WFSA’s Transitional Update – April 2024

Since its establishment in 1991, The Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona (WFSA) has evolved and adapted alongside the changing needs of our community. From humble beginnings as a two-person team, we have grown to a team of 13 dedicated individuals, expanding our capacity to serve through our core anchors: Grantmaking, Innovative Programs, Research, and Advocacy.  

In 2023, WFSA experienced significant staffing and leadership changes, followed by a renewed dedication to our mission in 2024. Through these changes, WFSA remains resilient, steadfast, and fully operational. Our organization has been led by a committed and thoughtful leadership team, including Interim CEO Sarah Gonzalez, VP of Community Mobilization Katia Jones, and VP of Finance and Operations Sarah Whelan. Read on for our official and permanent CEO announcement below!   

Has WFSA upheld its commitments during this time of transition?  

WFSA’s Board of Directors placed a new leadership team at WFSA and conducted a thorough review that identified discrepancies and missed obligations that occurred from March 2023 – December 2023. We acknowledge what led to these lapses and are committed to rectifying them with utmost sincerity and urgency. We value our relationships with community and strive to always hold transparency at the forefront. Our new finance team has been diligently working to correct these errors, consistent with our core values of honesty and accountability.  

In 2024, under new leadership, we have achieved financial stability and fulfilled our obligations, while also ensuring timely payments to our grantee partners and program participants and providing transparent financial reporting to those who invest in us. We have prioritized open communication and collaboration with our partners to uphold our commitments under the Pathways for Single Moms program. Moving forward, WFSA’s Board and Staff remain dedicated to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fulfilling our mission to serve our community effectively.   

In Spring 2023, our youth leadership program, Unidas, successfully completed its cohort, and two former Unidas members are currently serving on WFSA’s Board of Directors. We will be engaging in thought partnership with Unidas participants as we evolve this program, with the intention of value for all its participants. WFSA’s program team has been diligently researching and forging partnerships to enhance Unidas in line with highly vetted and value driven curriculum. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting transition!  

We’ve remained committed to our Listening Tour of Arizona, actively engaging with communities statewide, both rural and metropolitan. Supporting various events such as the Prescott Woman’s Magazine, BLM Metro Phoenix Annual Fundraiser, Flagstaff Women’s Soccer League, Pinetop Artisan Festival, Rural Women’s Health Symposium, Unemployed Workers United Annual Gathering, Tucson LGBT Chamber of Commerce Gayla, and more, underscoring our dedication to community involvement.  

Our Advocacy and Policy efforts are stronger than ever, with a dedicated director and team working to advance this year’s priorities. These include Housing, with a focus on transitional housing, Increasing Access to Childcare, Addressing the Gender Pay Gap, and Access to Reproductive Healthcare. Our advocacy co-chairs continue supporting and encouraging our community through WFSA’s advocacy coalition.  

WFSA’s next grantmaking cycle will expand upon our previous grant programs to offer general operating support to organizations doing mission and value-aligned work in communities throughout Arizona. This cycle will include co-creation with previous grantee partners to introduce a process that promotes trust-based philanthropy and eliminates barriers to these resources. Stay tuned for our official launch date coming soon.  

Recent highlights include WFSA’s highly informative 2024 Virtual Summit held in January, which brought together key community members and frontline service providers from across the state. Additionally, our second Day at the Capitol event in Phoenix on February 29th saw WFSA presenting its Self-Sufficiency Standard research findings to legislative representatives, marking another milestone in our advocacy efforts.  

Lastly, we’re excited to introduce a revitalized event series, bringing WFSA directly to you! This series titles “Daring Generations” will include four events held in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Yuma, Arizona and honoring exceptional women in each community. Keep an eye out for updates on the exciting developments stemming from WFSA’s renewed vision and steadfast commitment to meaningful transformation over transaction.  

What is next for WFSA?  

WFSA is thrilled to embrace and nurture the exceptional leadership talent within our team, promoting individuals who embody our mission wholeheartedly every single day. WFSA’s Board of Directors is thrilled to take this space to announce the appointment of WFSA’s new Chief Executive Officer, Katia Jones 

Katia Jones has been a steadfast presence at the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona since June 2021, initially joining as a vital member of the Development team. With a rich background spanning over 20 years in development and donor relations, Katia played an instrumental role in driving WFSA’s impact statewide. Her dedication has been unwavering, leading to her recent promotion to the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective March 2024.  

In her previous role as VP of Community Mobilization, Katia’s hallmark was her enduring commitment to transparency and her ability to foster genuine connections throughout Arizona. She prides herself on nurturing authentic relationships and practicing Community-Centric Fundraising within WFSA’s Giving Collective and beyond.  

Katia holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the esteemed W.P. Carey School at Arizona State University, reflecting her commitment to personal and professional growth. Her passion for community engagement extends beyond her professional life, as evidenced by her active involvement as a board member for the Arizona Justice Project and her longstanding membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She remains a dedicated alumna of the University of Georgia and continues to support and volunteer for various other community groups.  

Katia cherishes quality time with her loved ones, including her husband and two kids. Whether exploring new local spots in Arizona, cheering on sports teams, or engaging in lively discussions with her cherished, live-in elders, Katia’s loyalty to her family and her community shines through in every aspect of her life. As she steps into her new role as CEO of WFSA, Katia remains steadfast in her commitment to transparency, community, and fostering meaningful connections that empower and uplift all those she serves.  

WFSA’s Board of Directors wants to thank Sarah Gonzalez for serving as WFSA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer and to congratulate Katia Jones on her new role within the team. Sarah Gonzalez will continue to serve WFSA through this transition as a consultant for Katia and WFSA’s Board in the coming months.   

WFSA’s Board of Directors has also been exercising governance and networking to bring new talent and passion to our Board with new positions being filled this Summer to bring our board to full capacity and maximized support.   

As we close out this communication, we would like to extend deep gratitude to our stakeholders and community members who supported WFSA through this transition. Because of your commitment and the dedication and loyalty of WFSA’s team we can see the organization through and serve countless women and girls statewide with our collective initiatives. We want to hear from you. Please reach out to WFSA’s Board of Directors (, our new CEO, Katia Jones ( or any WFSA staff member with questions or thoughts. We value your lived experience and your partnership through the steps ahead.   

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: 

Hannah Terpening | Director of Marketing and Communications WFSA 

520-906-9484 |  

About Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona: The Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona (previously the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona) innovates to create social, political, and economic change that achieves equity for women and girls of all identities through its integrated framework of research, advocacy, grantmaking, and innovative solutions. To learn more, visit