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Elizabeth Barajas-Román Named CEO of Women’s Fund

EASTHAMPTON — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) has named Elizabeth Barajas-Román the foundation’s new CEO.

Barajas-Román has been a leader in progressive movements, including advocating at the national level for the health and rights of immigrant women and their families. Most recently she was a manager at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she directed a portfolio of partners that campaigned for state and federal policy change to improve government performance on issues that impact children’s health. Barajas-Román brings a background in impactful philanthropy, data-driven strategy design, fund-raising through philanthropic partnerships, and creating coalitions and mobilizing partners.

“We are very excited to have Elizabeth as the new head of the Women’s Fund,” said Michelle Theroux, chair of the WFWM board of directors. “Her experience, nationally as well as locally, provides a unique perspective for the fund as we continue to grow and bring attention to the issues surrounding women, girls, and our community.”

Previously, as the director of policy at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Barajas-Román directed the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based office, where she was instrumental in expanding the visibility of NLIRH on the national stage. Barajas-Román was frequently invited to be a voice in national policy discussions in the media, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in target states. In addition, Barajas-Román’s leadership has been recognized by several national fellowships, including the Center for Progressive Leadership Executive Fellowship, the Rockwood Leadership Institute, and an appointment to the American Public Health Assoc. Committee on Women’s Rights.

“I’m thrilled to be leading this dynamic public foundation at such an important time,” said Barajas-Román. “Women are at the center of every issue impacting families today: healthcare, equal pay and economic security, safety and freedom from violence. A Women’s Fund is able to highlight these issues, aggregate resources, and collaborate with existing community organizations to develop impactful, sustainable solutions.”

Barajas-Román’s background also includes positions as a journalist, researcher, and director of policy and operations at a primary-care clinic for uninsured youth in Boston. She is a certified project-management professional, is a graduate of Oberlin College, and received her master’s degree in international policy from Harvard University.

The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts advances social-change philanthropy to create economic and social equality for women and girls in Western Mass. through grant making and strategic initiatives. Since 1997, the WFWM has awarded more than $2 million in grants to more than 101 programs in the four counties of Western Mass.

The WFWM is building its capacity to be the go-to organization for all issues related to improving the lives of women and girls. Most recently, the foundation did this this by creating the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI), which has equipped 140 women from across the four western counties to become civic leaders in their communities; to impact policy on the local, state, and national levels; and to seek and retain elected positions.

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