Patty Abramson, 74, Supporter of Businesses Owned by Women, Dies


Ms. Abramson also helped create, a group of wealthy Washington-area financiers who made personal investments in early-stage businesses run by both men and women. Described by one participant as an “old girls’ club,” the alliance aimed to diversify both the pool of entrepreneurs being funded and the investors who profited from winning deals.

“Women typically haven’t been exposed to these types of networks,” Ms. Abramson said at the time.

Patricia Jo Swaab was born on Sept. 7, 1944, in Pittsburgh to Kathryn (Lifter) and Irwin Swaab. Her mother was a homemaker, her father a furniture designer and salesman. She received a bachelor’s degree from Elmira College in New York State in 1966 and a master’s degree in journalism from American University in Washington in 1975.

Her first marriage, to David B. Abramson, ended in divorce. In addition to her daughter Jenny, Ms. Abramson, who lived in Washington, is survived by her second husband, Les Silverman; another daughter, Stacy Abramson; a stepdaughter, Leigh Silverman, a theater director; a sister, Terry Schwartz; and five grandchildren.

The Women’s Growth Capital Fund opened its doors just a few years before the dot-com meltdown, and its technology-heavy portfolio was battered by losses. The fund eventually shut down and distributed its remaining money to investors, exiting with flat investment returns.

Ms. Abramson had an active retirement. She traveled, took classes at Georgetown University and served on multiple boards, including that of Theater J, a Jewish theater in Washington.

Jenny Abramson runs her own venture capital firm, Rethink Impact, which also focuses on female entrepreneurs. She and her mother spoke often, she said, about the ways in which the business world had changed for women — and the areas that remained stuck in the past.