TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's eUpdate

October 2010 Edition

Why there were starfish at lunch 
When CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien was in Haiti during the aftermath of January's earthquake, she was stunned both by the devastation and by the energy of the volunteers who worked long hours with few resources. When she asked them how they Soledad O'Brien speaks onstage at our 25th Anniversary Luncheonpushed on in spite of the almost unimaginable ruin and despair, person after person referenced the starfish story: The tide is going out on a beach covered in starfish, and one woman is walking along throwing starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Another person walks by and asks why she bothers when she can’t save them all, and she replies, as she throws another starfish into the water, "I made a difference for that one."

O'Brien shared this story at our 25th Anniversary Luncheon on Sept. 30 to remind us of the importance of the work made possible by Chicago Foundation for Women. Our luncheon was a resounding success, celebrating our anniversary and raising money to continue our work into the future.

Thanks to all the other inspirational speakers at the event: our board chair Gail Ludewig, luncheon co-chair Lynne C. Inman, interim president Merri Ex, board chair-elect and luncheon co-chair Andie Kramer, Sharmili Majmudar from grantee Rape Victim Advocates, Maria Pesqueira from grantee Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Fay Clayton from our Alumnae Council, Drea Hall from grantee Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Sharmila Rao Thakkar from our board and our Asian American Leadership Council.
Donate now in honor of our 25th Anniversary Luncheon!
Watch a slideshow of photos from our history, including many of our donors and grantees. We've also posted a few pictures from the event, with more to come. If you're inspired by our accomplishments and want to help us continue our work for years to come, please make a donation in honor of our 25th Anniversary Luncheon.

New report on child care
"Child Care Matters" coverThe U.S. Census just released 2009 data on poverty, and the numbers are staggering: 38.5 percent of female-headed households with children were living in poverty last year. That's just $18,310 for a family of three. One key strategy to help these women attain economic security is affordable, quality child care--a point detailed in a new report by the Women's Economic Security Campaign, "Child Care Matters: Building Economic Opportunity for Low-Income Women." Without affordable and reliable child care, the report says, low-income working mothers in the U.S.--72 percent of whom have children under age six--have little chance of finding good jobs and staying employed. The Washington Post's Avis Thomas-Lester featured the report in her Sept. 27 "Rapid Reinvention" column.

"Child Care Matters" spotlights two CFW grantees. COFI's POWER-PAC members in their orange shirtsIllinois Action for Children developed the Community Connections program to give children receiving informal home-based care the chance to attend state-sponsored pre-school part-time, which vastly improves their developmental outcomes. Community Organizing and Family Issues hosts POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew--Policy Action Council, pictured at right), a forceful group of low-income African American and Latina mothers and grandmothers who have helped increase preschool enrollment in their communities.

Upcoming autumn events
Stand up for girls! On Oct. 7, we are cosponsoring a morning panel hosted by our Girls in the Game logograntee Girls in the Game (GIG), which provides sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition, health education and leadership development to girls, especially girls of color, to enhance their overall health and well-being. At GIG's first conference, "Stand Up for Girls," you'll hear from public health experts as well as young women themselves about the importance of ensuring girls' health today, tomorrow and for a lifetime. This free event includes breakfast and is limited to 100 people, so RSVP today.

Relax! Our Leadership Councils have five upcoming events that give you five different strategies to unwind and reduce stress--all are welcome to attend:

  1. Come to bowling night. Knock down some pins with the Young Women’s Leadership Council this Thursday, Oct. 7 atBowling ball hitting pins Diversey River Bowl. If you can "spare some change" for the council's grantmaking fund, it's just $30 for three hours of bowling (including shoe rental) as well as pizza and soda.
  2. Eat chocolate and learn about your body. The Lesbian Leadership Council is co-sponsoring "Sex, Chocolate and Your Pelvic Floor," an Oct. 13 workshop on pelvic health and sexual knowledge led by the Women's Health Foundation, our grantee. Advance tickets are $25, and the event is 6-9 p.m. at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville. 
  3. Find balance. On Oct. 19 from 6-8 p.m., the Asian American Leadership Council is hosting its second Achieving Balance workshop with Tanuja Jagernauth, licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbologist. Registration is $5-25 on a sliding scale.
  4. Plan your financial future. On Nov. 4 from 6-7:30 p.m., the Young Women’s Leadership Council hosts a panel, "Financing Your Future: Strategies for Success." Learn how young women can make smart financial decisions today to increase their opportunities in the future. Suggested donation of $10. 
  5. Mix and mingle at M Lounge. The Latina Leadership Council invites members, prospective members and friends to a casual after-work mixer on Nov. 10. From 5:30 to 7 p.m. enjoy live jazz, complimentary appetizers and drink specials. Attendance is free but RSVPs are required.

Save women's lives! The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, our grantee, is hosting "A Call to Action to Save Women's Lives" on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. The rally and march will draw attention to breast cancer disparities among women of color. Due to state budget cuts, free mammograms are currently funded for only 1 in 8 uninsured women over 40 in Illinois--and too many women of color are dying. CFW sponsors this event through our Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation Health Series.

Watch a documentary on women's health and the environment! On Oct. 19, we're co-hosting a film screening at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Living Downstream. This Living Downstream film posterfeature-length documentary is based on the life and work of Sandra Steingraber, PhD, a leading expert on the effects of environmental toxins on women's health--including the problems here in Illinois, where she grew up. Meet Steingraber and filmmaker Chanda Chevannes and buy a signed copy of Steingraber's research-packed book that inspired the film. Tickets are $10 online or in-person at Women and Children First bookstore.

Meet the woman behind the pink ribbon! On Nov. 8, the Union League Club of Chicago Author’s Group welcomes Nancy Brinker, the Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and author of a memoir, Promise Me. Ms. Brinker will tell the moving and inspirational story of her transformation from bereaved sister to the undisputed leader of the ongoing international movement to end breast cancer. Chicago Foundation for Women is offering a limited number of tickets for $35 to the lunch and reading.

Grantees in the news

Vote for this martini and help CFW get $5,000!
The Apple Sage Martini by Flatwater Restaurant

Whether you're a cocktail aficionado or not, check out this contest: If the Apple Sage Martini (above) from Flatwater Restaurant wins, CFW will get a $5,000 prize! Vote now and spread the word.

Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed for 50 young women at the Illinois Youth Center Warrenville, an all-female juvenile detention center--and the young women also shared their original songs, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Fabulous Females program of grantee Storycatchers Theatre sang portions of their upcoming musical for CSO director Riccardo Muti and two CSO chorus members, Elizabeth Gray and Sarah Ponder.

Suzanne Alton, a volunteer with grantee Rape Victim Advocates and a survivor of sexual violence, is profiled in Time Out Chicago magazine. Kaethe Morris Hoffer of grantee Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation helped Alton get a civil no-contact order against her rapist, using a relatively new Illinois law allowing sexual assault victims to pursue their attackers in civil court--a valuable tool for survivors, especially when the criminal legal system fails them.
College grads--including women--are increasingly seeking blue-collar work during the recession ABC 7 Chicago reported on this story by speaking with our grantee, Chicago Women in Trades.

At a Sept. 23 press conference, local reproductive justice leaders stood up for women of color's right to make smart choices for themselves and their families. The leaders provided a counterpoint to the violent rhetoric of anti-choice zealots such as Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., who are running anti-choice campaigns specifically in communities of color. The press conference was led by our grantees and community partners: Black Women for Reproductive Justice, ACLU of Illinois, Affinity Community Services, Chicago Abortion Fund and Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Read more from the Windy City Times and the Springfield Journal-Register.

Two outstanding local institutions who share our anniversary are in the news. First, longtime grantee Chicago Abortion Fund not only shares our anniversary, they share our values. The Ms. Magazine blog has a story about CAF's anniversary celebration that honored the women of the "Jane" movement, a group of fearless activists who helped Chicago women obtain abortions before Roe v. Wade. In addition, the Windy City Times marks its 25th year. The paper's publisher, 2010 Impact Awards honoree Tracy Baim, recounts the last two and a half decades of LGBT media and history. Read Baim's article and check out the list of other historical articles on activism, sports and local landmarks.

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

OCT. 7 (Thurs.): "Stand Up for Girls" hosted by grantee Girls in the Game, 8:30-10 a.m.
OCT. 7 (Thurs.): Spare Us Some Change: Bowling Night with the Young Women's
     Leadership Council, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
OCT. 13 (Wed.): Sex, Chocolate and Your Pelvic Floor with the Women's Health Foundation
     and the Lesbian Leadership Council, 6-9 p.m.
OCT. 19 (Tue.): Achieving Balance: A Healing Workshop for Women with the Asian American
     Leadership Council, 6-8 p.m.
OCT. 19 (Tue.): Living Downstream at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 7 p.m.
OCT. 21 (Thurs.): A Call to Action to Save Women's Lives with the Metropolitan Chicago
     Breast Cancer Task Force (part of our Health Series), 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
NOV. 4 (Thurs.): Financing Your Future: Strategies for Success with the Young Women's
     Leadership Council, 6-7:30 p.m.
NOV. 8 (Mon.): Nancy Brinker Luncheon and Book Signing at the Union League Club,
     11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
NOV. 10 (Wed.): Networking at M Lounge with the Latina Leadership Council, 5:30-7 p.m.