In 1986, Mary Jo Pulte gathered a group of prominent Michigan women to discuss philanthropy and the serious inequities in charitable giving to women’s programs. At that time, only 3% of philanthropic dollars supported programs specifically for women and girls in the United States. Women were underrepresented in philanthropy, uneducated in financial matters and disinclined to exercise control over assets. The 30 women Mary Jo brought together founded Michigan Women’s Foundation
, the only public, statewide foundation specifically devoted to the economic self-sufficiency and personal well-being of the state's women and girls.
The Foundation has granted funds and counsel to more than 500 organizations providing exceptional programs and services for women and girls.