As part of its vital work as a grantmaker and advocate for women and girls, Chicago Foundation for Women hosts five affinity groups of diverse local women leaders: the African American, Asian American, Latina, Lesbian and Young Women's Leadership Councils.
According to the Women's Funding Network, Chicago Foundation for Women is the first women's fund in the United States to develop affinity groups of diverse women to lead community outreach efforts, setting a national precedent.
The Leadership Councils promote and expand women's philanthropy and leadership across diverse communities by:
African American Leadership Council
Co-Chairs: Robin McConney and Elaine Millsap-Parker
The influence the African American community has on popular culture and the growing incomes of African American women has increased the economic power of this population significantly. The first of the five Councils, the African American Leadership Council has produced acclaimed community-wide educational programs, and supports the Foundation’s fundraising and grantmaking efforts through the Sojourner Fund
. Women of African descent promote issues affecting women and girls in their community, including advocating on behalf of civil rights. Asian American Leadership CouncilCo-Chairs: Munira Patel and Pinky Raina
Asian American women are in the forefront of global efforts to protect the rights of women and girls, and are responsible for the continued emergence of organizations serving the needs of their community. The most ethnically diverse of the five Councils, the Asian American Leadership Council provides a rich understanding of various Asian cultures, and is a leading partner for collaborations with businesses and organizations serving Asian Americans. Women of Asian American descent promote interests related to women and girls within their community through this Council and have established the Silk Fund
in support of this goal. Latina Leadership CouncilCo-Chairs: Carla Agostinelli and Omayra Garcia
Recognizing the national population growth and upcoming change in their minority status, the Latina Leadership Council has played a major role in providing opportunities for women and girls in their community while promoting the recognition of Latinas for their contributions to social progress in this country. This Council supports the Foundation's grantmaking and fundraising goals through the Maria Mangual Unidas Fund
, and has been proactive in educating others about their community while creating a platform to discuss issues important to them. LBTQ Giving CouncilCo-Chairs: Betsy Rubinstein and Laura Stempel
In addition to representing a community that donates more to causes they care about than most other groups in this country, the Lesbian Leadership Council was the first of the five councils to create its own vehicle to support communities of interest through the Lavender Fund
. This Council provides leadership opportunities, hosts networking events, community-wide educational programming and has been a successful fundraising group within the Foundation. The Lesbian Leadership Council is inclusive of women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning. The Council focuses on issues effecting women and girls in their community which include access, representation, civil rights and equity. Young Women's Leadership CouncilCo-Chairs: Natalie Hock, Dana Kelly, Christine Kolb
The Young Women's Leadership Council is the newest and largest of the five councils and consists of women of all ethnic backgrounds (ages 18 to 30). The Council's large membership speaks to the tremendous energy and eagerness of young women to organize and take action around issues affecting their lives and to gain leadership experience. In addition to providing networking, peer-led skill building and other leadership opportunities for its members, the Council works to promote intergenerational dialogue and partnership, and in 2008 awarded its first grants from its council fund
. To join or find out more about Chicago Foundation for Women's Leadership Councils and their various activities, fill out our email contact form and select the council(s) you're interested in, or contact CFW at (312) 577-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.