Non-profit

Independent Women’s Forum

Website:

www.iwf.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

54-1670627

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $2,954,216
Expenses: $4,310,866
Assets: $1,576,781

The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) is a right-of-center nonprofit organization that focuses on policy concerning women. The forum  grew out of the “Women for Judge Thomas” group, which supported the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. [1]

The group adopted its current name in 1992, and regularly advocates on matters relating to the U.S. Supreme Court and in support of free-market policies regarding taxation, the American regulatory system, the federal budget, health care laws, and the education system. [2] [3]

Background

The Independent Women’s Forum is a right-of-center women’s organization which argues that free-market policies benefit women. [4] IWF is affiliated with Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), an advocacy organization. [5]

IWF grew out of a group known as “Women for Judge Thomas,” which formed in 1991 to support Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. [6]

The IWF was launched under its current name in 1992 by conservative activists Barbara Olson and Rosalie Silberman. Lynne Cheney, the wife of then-Defense Secretary and later Vice President Dick Cheney, was among the founding members. [7]

Leadership

Carrie L. Lukas is the president of the Independent Women’s Forum. She is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism. Previously, she was a domestic policy analyst for the House Republican Policy Committee. She also previously worked for the libertarian Cato Institute. [8]

Heather Higgins is the chairwoman of the IWF board. She is also the CEO of Independent Women’s Voice. Higgins had a career in journalism as a former editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and as former assistant editor at the Public Interest magazine. [9]

Amber Schwartz is executive vice president of IWF. Previously, she worked for the right-of-center Heritage Foundation on outreach and educational campaigns. She is also a former director of donor relations at the Maryland Public Policy Institute. [10]

Victoria Coley is the vice president of communications for IWF. She was previously a producer at Fox News. [11]

Somerlyn Cothran is the IWF senior vice president of investor relations. She is the former president and a board member of the Ada City Schools Foundation. She has been a board member of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and Mama T’s Homeless Shelter. [12]

Issues and Advocacy

The Independent Women’s Forum focuses its advocacy initiatives on taxation, the American regulatory system, the federal budget, health care laws, and the education system and how policies in these areas affect American families and the economy. [13]

IWF held a march in Washington in October 2020 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court but was confronted by a large group of protesters from far-left organizations including Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. IWF President Carrie Lukas said that protesters harassed IWF march attendees and even rushed the stage to confront IWF speakers. [14]

In March 2020, Heather Higgins, the chairwoman of the IWF and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, spoke at a Leadership Institute event. There, she said the IWF had produced a memo that was used by U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to explain her vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Higgins said the same memo, designed to support Kavanaugh’s nomination without alienating supporters of the #MeToo movement, was also used by other House and Senate Republicans, as well as commentators on Fox News. [15]

In June 2021, IWF advocated on behalf of female athletes that were losing their place on sports teams to biological males who identified as transgender women. [16]

The IWF established the Independent Women’s Law Center in 2019 to advocate in courts and in Congress for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and freedom of association. [17] In 2021, the IWF also launched its Center for Economic Opportunity, which seeks to educate the public on how government policies impact individuals and the economy. [18]

Financial Backing

The Independent Women’s Forum has received funding from some right-of-center organizations. In 2018, the Judicial Education Project, the research arm of the Judicial Crisis Network, gave $300,000 to the IWF. [19] Donors Trust, a right-leaning provider of donor-advised fund accounts, gave $792,000 in 2017 and $625,000 in 2018 to IWF. [20]

IWF has many corporate sponsors as well. The brochure from the IWF and Independent Women’s Voice 2019 gala lists private and non-profit sponsors including Facebook, Juul, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the American Beverage Association, the Walton Family Foundation, Karen Wright, and Amway. The gala was also funded by Dick DeVos, the former Amway CEO and the husband of then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. [21]

References

  1. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  2. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  3. Independent Women’s Forum. Cause IQ. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/independent-womens-forum,541670627/ ^
  4. Independent Women’s Forum. Cause IQ. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/independent-womens-forum,541670627/ ^
  5. Independent Women’s Forum. State Policy Network. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://spn.org/organization/independent-womens-forum/ ^
  6. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  7. Walsh, Joan. “Meet the ‘Feminists’ Doing the Koch Brothers’ Dirty Work.” The Nation. August 18, 2016. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/meet-the-feminists-doing-the-koch-brothers-dirty-work/ ^
  8. Carrie Lukas. Independent Women’s Forum. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/people/carrie-lukas/ ^
  9. Heather Higgins. Independent Women’s Forum. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/people/heather-higgins/ ^
  10. [1] Amber Schwartz. Independent Women’s Forum. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/people/amber-schwartz/ ^
  11. Victoria Coley. Independent Women’s Forum. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/people/victoria-coley/ ^
  12. Somerlyn Cothran. Independent Women’s Forum. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/people/somerlyn-cothran/ ^
  13. Independent Women’s Forum. Cause IQ. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/independent-womens-forum,541670627/ ^
  14. Lukas, Carrie. “Women’s March Doesn’t Respect Women Who Don’t Think Like Them.” National Review. October 19, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/womens-march-doesnt-respect-women-who-dont-think-like-them/ ^
  15. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  16. Olohan, Mary Margaret. “Athletes Fighting Biological Males In Women’s Sports Take Their Stories To Washington.” July 30, 2021. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://dailycaller.com/2021/07/30/cindy-hyde-smith-cynthia-monteleone-independent-womens-forum-joni-ernst-marsha-blackburn/ ^
  17. Press Release. “IWF Launches Independent Women’s Law Center.” September 30, 2019. Accessed August 7, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/iwf-launches-independent-womens-law-center-300927092.html  ^
  18. Press Release. “Independent Women’s Forum Announces the Launch of the Center for Economic Opportunity.” April 5, 2021. Accessed August 7, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/independent-womens-forum-announces-the-launch-of-the-center-for-economic-opportunity-301261421.html ^
  19. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  20. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^
  21. Moran, Greta. “The Dark Money-Funded Women’s Group Rallying Behind Amy Coney Barrett.” The Intercept. October 24, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2020/10/24/amy-coney-barrett-women-group-dark-money/ ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Stop Corporate Tyranny
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1993

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,954,216 $4,310,866 $1,576,781 $2,350,197 N $2,950,987 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,353,840 $1,380,044 $668,353 $85,119 N $1,377,532 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,163,047 $1,072,604 $715,658 $106,218 N $1,183,823 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $709,757 $1,053,256 $558,067 $39,070 N $723,427 $0 $0 $158,851 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $4,427,773 $3,785,763 $920,633 $58,137 N $4,396,927 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $826,254 $601,823 $266,029 $45,543 N $834,348 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Independent Women’s Forum

    1875 I ST NW STE 500
    WASHINGTON, DC 20006-5425