Always a Logger: Maria Kolby-Wolfe ’92
Over the past 10 years, Maria Kolby- Wolfe ’92 has devoted her time and skills to a range of Seattle-area arts and social justice organizations. While the nonprofits she’s worked with are varied, they all have a shared vision, she says: “They all want people to have equal access to all the opportunities that should be afforded to everyone.”
Kolby-Wolfe, in working as both a staff development director and volunteer board member, has seized every opportunity to put into practice values that were shaped on the Puget Sound campus, in Nancy Bristow’s African American History class. “It’s the idea that, even though you find yourself in a world that’s not right, you do everything you can to make it better,” she explains.
For the past six years, Kolby-Wolfe has volunteered with TeamChild, which provides free civil legal advocacy to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. She worked at Path with Art, which uses the power of art to bring dignity, awareness, and healing to people struggling with homelessness. And during her recent tenure as director of development and communications at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the organization successfully reunited 200 asylum-seekers in Washington state who’d been separated from their children at the U.S./Mexico border. “The work we did mattered,” she says. Kolby-Wolfe wasn’t looking for a new job when the Washington Women’s Foundation came calling in February 2021. She signed on as president and CEO, relishing the opportunity to help the 26-year-old grantmaking collective of women diversify its membership and restructure its approach to giving, in order to address racial and gender inequities in the community and promote much-needed systemic changes.
“When all those who identify as women come together and pool their resources,” she says, “they can teach one another, make greater change, and take bigger actions in our world.”