Mamie Jackson Williams and Nancy Frazier are storytellers. As the Vice President of Development and Associate Vice President for Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, DC (PPMW), respectively, they are the conduit for PPMW to secure grants from donors.
“What I love about our field is we’re able to take our colleagues’ talent, skills and passion and describe it in high def for a donor,” Williams says. “Our organization is doing amazing work, including our small but mighty development team, but folks don’t hear about it all the time. It’s our responsibility to make sure a potential donor understands the impact [we’re having].”
Their ability to successfully convey their message and build relationships is evident by two six-figure grants Frazier closed in October. (Williams shared their success resulted in a dance party to “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang.)
“We’re hitting the fiscal year off right and that’s rewarding because it means we’re supporting the Abortion Access Fund and our Contraceptive Equity Fund,” Williams says. “Where else can you go and get rewarded for doing good things and see people rewarded for what they do?”
Consistently raising enough money to meet increasing demand takes ingenuity. Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in June, PPMW President and CEO Dr. Laura Meyers called upon Williams and Frazier to help start the Abortion Access Fund.
The solution? Williams came up with the Pink Cape Society, working to find 20 individuals willing to seed the fund with one million dollars. Within four months, Williams and the team met the goal.
“Our stance was no one will ever come to PPMW and question if they can afford care. They will be able to get the abortion care service, whether it’s needing childcare services, food or travel expenses. We’re going to make sure today, tomorrow and the next day we can provide those services to people. The Pink Cape Society supporters literally just stood up within four months and said, ‘I got you. I got your back.’”
As seen with the recent midterm elections, there is collective national support to protect abortion access and reproductive rights. Still, D.C. clinics have seen an increase in patients traveling from states with abortion bans or restrictions, like Texas, Florida and Tennessee.
“We had a situation early on where a 15-year-old came from Texas,” Frazier recalls. “She flew in alone. She came to our health center, had her procedure and flew right back out the same day. It’s mind boggling to imagine being 15 and faced with that. But once she got to our health center, we made her feel like she was coming to a place where she was safe — where we would take care of her.”
In a post-Roe era, Williams and Frazier have found their work fulfilling despite long hours that trickle well into the night, coming up with creative ways to inspire people to donate and continue to engage in activism. Their fervor for providing reproductive healthcare to all is matched by their supporters.
“It’s the connection with the actual people,” Frazier says. “We have patients, volunteers, donors and stakeholders. Seeing their engagement, activism and desire to make sure Planned Parenthood is a natural resource to all people — whatever their healthcare needs are — we feed off their energy and enthusiasm.”
Knowing she’s not only working for the larger community, but working for her little girl keeps Williams motivated.
“That’s what I hear a lot from our supporters too,” Williams says. “They are always looking ahead. They’re thinking about their kids and grandkids.”
As for what is coming up, Williams and Frazier shared that a $20 million campaign is in the works to further support abortion access. PPMW is in the process of acquiring mobile units and expanding its service portfolio, including vasectomies, throughout the region.
Thanks to Williams and Frazier, they already have a lead gift to start the campaign off strong.