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This edition's email subject:

Tuesday Blast: Learning to Lead
Delivered: April 1, 2014


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spring gathering in oak park

Spring Gathering in Oak Park! 
On Wednesday, April 30, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm, join your friends and neighbors in Oak Park at Pleasant Home for an intimate neighborhood gathering in celebration of women and girls. 

To register, click HERE

To join the host committee, please contact Liz Rivera at (312) 577-2810, TTY (312) 577-2803 or


April 2014 Edition

CFW's Women's Leadership Development Initiative provides capacity building and training to build the skills of more than 160 nonprofit professionals each year.

From entry-level to executive directors to board of directors, the program is building a stronger nonprofit sector serving women and girls in Chicago.


Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) has a great responsibility. We view it as our duty to the Chicagoland community to identify the most pressing challenges facing women and girls - economic security, violence and access to health care - and support the most effective solutions. Of course, we do this by raising funds to support basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls.  But, grant funds alone simply cannot, and will not, solve the many, serious challenges facing women and girls in our communities.  

CFW understands the need to develop the next generation of female leaders to ensure the sustainability of women-led solutions and women-led organizations for the long-term.  Preparing women for leadership roles throughout their careers is critical, including professional development activities, skill-building, coaching and mentoring. CFW is building the pipeline of women philanthropists and civic leaders to ensure that increasing resources and talents are directed to the nonprofit sector serving women and girls. 

The Women’s Leadership Development Initiative (WLDI) at CFW provides capacity building and training to build the skills of more than 160 nonprofit professionals and board members each year. The WLDI includes the Advocacy Academy, “Core Concepts” Organizational Development Workshops, Board Member Boot Camp and Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership  (formerly called the Women of Color Collaborative). Combined, these programs are impacting the professional development of the participants involved while enhancing the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of the Chicago non-profit sector. 

“Grantees and their board leaders have the ability to participate in multiple programs under the WLDI umbrella. This access helps formulate a complete offering of leadership development for direct service and advocacy work,” said Monique Brunson, director of programs at CFW. “This initiative clearly represents CFW’s commitment to our grantees that goes far beyond funding.”

Board Boot Camp 2013
Board Boot Camp


According to Charlotte Beers, the author of, I’d Rather Be in Charge, “any woman can learn to lead, it’s just a matter of preparing them.” CFW’s Board Boot Camp does just that.

In order for an organization to be vibrant, its board leadership must fully represent the community it serves. In addition, these leaders have to be competent and knowledgable. CFW identified a need for accessible programs to provide training and resources to develop women leaders and create exceptional boards. 

Since 2011, CFW has been hosting an annual Beginner Board Boot Camp. Over the course of two-and-a-half days thirty diverse women participate in a comprehensive workshop where they learn about board membership. Training topics include: board member roles and responsibilities, choosing the right board, understanding nonprofit financials and fundraising. There are also a number of panel discussions featuring Boot Camp alumnae and staff from CFW grantee organizations. Recognizing that it is often difficult to find an open board position, CFW also hosts a speed networking night to connect grantee organizations looking for new board members with the newly trained women.

Applications are currently being accepted for the fourth annual Beginner Board Boot Camp which will take place on May 3, 7 and 10. For more information or to download the application go to 

“Beginner Board Boot Camp is a great resource for women looking to join a nonprofit board but don’t know where to begin,” says Rhiannon Rossi, philanthropic education officer at CFW and the director of the Boot Camp program. “At the end of the two days they are armed with the skills and information to not only know how to choose the right board, but to begin their service with a level of confidence that allows them to be exceptional board members.”  

“I was part of the inaugural boot camp in June 2011. I found the experience invaluable, especially coming from a for-profit environment,” said Nicole Dessain, who is a talent management thought leader and a past Board Boot Camp participant. I would recommend the board boot camp to any woman who is considering joining a non-profit board. Training modules included board governance, board and agency relations, board-staff relations, and finance. It was an eye-opener for me and provided me with the knowledge needed. I currently serve on the advisory board for a non-profit.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the fourth annual Beginner Board Boot Camp which will take place on May 3, 7 and 10. For more information or to download the application go to

Board Boot Camp is offered twice a year (fall and spring). Participants submit an application and a fee of $150 for early bird registration and $200 for regular registration. CFW offers a condensed version of Board Boot Camp to corporate affinity groups whose members may be interested in civic leadership and volunteering on nonprofit boards.

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King

We are delighted to welcome Billie Jean King as our keynote speaker for the 29th Annual Luncheon on September 18 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago!

Billie Jean King created new inroads for men and women in sports and beyond during her legendary tennis career and she continues to make her mark today.

Planning for CFW's 29th Annual Luncheon is well underway! For sponsorship information or to join the host committee, please contact Ilda Lagunas at (312) 577-2810, TTY (312) 577-2803 or 

Tables are already selling fast! Reserve your table online

Courtney VanLonkhuyzen
Courtney VanLonkhuyzen

Rarity is overrated: How we're helping to bring more women into tech
One of CFW's board members, Courtney VanLonkhuyzen, recently penned an Op-Ed about women in the tech industry here in Chicago. Courtney discussed  how increase women's opportunities and said that, "...we must focus on all stages of development by improving STEAM education, increasing mentoring from male and female professionals, improving access to funding for women-led ventures and providing access to a variety of career paths, leadership roles and advancement opportunities." Courtney VanLonkhuyzen is executive director of the Motorola Mobility Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Motorola Mobility LLC and Lead Procurement Counsel for Motorola Mobility LLC. She is a member of Crain's 40 Under 40 Class of 2013.

Read the full article HERE.   

Women's philanthropy week in Chicago
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed the week of March 31-April 4 as Women’s Philanthropy Week in Chicago in recognition of the visionary women who commit to strengthening society. Mayor Emanuel’s proclamation spotlights the contribution women have made with their time, resources, and networks to leading women’s philanthropy. The proclamation is in conjunction with the #WomenLeading Philanthropy symposium organized by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Read the press release HERE.

CFW's President/CEO, K. Sujata and board member Nicholas Brunick will host a breakout session about the strategic alliance with the Eleanor Foundation. CFW board member Courtney VanLonkhuyzen will also host a breakout session about  disrupting the status quo and creating change. CFW grantee YWCA Metropolitan Chicago will also be represented at the conference. The Y's CEO,  Dorri McWhorter, will be part of the breakout session about  philanthropic women leaders.

CFW in the community

2014 Impact Awards
We are so thankful for your attendance, donations and sponsorships for the Impact Awards. Congratulations again to this year's honorees!  Missed the event? Watch our tribute video and learn more about the honorees.

Board Boot Camp: Registration NOW OPEN
Are you interested in serving on a nonprofit board but don't quite know where to start? 
Join us May 3, 7, and 10 for a comprehensive training and networking experience that will leverage your skills and put you on a path to successful board service!  Thanks to generous support from American Express, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies and the Pierce Family Foundation, CFW is hosting its fourth Board Boot Camp. The program will include an interactive two-and-a-half day training where participants will gain skills in topics such as board roles and responsibilities, understanding nonprofit financials, running effective meetings and fundraising basics. Apply online here

Equal Pay Day Rally
On April 8, 2014 at noon in Daley Center Plaza, join us for the Equal Pay Rally, which CFW is sponsoring. The date April 8 represents when a woman’s wages finally catches up to a man’s wages from December 31st, of the previous year - 998 days later. Join with us as we stand up and demand that equal work deserves equal pay! View the flyer HERE for more details.

Tweet-Up for International Women's Day

Tweet-Up for International Women's Day  
On International Women's Day, CFW hosted a tweet-up about immigrant women's economic contributions with the Illinois Women for Compassionate Immigration Reform initiative! A tweet-up is an event where people who use Twitter come together to meet in person. 

Experts working with immigrant women business owners provided insight to the participants about immigrant women and the economy. CFW grantee Upwardly Global was a panelist and discussed Immigrant Women in STEM and their In-Demand program. The program works with women who  face additional barriers to professional integration, despite their strong representations in critical fields like STEM and healthcare. In-Demand  serves approximately 80 women per year. 

Follow CFW (@


 Grantees in the news

Campaign to curb military sexual assualt
CFW grantee Health and & Disabilities Advocates (HDA) recently added their voice and expertise to the federal policy debate on effectively addressing military sexual assault. ABC7 recently interviewed HDA's Assistant Director of Veterans Programs,  Zach Hunsinger, along with Kati Beck, the military sexual trauma survivor who spoke at the 28th Annual Luncheon. Thanks to CFW's support, HDA has built partnerships across sectors and across the state to raise awareness about military sexual trauma. Watch the ABC7 video HERE

A safe place for transgender women
CFW funds thoughtful work serving overlooked and vulnerable populations, like Chicago House’s TransLife Center (TLC), an employment program for transgender women of color, women and girls. Chicago House was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune highlighting their work in the trans community. Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune interviews Keyshia Laymorris, a TLC resident, about her struggles as a trans woman and how TLC has helped her overcome many obstacles. Read the article which shows the impact that CFW’s support has on some of the most under-served members in our community, trans woman of color.

Upcoming events

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

APRIL 2014 
11: Vegetarian Cooking Class with the LBTQ Giving Council
30: 4th Annual Spring Gathering in Oak Park

MAY 2014
3, 7 and 10: Board Boot Camp 

CFW grantees: Want to be sure your news clips and awards get in the Blast?

Email Blast editor Sharonda at or share the good news on our Facebook and Twitter pages! 


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