TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's eUpdate
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May 2010 Edition

CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien will speak at our 25th Anniversary Luncheon on Sept. 30!
Soledad O'Brien

An award-winning journalist and anchor on CNN, O'Brien is also a working mother of four--two daughters and twin sons. Reserve your table now for our Sept. 30 luncheon. Individual tickets are not on sale at this time. If available, they will go on sale in July.

We salute working mothers
Mother's Day has passed this year, but we think there's no reason to wait 363 days to talk about the importance of moms 2010 Impact honoree Melissa Gilliam, MD, PhD with her daughterand grandmas. In this issue, we proudly salute working mothers, because a mother's work--whether paid or unpaid--is never done.

(At left: 2010 Impact Awards honoree Dr. Melissa Gilliam with her daughter.)

Working moms and...the WORKPLACE 
A new report by the Women's Economic Security Campaign, "Aiming Higher: Removing Barriers to Education, Training and Jobs for Low-Income Women" (PDF), proves that this is no "man-cession." Shelley A. Davis, our vice president of programs and advocacy, explains this in an op-ed featured at Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. Take this fact alone: As of March, the unemployment rate among single mothers was 11.3 percent (compared to 10 percent Two young women at Bright Endeavors load candles into boxesfor men and only 8.1 percent for married men). On top of that, single mothers face barriers to earning and keeping better jobs and benefits. The Chicago Sun-Times' Esther Cepeda talked about those barriers in her column, and the Washington Post's Rapid Reinvention blog recommended the report. The report also spotlights two of our grantees who have exemplary programs helping mothers gain training, education and experience. Women Employed's Clear Connections Project improves the quality and accessibility of community colleges for low-income moms. One way they do this is by using "mystery students"--like secret shoppers--who find out how easy it is to enroll and apply for critical help like child care, financial aid and career counseling. At Bright Endeavors, young mothers from age 16 to 25 get training, support and work through the group's nonprofit candle-making business. The six- to eight-month program offers one-on-one support and personal attention in a small business atmosphere, which helps young moms gain job skills, learn how to interview and develop self-esteem.

Did you know that working Latinas in Illinois face the highest wage gap--they earn just 51.4 cents for every man's dollar? Or did you know that one in three Chicago Latinas is uninsured--the highest rate of any Dr. Aida Giachello presents Latina Portrait researchethnic group? These health disparities are part of a new report, Latina Portrait (PDF), by longtime grantee Mujeres Latinas en Acción, which released the findings in front of an 80-person audience on May 10. Latina Portrait is a comprehensive research study on the current status of Chicago-area Latinas, offering culturally relevant recommendations to raise consciousness and help create solutions. We supported the report and the event as part of our McCormick Family Foundation Health Series. (At right: UIC researcher Dr. Aida Giachello--Mujeres Latinas' "health rock star"--shares information on health disparities at the event in Pilsen.)

The U.S. earned a dismal 28th place on a list of the best countries to be a mother. Save the Children's Mothers Index ranked the U.S. poorly among 43 developed nations for its high maternal and infant mortality rate, low pre-school attendance and lack of paid maternity leave. Save the Children points out that while the U.S. still fares far better than many less developed nations, we have "the least generous maternity leave policy--both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid--of any wealthy nation." The federal Family and Medical Leave Act only covers some employees and only offers unpaid leave, for up to 12 weeks.

Working moms and...HEALTH REFORM
We're still trying to figure out how federal health reform will impact mothers and their families. Reform promises to stop insurance companies from charging women more than men, excluding maternity care and refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Here's another mom-friendly change: Starting this year, reform requires new private plans to providestethoscope free preventive care--that means no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. "While some families may be able to afford private coverage, some plans--especially high-deductible ones--have such expensive co-pays that families delay preventive services," says Kathy Chan, associate director at grantee Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition. "For kids that can mean putting off important immunizations, and for women that can include annual exams and mammograms." Learn more on IMCHC's health reform website--more info is being added regularly.

Young working women may also benefit from a health reform provision: Insurance companies' family plans must offer dependent coverage until age 26. This is important since more than one in four young women (age 18 to 26) lack health insurance. Tomorrow night, learn more at Health Reform and Young Professionals, an event cosponsored by our Young Women's Leadership Council.

Good news for nursing moms: Health reform includes federal standards on the right to pump breastmilk at work, the National Partnership for Women and Families reports. Employers have to provide reasonable break time for women to express milk for up to one year after a child's birth. The law says employers must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public."

Working moms and...ELDER CARE and AGING
Is your generation feeling "sandwiched"? AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving have found that the typical caregiver in the United States is a 46-year-old woman who has some college education, works, and is spending more than 20 hours a week caring for her mother, in addition to providing housekeeping for a spouse or partner and primary care for children or grandchildren. (Our Bodies Ourselves has more.)

How much do Social Security and Medicare help? Not enough: Average annual Social Security income provides an older woman who rents her home with only 56 percent of the income required to achieve economic Ida May Fuller receives a Social Security check, 1950security, compared to 74 percent for an older man, according to Wider Opportunities for Women's Elder Economic Security Initiative (PDF). Much of that may be due to the wage gap between men and women. (The Illinois partner on this initiative is our grantee, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group). And older women's health care expenses are higher than men's, especially out-of-pocket costs. A 2009 report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that women over age 65, many of whom had private insurance in addition to Medicare, spend 17 percent of total income on health care expenses--that's one out of every six dollars! It's far higher than their male counterparts, and this gap only widens as women age. 

(Above: Ida May Fuller was the first beneficiary of recurring monthly Social Security payments. On Jan. 31, 1940, she received check 00-000-01. The photo is from 1950, showing her opening the first cost-of-living-adjusted check. Learn more at the Social Security Administration's history section)

Foundation updates and news
Congratulations to our Leadership Councils for hosting successful programs in April. On April 29 the African American Leadership Council hosted a benefit for the Sojourner Fund at Cuatro. Sojourner Fund grantee Between Friends spoke about their teen dating violence prevention program, 2010 Breaking Barriers honoreesand R&B singer Yaw performed. On April 21 the Lesbian Leadership Council offered "Building Relationships with Funders: A Primer," a free educational workshop for up-and-coming nonprofits that 40 people attended. The council plans to offer follow-up programs in the coming months--stay tuned. The Asian American Leadership Council on April 22 held the 7th Annual Breaking Barriers Awards, honoring seven outstanding Chicago-area Asian American women who are leaders in the field of environmental sustainability. Breaking Barriers was a sold-out event, and its proceeds benefit the council’s Silk Fund. And a Hula Palooza on April 8 helped the Young Women's Leadership Council raise money for its grantmaking fund, with the help of dozens of businesses that donated door prizes. Lastly, please save the date for Nicole Prichard, Natalie Evans and Ramon Duartea special June 17 performance of Teatro Luna’s "Generic Latina 2010," hosted by the Latina Leadership Council to benefit the Maria Mangual Unidas Fund.

Above left, L to R: 2010 Breaking Barriers honorees Shashank Goel (on behalf of Sumita Goel), Tipawan Truong-Quang Reed, Rashmi Ramaswamy, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, Dr. Swati Vilas Pol (with her daughter Hurshal Pol), Terry Guen and Neena Hemmady.

Above right: Nicole Prichard (steering committee co-chair) and Natalie Evans (past steering committee co-chair) of the Young Women's Leadership Council celebrate with Ramón Duarte at Hula Palooza.

Kudos to Sunny Fischer, one of CFW's founders, who has helped create the National Public Housing Museum in Chicago that will open in 2012. Sunny spent 10 years of her childhood in Bronx public housing, and as an adult she has been a strong advocate for housing rights and historic preservation. In fact, Governor Quinn recently appointed her to chair the board of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Read more in Crain's Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune.

Grantees in the news 

  • The Prevent School Violence Illinois Act (SB 3266) passed through the General Assembly. This bill comprehensively defines bullying (including cyber bullying) for the first time in Illinois law, explicitly prohibits bullying against vulnerable groups of students--including LGBTQ youth--and creates the Illinois Bullying Prevention Task Force. Our grantee the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, along with more than 50 partners in the Prevent School Violence Illinois coalition, advocated for these groundbreaking changes in Illinois law. ABC-7 covers the story.
  • Gapers Block ran a feature story on Chicago prostitution that focuses on research by Jody Raphael that was supported by the Foundation and informed by 2010 Impact Awards honoree Brenda Myers-Powell and Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, who have both survived prostitution. The two women also co-founded the Dreamcatcher Foundation, a grantee group that helps girls involved in the sex trade or at risk of sexual exploitation.
  • Our grantee Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health just released its "Sexuality Education Report and Recommendations for Illinois" (PDF). With input from nearly 500 people over 15 months, the report explains how policy makers, educators and advocates can transform sexuality education in the state--including how Illinois should take advantage of new federal funding.

Upcoming events
Visit our website calendar to see all our upcoming programs and events.

MAY 12 (Wed.): Health Reform and Young Professionals (Young Women's
     Leadership Council cosponsorship), 5:30-7:30 p.m.
MAY 13 (Thurs.): "Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South" to benefit the
Making Media Connections - June 9 & 10, 2010     Lavender Fund, 6 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. show
JUNE 9-10 (Wed.-Thurs.): Making Media Connections:
     Community Media Workshop's conference
     (20% off registration with code CFW2010)
JUNE 17 (Thurs.): Teatro Luna's "Generic Latina 2010" 
     to benefit the Maria Mangual Unidas Fund, 6:30 p.m.
     reception, 7:30 p.m. show
SEPT. 30 (Thurs.): 25th Anniversary Luncheon with
     Soledad O'Brien--tables on sale now

Community Honors
MAY 22 (Sat.): Center on Halsted: Human First gala

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