Metrowest Women's Fund Community Ambassadors

Metrowest Women’s Fund (MWF) Community Ambassadors are grassroots volunteers who spread the word in their community about the Fund and the needs of women and girls. Consider joining our team as a MWF Community Ambassador in your town! Contact us with about your questions and interests.

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Jaqueline DeFrancesco

MWF Community Ambassador-at-Large

My professional goal has always been to make the world a better place. I am so fortunate that my background in nonprofit philanthropy has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about all the incredible work being done across the nonprofit sector. Particularly in the United States, nonprofits serve a critical need and I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware and support organizations that align with your values.

Supporting women and participating in conversations around gender equity is a passion of mine and connects deeply to my value around gender equality. I am fortunate to have a family of strong women who lead by example and shine a light on inequality within the community. Being a women is incredibly difficult, no matter what your background and circumstance. The challenge is arguably much greater for young women, particularly given our current culture and recent events around the rights a woman has to her own body. We cannot have equality or a just society unless girls are provided equal opportunity and support. The Metrowest Women’s fund is an incredible organization with passionate leaders who are making a difference in the lives of young women in the Metrowest community and I am honored to be an advocate and support them in this work. I look forward to partnering with them to support and serve young women in the Metrowest community.

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Mahsa Ghavamian

MWF Community Ambassador - Hopkinton

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, I moved to the United States right after graduating from high school. My parents insisted that I move to the United States to achieve a better quality of life and top-notch education. Having been born and raised in the Middle East, I have first-hand experience of the challenges women face every day.  In my years of professional experience, I have been asked to “watch my tone” and “know my place.” 

The truth is that women are undervalued and overlooked. Women can often be the most educated and capable person in the group, yet we take a back seat because of our gender. Therefore, as an empowered educated woman (and mother of a very strong 10-year-old girl), I am delighted and honored to be serving as an Ambassador for Metrowest Women’s Fund. I hope that with our efforts, we can encourage community members and leaders to invest in the futures of all the daughters through education and raising awareness around critical issues we face every day.

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Alicia Larkin

MWF Community Ambassador - Sudbury

I am honored and humbled to join the Metrowest Women’s Fund as an ambassador. I grew up in Massachusetts, raised by a single mother who immigrated to the area from the Canary Islands in Spain. While we always had enough and I have fond memories of a happy childhood, I saw my mom's daily struggles of raising children on a very tight budget. My mom saved diligently when she could but I know that she also had to work the extra jobs to help keep us in the enrichment activities such as violin and flamenco dancing lessons which were very important to her. She always sacrificed her time to bring us opportunities. 

I know how fortunate we are to have had her raise us, and I’m excited to pay it forward by working with the Metrowest Women’s Fund which helps bring resources to single working mothers who continue to live with the daily struggles I observed growing up. I hope to make a significant impact by leveraging my experience and my networks to bring awareness, build community and help raise funds to help these local women children.

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Diahanne Lucas

MWF Community Ambassador - Sudbury

When I learned about the Metrowest Women’s Fund and their mission – to invest in the needs of women and girls in three focus areas: Education, Girls: Our Next Generation, and Safety from Violence – they immediately had my attention and I wanted to participate any way I could. Plus, I was shocked to learn from founders Rachel Sagan and Rebecca Parkhill that only 1.6% of all philanthropic giving is dedicated to the issues of women and girls. 

I have always been an active volunteer for various causes but the opportunity to serve on the Metrowest Women’s Fund's grant allocations committee, reviewing funding requests from area organizations, has really opened my eyes to the tremendous need in our communities.  During the pandemic lockdown, nonprofit agencies that provide legal services and support for domestic violence victims saw a dramatic upswing in demand for their advocacy. So it was natural for the Metrowest Women’s Fund to give support to those groups who provide safe spaces and emergency shelter to women and their children in unstable and possibly volatile situations. The Metrowest Women's Fund has also partnered with the Center for Social Research at Framingham State University to conduct research for the report, a Needs Assessment of Middle School Girls: Metrowest. I'm the mother of a ten-year old, almost middle school girl, so it was important for me to think about how she and her peers are doing at a critical time and learning about what their concerns are around their mental health, self-image, and social relationships. I grew up in Sudbury and I returned to the community to raise my children so I am honored to be an ambassador for the Metrowest Women's Fund. I stand by the work they are doing to make all of our cities and towns a better place for women and girls.  

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Virginia Meaney

MWF Community Ambassador - Marlborough

Having served several terms on the Board of the Boston Women's Fund, I am quite familiar with the philanthropic funding gaps that exist for women and girl's programs. As a resident of Marlborough, I am honored to be an Ambassador for the Metrowest Women's Fund. Research has shown that philanthropic funding for women and girl's programs is less than 2% of available funds. The impact is particularly burdensome on low-income women and girls and women and girls of color. 

The Metrowest Women's Fund was created to raise resources to invest in our women and girls. Several years ago, after much deliberation and conversation, Rachel Sagan and Rebecca Parkhill decided to turn thoughts about unmet needs in suburban Boston into action. They "believed they could, so they did" and co-founded the Metrowest Women's Fund. Rachel and Rebecca share a passion for changing lives and improving communities. I am so pleased to be on this journey with them.

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Nasiba Mannan

MWF Community Ambassador - Hopkinton

I am honored and humbled to join the Metrowest Women’s Fund as an ambassador. The Women and Girls Index, an index that measures charitable giving to women and girls’ causes in the U.S., published in December 2020 that the share of funding for women and girls’ organizations remains only 1.6% of all philanthropic giving. The funding impact is even worse for low-income women, single moms, and women and girls of color. 

I grew up in Bangladesh, in South Asia, where many things we take for granted here are not a given. I know how fortunate we are in Metrowest. I also know that we must work every day to help improve the lives of women and girls in our community. 

I hope I can make a significant impact by leveraging my experience and networks. As an ambassador, I look forward to building a larger and more inclusive cohort to aid all women and girls and help them achieve their full potential. We can increase outreach in community building, raise awareness of available funding, help identify gaps in access, and find ways to bridge those gaps.

When we have enough ourselves, we should try to build a bigger table so that every person has a seat. In that spirit, let us keep building that bigger table which includes all women and girls in Metrowest.