The Beginnings of Womenade

The Womenade concept was created in 2001 in Washington D.C. when six women friends met for supper in an area restaurant. One of the women, Dr. Amy Kossoff, talked about how she wrote checks from her personal account to help her low-income patients with small bills for prescriptions, co-pays, and field trips. Kossoff estimated that she had probably given away close to $10,000 in one year’s time.

One patient had lost electricity in a newly obtained subsidized apartment, because after paying the rent, she could not afford to have her utilities turned on. Amy found herself writing a check. Another man desperately needed dentures, having had all his teeth pulled at a free dental clinic – the clinic could do the dental work, but could not provide the dentures. Amy wrote a check. The stories went on and on, and Amy was overwhelmed. Her friends offered to help, but realized the needs would always be there – something more was needed.

One friend at that dinner was Lisa Herrick, a clinical psychologist. She had a tradition of hosting large potluck suppers for huge numbers of women friends – everyone would arrive with a hot dish, and everyone would crowd into her house for an evening of chatter, meeting new women, saying hello to old friends. Lisa suggested that they throw another big potluck, but this time, ask each woman who attended to write a check for Amy…..they would send out invitations and letters of explanation, and try to set up a large fund of money from which Amy could draw – thereby helping more people, and no longer having to rely on her own checkbook. This was the concept in a nutshell – but the group had no name. Within a few weeks, Lisa literally dreamed one up – she woke up with the phrase in her head: If you have lemons, make lemonade. If you have women….make Womenade!!! Washington DC Womenade was born. To this day they get together once or twice a year for a large potluck dinner to raise money in a very simple way for others who need various kinds of help. They invite all the women they know to attend, and ask them to bring a potluck dish, and a check made out to Washington DC Womenade.

Womenade Across America
To date, at least 38 local Womenade chapters have sprouted up across the USA. If you type in Womenade to Google, you will find articles about many of them.   Some chapters were started when local women read the article about Washington Womenade in Real Simple Magazine, others when local newspapers reprinted a Washington Post article about the potlucks. These local Womenades fund a wide variety of causes, from homelessness, to pediatric cancer, to ambulances, to helping local immigrant families who have recently arrived in various communities to get on their feet.  The Womenade organizations across the country are not affiliated and each have their own mission and operating process.

We can’t vouch for ongoing parties, but we know that at least once in the last few years there have been Womenade events in the following towns and cities of the USA:

Birmingham, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Los Angeles, California
San Francisco, California
San Luis Obispo County, CA
La Plata, Colorado
Sebastian, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Gary, Indiana
Linton, Indiana
Danville, Indiana
Wyandotte, Kansas
Annapolis, Maryland
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Rockville, Maryland
Andover, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
ew Bedford, Massachusetts
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Hannibal, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Durham, New Hampshire
Exeter, New Hampshire
Hampton, New Hampshire Stratham, New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Cedar Crest, New Mexico
Sandia Park, New Mexico
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
Rochester, New York
Apex, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina
South Carolina Womenade
Fargo, North Dakota
Cincinatti, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Cedar Park, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Alexandria, VA
Charlottesville, Virginia
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Bellevue, Washington
Dousman, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Salt Lake, Utah
Share by: