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In the fall of 2003, a group of West Michigan women who were motivated to respond to the lack of progressive candidates and policies in the area formed the Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan (PWA). These women combined their considerable experience with political fundraising and organizing civic activities to establish West Michigan’s first and only women-led, non-partisan, independent, and multi-issue political action committee (PAC) dedicated to progressive issues. Their goal was to impact elections through fundraising and educational programming while increasing women’s political leadership in electoral politics, women donating. 


Since the time of its founding, PWA raised significant funds, endorsed candidates at all levels of government, and offered educational programming in accordance with our commitment to progressive political values. The results have been impressive. 


PWA has helped elect and re-elect female office holders including:

Michigan’s first woman senator, Debbie Stabenow

Michigan’s first woman governor, Jennifer Granholm 

Grand Rapid’s first woman mayor, Rosalynn Bliss

District 76’s first woman state representative, Winnie Brinks  


PWA has provided innovative and compelling educational programs featuring respected individuals with national reputations, including:


Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times 

Richard Holbrooke, former U.N. Ambassador

Kerry Eleveld, LGBT journalist and activist

Ellen Malcolm, the co-founder of Emily’s List

Deepa Iyer, award-winning author of We Too Sing America

We are grateful to our founders whose vision to create a unique, independent and progressive organization has continued sustained us: Christine Albertini, Micki Benz, Joan Bowman, Sharon Handy, Phyllis Hooyman, Kathy Humphrey, Helga Kleinschmidt, Deb Mankoff, Noreen Myers, Kate Pew Wolters, Bette Sebastian, Cindy Sharp, Meg Sorenson and Melvene Tardy. 

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