Each day, more than 300,000 women in our community struggle to put food on the table, to keep themselves and their children safe and healthy, and to lift themselves up from poverty and lack of opportunity.

We are about them.

We work to make a region - and a world - in which all women and girls have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and live in safe, just, and healthy communities.




We evaluate the needs of women and girls who are living at the margins of success in our society.


We seek out and bring together women who have the power to make a difference and organizations that offer proven or innovative solutions.


We raise money to fund those solutions, and we develop women's capacity to drive change at every level, both within those organizations and beyond them.


Chicago Foundation for Women is a grantmaking organization dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for women and girls in the greater Chicago area. To support our philanthropy, the Foundation promotes increased investment in women and girls, raises awareness about their issues and potential, and develops them as leaders and philanthropists.


We value - in ourselves and in every organization we support -  the core principles of equality, empowerment, diversity, collaboration, and integrity.


We believe that equality is a universal human right, and we uphold respect and dignity as guiding principles in all our work.


We believe in the right of individuals to make choices and have control over their minds, bodies and spirits


We value the strength and wisdom that come from all voices and embrace the complexities of communities.


We affirm the transformative power of collective efforts and the importance of having women and girls engaged in issues that affect their lives.


We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and level of accountability.


In 1984, four leaders of Chicago’s philanthropic community - Marjorie Craig Benton, Sunny Fischer, Iris J. Krieg, and Lucia Woods Lindley - launched a series of planning groups that laid the financial and programmatic groundwork for what would become Chicago Foundation for Women.

From left to right: Iris J. Krieg, Lucia Woods Lindley, Sunny Fischer, Marjorie Craig Benton

The four women shared a vision. They knew that lack of economic opportunity, poor access to reproductive and other health services, domestic violence, and a host of other issues daily threatened the well-being of thousands of women in Chicago, and, by extension, thousands of families. They realized that only a tiny percentage of philanthropic dollars - just 3 percent in 1984 - were being spent to address women's real and specific needs. And they knew that women were underrepresented in philanthropy, unaccustomed to wielding the power to decide what issues were important and direct funding to where it could do the most good.

Working their social and business networks, tapping their own experience, they reached out to women who, like them, wanted to transform society and their own place in it.

By the end of that first year, these women had incorporated the Foundation, had elected its first board of directors, and had begun fundraising. And by spring of 1986, the Foundation made its first grants, totaling $50,000.

The principles that guided the development of the Foundation still guide its operations today.


We believe that when women and girls are secure, whole communities are made better.


  • Wendy A. Manning

  • Harlene Ellin

  • Munira Patel

  • Courtney VanLonkhuyzen

  • Wendy K. White Eagle
    Chair Elect

  • Trina M. Fresco

  • Kathleen Johnson Pope

  • Debra Warner

  • Gabrielle Sigel

  • Virginia R. Holt

  • Nicole R. Robinson

  • Blair Wellensiek

  • Kathryn G. Kennedy

  • Cheryle R. Jackson

  • Robin Wolkoff

  • Nicholas J. Brunick

  • Nancy Juda

  • Patricia C. Slovak

  • Harold Woodridge

  • Adela Cepeda

  • Tina Manikas

  • Kelly Smith-Haley

  • Nannette V. Zander

  • Valerie Colletti

  • Nancy M. Olson

  • Jennifer Steans

  • Wendy A. Manning
  • Harlene Ellin
  • Munira Patel
  • Courtney VanLonkhuyzen
  • Wendy K. White Eagle
    Chair Elect
  • Trina M. Fresco
  • Kathleen Johnson Pope
  • Debra Warner
  • Gabrielle Sigel
  • Virginia R. Holt
  • Nicole R. Robinson
  • Blair Wellensiek
  • Kathryn G. Kennedy
  • Cheryle R. Jackson
  • Robin Wolkoff
  • Nicholas J. Brunick
  • Nancy Juda
  • Patricia C. Slovak
  • Harold Woodridge
  • Adela Cepeda
  • Tina Manikas
  • Kelly Smith-Haley
  • Nannette V. Zander
  • Valerie Colletti
  • Nancy M. Olson
  • Jennifer Steans


  • K. Sujata

  • Monique Brunson Jones
    Director of Programs

  • Katy Thomas
    Major Gifts Officer

  • Emily Dreke
    Director of Development and Communications

  • Sophia Olazaba
    Foundation Coordinator

  • Elizabeth Rivera
    Development Associate

  • Linda L. Wagner
    Vice President of Finance and Administration

  • Ilda Lagunas
    Manager of Special Events and Annual Giving

  • Agnes Meneses
    Director of Strategic Initiatives

  • Bernadine Wims
    Executive Coordinator

  • Eli Marsh
    Philanthropic Education Officer

    (312) 577-2825
  • Lora York
    Program Officer

  • K. Sujata
  • Monique Brunson Jones
    Director of Programs
  • Katy Thomas
    Major Gifts Officer
  • Emily Dreke
    Director of Development and Communications
  • Sophia Olazaba
    Foundation Coordinator
  • Elizabeth Rivera
    Development Associate
  • Linda L. Wagner
    Vice President of Finance and Administration
  • Ilda Lagunas
    Manager of Special Events and Annual Giving
  • Agnes Meneses
    Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • Bernadine Wims
    Executive Coordinator
  • Eli Marsh
    Philanthropic Education Officer
  • Lora York
    Program Officer


Since 1985, Chicago Foundation for Women has given more than 3,000 grants totaling over $24 million and helped thousands of women and girls step up to become agents of social change. It is thanks to the generous investments of thousands that this work is possible.

Giving Councils

Giving Councils bring fresh ideas, unique concerns and perspectives, and new energy to philanthropic leadership and advocacy. The councils provide a basic infrastructure that enables women to

  • focus on an underserved constituency,
  • identify the issues that matter,
  • develop a plan of action to raise awareness and funds, and
  • target those funds to programs that can move the needle.

Giving Councils break barriers, within the Foundation and for the women and girls they represent. They also break ground: according to the Women’s Funding Network, the Foundation’s Giving Councils are the very first such


LBTQ Giving Council

Eli March, Co-chair

Laura Stempel, Co-chair

North Shore Giving Circle


Women of Color Giving Council
Shaquita Jarrett, Co-chair
Joyce Donaly, Co-chair

Young Women's Giving Council

Sarah Hurwit, Co-chair

Dawn Reese, Co-chair





Alumnae Council

Through their participation in the Alumnae Council, former members of the Foundation’s board of directors continue to influence the lives of women and girls and contribute to the Foundation’s success. Council members’ knowledge and experience are an invaluable resource to current board and staff; their ongoing affiliation with Chicago Foundation for Women is an honor.

Council membership is limited to those who have served as Foundation directors.

* Founders of Chicago Foundation for Women


Ellen Benjamin



Juju Lien



Coni Batlle

María C. Bechily

Ruth K. Belzer

Marjorie Craig Benton*

Allegra E. Biery

Saundra Bishop

Jeanne M. Branson

Betsy Brill

Dee Clancy

Fay Clayton

Vickii Coffey

Marge Collens

Doris Conant

Judith S. Cottle

Susan Crown

Barbara Dillard

Barbara Engel

Sondra Berman Epstein

Edith H. Falk

Sunny Fischer*

Polly A. Flinn

Rita M. Glass, Ed.D.

Radhika Sharma Gordon

Marguerite H. Griffin

Millicent Holmes

Mae P. Hong

Barbara Howard

Kathy Hurley

Polly Kawalek

Barbara Levy Kipper

Sally Meyers Kovler

Rachel E. Kraft

Iris J. Krieg *

Leslie Landis

Judy Langford

Juju Lien

Lucia Woods Lindley*

Lois J. Lipton

Marcena W. Love

Challis M. Lowe

Gail Ludewig

Bertha G. Magaña

Susan Graf Marineau

Patricia R. McMillen

Dana M. Mikstay

Jo Moore

Patty McDermott Moore

Joyce E. Moran

Mary F. Morten

Suzanne Musikantow

Tamara L. Nelson

Grace Allen Newton

Darlene M. Oliver

Lisa C. Page

Diana Palomar

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

Celene Peurye-Hissong

Marianne Philbin

Jamie Phillippe

Carmen Prieto

Carol Prins

Susan Pritzker

Sylvia Puente

Beth E. Richie

Janice E. Rodgers

Barbara Rose

Sheli Z. Rosenberg

Ruth M. Rothstein

Jane M. Saks

Juanita Salvador-Burris

Edna J. Schade

Margot Levin Schiff

Mita D. Shah

Rebecca Sive

Joan F. Small

Deirdre Joy Smith

Donna M. Stone

Donna J. Thompson

Susana Vasquez

Vanessa J. Weathersby

Patricia Yuzawa-Rubin


Professional Advisory Council

Our work would not be possible without the advice and assistance of the lawyers, accountants, financial and insurance planners, brokers and money managers, and other estate planners who comprise the Chicago Foundation for Women Professional Advisory Council.

For more information on the council, please contact Emily Dreke, Director of Development and Communications, at edreke@cfw.org or (312) 577-2842.

Members as of October 2014



Janice E. Rodgers
Quarles & Brady LLP

Chad A. Tischer
CFP, DiMeo Schneider &
Associates, L.L.C.



Karim HK Ahamed
CFA, HPM Partners LLC


Ashley E. Bebeau
Strategic Wealth Partners, LLC


Patricia H. Besser
US Trust, Bank of America Private
Wealth Management


Lucy Bickford
Schiff Hardin LLP


Amanda K. Blaising
Quarles & Brady LLP


Betsy Brill
Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd.


David Butts
Atlantic Trust Private Wealth


Terri L. Cable
PNC Bank


Catherine Cain
Guaranteed Rate


Meridith G. Cannon
Clark Hill PLC


Laura J. Clark
CFA, Oxford Financial Group, Ltd.


Regina Cross
Goldman Sachs & Co.


Shauntel Dalton-Leeson
JP Morgan Securities, LLC


Debra M. Doyle
Greenberg Traurig, LLP


Marlene C. Franke
Marlene Atelier


Asha Goldstein
Cedar Hill Wealth Management


Clare Golla
Bernstein Global Wealth



Gina Forgianni Gray
Perkins Coie LLP


Marguerite H. Griffin
Northern Trust Company


Leigh Harter
Schwartz Insurance Solutions


Shannon L. Hartzler
Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered


James R. Hellige
Foley & Lardner LLP


Dianne Hively
Hobson Advisors LLC


Tiffany Irving
US Trust


Benetta Jenson
JPMorgan Chase


Christine Jordan
Rappaport Reiches Capital
Management, LLC


Dannyel Kafer
Proven Business Systems


 Kim Kamin
Gresham Partners, LLC


Neil T. Kawashima
McDermott, Will & Emery LLC


Kathryn G. Kennedy
HPM Partners


James F. Kinoshita, CFA
PNC Wealth Management


H. Debra Levin
Seyfarth Shaw LLP


Kathleen McDonald
Northwestern Mutual Financial


Jeanine Meola
Fairpointe Capital


Lisa Milczarek
Bank Leumi


Laura Miller
Plante Moran


Tina Davis Milligan
BMO Financial Group

Anita Mital
Northwestern Mutual Financial


Deborah Moline
Highland Capital Brokerage


Donna E. Morgan
Mayer Brown LLP


John Newlin
Jenner & Block LLP


Meaghan O’Brien
New York Life


Abosede Odunsi
Infinity Strategic Group


Celene Peurye
Focused Philanthropy


Rima D. Ports
Northern Trust


Shari Greco Reiches
Rappaport Reiches Capital
Management, LLC


Jeff Rode
Segall Bryant & Hamill


Tom Schroeder
Prather Ebner


Christine Sibrava
Whitnell & Co.


Paul A. Svoboda
Sidley Austin LLP


Mary Lee Turk
Levin Schreder & Carey Ltd.


Sally L. Venverloh
US Trust


Kristin Carlson Vogen
Oak Park River Forest
Community Foundation


Melanie L. Witt
Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella


Deborah Lust Zaluda, J.D.
The Bensman Group


Kenneth Zimmer
MassMutual Chicago



Alphawood Foundation

Domestic violence collaboration


Chicago Area Donors to End Domestic Violence (CADEDV) Chicago Council on Global Affairs

State of the World’s Mothers


Crossroads Fund, Woods Fund Chicago, Chicago Community Trust

Cultivate, a joint project to develop a cadre of energized, well-connected women of color, leaders from across the social and economic justice movements, whose collective voice and power can be leveraged to brighten the region’s future.

Groundswell Fund

The Catalyst Fund: Resources for Women of Color in Reproductive Justice

Mujeres Latinas en Acción and the Illinois Women for Compassionate Immigration Reform



Pierce Family Foundation

Skill Share Program, encouraging peer sharing among nonprofit organizations.


Polk Bros. Foundation

Polk Brothers Fund for Emerging Organizations

Women’s Foundation of California, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Women’s Funding Network 

Women’s Economic Security Campaign (WESC)








*Measured by size of organization’s annual budget.



Audited financial statements

We post our audited financial statements to the site as they become available. Generally our financial statements are posted during the summer of the following year.
2013 Audited financial statement (PDF)
2013 Form 990 (PDF)


Chicago Foundation for Women
One East Wacker Dr., Suite 1620
Chicago, Illinois 60601

312 577 2801 t
312 577 2802 f
312 577 2803 tty
email: info@cfw.org

Media inquiries
Sharonda A. Glover, Manager of Communications
312 577 2824

Questions about giving or getting involved
Emily Dreke, Director of Development and Communications
312 577 2842

Questions about applying for a grant
Lora York, Program Officer
312 577 2814

Get informed, get involved
Find out what's happening to women in the Chicago region. Sign up to received GoWomen, our monthly enewsletter, and updates about events. Or step up and make some new connections while you make a difference.



Thank you for your interest in the Chicago Foundation for Women. We currently have no internships or employment opportunities available.