Our History


Since our founding, Montclair Fund for Women has given out over $800,000.

Montclair Fund for Women, a private foundation, is the corporate successor of the former Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Montclair-North Essex. This YWCA was originally the Young Colored Women’s Christian Association, founded by African-American women who came to Montclair seeking education and employment. Over the years, these black women carefully forged an alliance with white women who shared their values and goals, and the YWCA became one of Montclair’s prominent organizations, providing a broad range of innovative programs and resources to the community.

By 2001, after more than a decade of financial challenges, the YWCA members voted in favor of the Boards of Directors’ Transformation Plan, a transition to a leaner, more sustainable structure that would honor the legacy by changing to meet the future.  In order to achieve this transition to Montclair Fund for Women, the YWCA Board of Trustees, voted to sell the aging property and use the net proceeds to form the grant making foundation.

In 2004, the State of NJ approved the amended incorporation to the Montclair Fund for Women, and the foundation began awarding grants.  The Fund contracted our YWCA Archives, with copyrights, to the Montclair Public Library, and later awarded a grant to the Library to have the Archives professionally catalogued and preserved for use by the public and scholars.

Inaugural Donors

Karen & Tucker Andersen
Rozlyn Anderson
Anita & Jerome Atkinson
Marjorie Baskerville
Catherine M. Bolder
Allison Dorsey
Ellen & Michael LaBarbera
Sigrid Lindo
Robert J. Mike
Anne E. Patracuolla
Arlene Pollack
Tanya L. Poteat
Delores & Alvin Smith
Robert Stricoff
Carol Brown
Lydia Davis Barrett
Christopher J. & Deborah Corbett
Alma V. Davis
Lois Donegan
Nancy & Mark Felix
Phillip Tully
Dana A. Gaines
Jan & Jeff Hart
Robert J. Mike
Tanya L. Poteat
Mayor Ed Remsen
Susan Schwei
Jeanne M. Steinmetz
Stephanie K. Yennior
Felice Bibbs
Donna Butterfield
Debbie & Mark Cohen
Anna Coleman
Deborah V. H. Cook
Kristina Gojevic
Susan Hall
Rosa & George Lee
Sigrid E. Lindo
Isabelle B. McDonald
Patricia McIntyre
Elsa S. New
Rose Oosting, Ph.D. ,
Kenneth Powell
Mayor Bob Russo
Jane W. Rappaport
Mary Singletary
Paul Williams
Pamela J. Summers
Above & Beyond, Inc.
Port of Authority of NY and NJ (2004)
RayZo, Inc. (2004)
The Law Firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley
Question Mark, Inc (2004)
Women Celebrate Art & Music Gala Reception (2004)
MakeReady Press, Inc and Gallery 214 Art Space (2004)
Fashion, Finance & Balance (2005) – Maria Cable, Jill Patton, Janet M. Neal, Beth Schultz
AT&T Foundation Employee – Matching Gifts
Schering-Plough Corporation Workplace Giving Campaign – Matching Gifts
United Way of North Essex
United Way of Bergen County
United Way of Tri-State
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Area
First Baptist (Church) Trust (2002) – $5,000 towards YWCA transition to MFW
B&L Foundation (Bonnie and David Cushing – $6,000/2 years)
Fortis Foundation ( $500 Match of Gift from Jerome & Anita Atkinson)
Vincent Mulford Foundation (Emily Mulford, $3,000/3 years)
John H. Rudd Foundation (Bequest – $125,000/10 years)
Harold Beese Trust (Bequest)

Legacy Fund

YWCA Montclair-North Essex Board of Trustees 2001

MFW gives special appreciation to Trustees Emeritus of the historic YWCA Montclair-North Essex for having the extraordinary courage, commitment and vision to transform our legacy into a foundation for the future: Valerie Sweatt, Carol Brown, Mary Singletary, Valerie Wesley, John Wynn, Catherine M. Bolder and Ellen LaBarbera.

In Memory of Pat Sordill

Ella Marie “Pat” Sordill was a dedicated member of the YWCA and committed community advocate for peace and social justice. We thank the following people for their gifts to the Montclair Fund for Women:

Cornelia Craine
Dennis F. Fancsali, M.D
Barbara Kanengiser
Patricia & Jeff Kenyon
Linda C. & Lieutenant John Lane
Sordill Consulting – P. A. Sordill
Michael Sordill
Willie & Jenny Sordill

Our Board of Trustees, Founders and Staff


Board of Trustees

Tanya L. Poteat, President
Catherine M. Bolder, Secretary, President Emeritus
Susan Schwei, Treasurer


Anita Atkinson
Nancy Bernard Felix
Catherine Bolder
Ellen LaBarbera
Patricia McIntyre
Arlene Pollack
Tanya Poteat
Susan Schwei
Lydia Davis Barrett | Founding Executive Director, Retired

Executive Director

Lori Heninger, PhD