranteed income program or a change to the tax code. The only way we are going to deeply change the lives of others is if we are willing to take brave action and perhaps give up a little bit ourselves.

Who have been the leaders/mentors on your journey?

I try to always remember that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Many social change makers have come before and shown us how we can most effectively do this work. Philanthropic leaders who recognize that equity is only possible beyond philanthropy, powerful activists who are brave beyond measures, and women who are fighting day in and day out to support their families motivate me to stay in this fight.

If you had to teach a class, what would it be?

I am a d-list celebrity aficionado and I love the intersection of philanthropy, pop culture, and politics. If I were to teach a class it would examine that intersection and how pop culture can influence social change. We’d watch clips from tv shows, listen to podcasts, read articles and have lots of engaging discussions.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Care less about what the people around you think and care more about how you can make a difference.

What is your favorite place or activity to do in Colorado?

As someone who was born in Colorado, I have many favorite places including cities like Buena Vista and Denver. One of my favorite things to experience is walking through an Aspen grove and hearing the wind whistle through the leaves. To me it is incredibly peaceful to hear that noise and be a part of an organism that is so much like our state- inextricably linked and dependent on each other’s well being for ultimate success. My photo is of my family and me enjoying a fall hike through Aspen trees near Snowmass in the Roaring Fork Valley.

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