In 1986, a group of visionary women business owners founded The Atlanta Women’s Fund as part of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. In 1998, that fund had grown in importance and credibility, becoming independent as The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF). As the only public foundation in Georgia dedicated solely to women and girls, the Foundation has invested $20 million into over 350 Atlanta area nonprofit organizations that have successfully moved women and girls from poverty to economic self-sufficiency. In addition to strategic grantmaking, AWF provides leadership and philanthropic training to a diverse group of professional women to empower not only themselves, but their communities as well.
This Women’s History Month, we recognize the 6 women who work tirelessly carrying on the work. With a combined 140 years experience in the nonprofit sector, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation is fortunate to have these dedicated women on staff.
Kari B. Love, Chief Executive Officer (A)
Kari B. Love brings over thirty-one years of experience in nonprofit management, marketing fundraising and event planning to her position as the Chief Executive Officer of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
A native of Atlanta, Kari began her career in radio in the promotions/public relations/marketing areas. Twelve years later, she joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia where she became Vice President of Development and served on the executive management team for 10 years. Kari continued her career in nonprofit management as the Vice-President of Development and Communications with The Atlanta Women’s Foundation in 2014; and she has been The Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer since June of 2017.
Kari is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a major in Communications and a minor in French. She is an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta, a member of the Junior League of Atlanta Community Advisory Board, a founding board member of Friends of Georgia Radio and on the Board of the International Women’s Forum of Georgia. Kari was named one of the top 50 Non-Profit Leaders by the Atlanta Business Chronicle; recognized as one of Atlanta’s Inspiring Women by the Atlanta Dream, a member of Live Safe Resources’ Academy of Women Leaders, recognized as Dress for Success’ Women of Power and is in the Leadership Atlanta class of 2023.
Kari and her husband, Robbie, are the parents of two children, Robert (age 16) and Anna Grace (age 14); they reside in East Cobb. She is a member of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. Kari and her family enjoy camping, playing tennis and live music.
DiShonda Hughes, Executive Vice President of Mission (B)
DiShonda Hughes joined The Atlanta Women’s Foundation team in 2000. As Chief Mission Officer, she is responsible for effectively managing various grantmaking initiatives, and fostering legislative and public action that will support the elimination of generational poverty among women and girls and increasing the number of women on nonprofit boards through the Women on Board Program. She has extensive experience in grant making and grant-writing in the areas of Women’s Health, Economic Justice, Homelessness, and Prevention of Violence Against Women, and has managed the distribution approximately $24 million to local nonprofits serving women and girls impacted by poverty.
DiShonda was selected as a member of the Atlanta Civic Leadership Network Institute, and as a member of the Southeastern Council of Foundations Hull Fellows Program, established to nurture, inspire and strengthen the Southeast’s next generation of emerging leaders in philanthropy.
DiShonda currently serves a member of the Child Care Affordability Coalition, Women in Technology Advisory Board and the Grantmakers Mental Health Collaborative.
Allison “Ali” Cobb, Vice President of Development (C)
Ali Cobb leads the development efforts of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF). Prior to joining AWF in March of 2017, Ali held roles in annual giving, donor development, special events, and volunteer management with Make-A-Wish® South Carolina, Erlanger Health System Foundations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Make-A-Wish® Georgia, and the Georgia Chapter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During her time with these organizations, Ali worked on a variety of fundraising campaigns, including athletic events, black tie affairs, employee giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, direct marketing, donor societies, and more.
Ali earned an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Florida State University. Post-graduate certificates include Annual Giving from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s Madison Institute, Interaction Management from Development Dimensions International, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace from USF Muma College of Business online.
Ali resides in Smyrna with her husband Hank and dog Jake. She volunteers with Georgia State University’s WomenLEAD Program, is a member of the Midtown Atlanta Rotary Club, and attends and volunteers with Vinings Lake Church in Mableton.
April Castro, Director of Philanthropic Operations (D)
April joined The Atlanta Women’s Foundation in December 2020 as the Director of Philanthropic Operations. April has served as a fundraising services professional for many Atlanta-area educational institutions – including Oglethorpe University, Emory University School of Law, Atlanta International School, The Paideia School and the Westminster Schools. April has extensive experience with fundraising CRMs, non-profit operations and donor relations.
April has a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. April and her husband, Aras Petrulis, reside in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta.
Shandy Arwood, Director of Community Engagement (E)
Shandy Arwood joined The Atlanta Women’s Foundation in November 2019 and currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to joining AWF, Shandy worked for several large non-profits including the Georgia Chapter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Georgia, San Diego Habitat for Humanity, and The Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth. Shandy has extensive experience in volunteer management, corporate engagement, and peer-to-peer fundraising. She also has experience working with databases and analyzing and presenting data.
Shandy was born and raised in San Diego, CA and earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from San Diego State University. She moved to the Atlanta area in 2002 after meeting her husband, Eddie. They lived in Atlanta for nine years before moving to San Diego, then to Fort Worth, TX then back to Atlanta. They have a daughter in middle school and two dogs. In her spare time, Shandy likes to spend time with friends and read.
Karen Dobkin, Director of Finance and Operations (F)
Karen first started to work with The Atlanta Women’s Foundation in Nov 2000 as a part-time Accountant. She continued in that role until May 2005 when the role became full-time. Karen couldn’t stay away too long and came back to work with The Atlanta Women’s Foundation in Sept 2018. Since then, she is now full-time as the Director of Finances and Operations.
Karen has two Bachelor’s degrees: Accounting and Finance, both from Florida State University. She became a Certified Public Accountant in Aug 1996. Karen, her husband and three daughters live in Dunwoody.