Less than 8¢ out of every
philanthropic $1 spent in the U.S.
today goes to help women and girls.
Help us change that.
Give justice, safety, health, and economic security to all women and girls.
The all-out, all-in effort to
end gender bias in Chicago.
Be 1 of the 100%
Last year, working with more than 3,000 donors and local partners on the front lines, we funded 160 projects serving over 51,000 women, girls, transgender and gender nonconforming people across the Chicago region.
“It is extremely important to me that women and girls are provided the opportunities to change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their families. That’s why supporting Chicago Foundation for Women means so much to me – because of the work they do to invest in organizations that empower women and girls.”
“We need to teach girls that they can be successful in STEM. That confidence will enable girls to become women who are successful in both trading and technology. A greater female presence in both fields will lead to further innovation and success in the industry.”
“One of the main things that inspires me everyday is to keep working towards a world where there is gender equity in my own faith. I’ve always been taught that Islam is a religion of deep compassion, deep justice, and deep charity. It is an injustice that there is a silence and a stigma around sex and sexual assault and everyday I am working to push back against that narrative.
“CFW was fundamental in helping us build our work and our operations to get to a point where we’re not just doing a one-off program but we are able to think about strategically where we want this work to go.”
“Investing in women is a priority for me in my work and I am proud of Deloitte’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.
“While we are proud of the progress that has been made, we do see Inclusion as an ongoing journey, and we are continuously challenging ourselves to innovate our approach to meet the needs and expectations of an evolving workforce. The more inclusive a team is, the more diverse the thoughts, perspectives and ideas are, which inevitably can lead to more success.”
“Philanthropy often doesn’t think about or highlight the experiences of women and girls who have been underrepresented. Ensuring that intersectionality is a part of the conversation is really critical. The members of the Women United Giving Council bring their background and bring their full selves to the table.
“We are all working towards transformative justice. CFW and the WUGC gives me that opportunity and gives me the space to do that. When women get together and put their resources together, that’s when you really see that transformation moving.”
“As Chicago’s Treasurer, I can tell you that we are negatively impacting our economy if women are not given the same opportunities as men. The Chicago Treasurer’s Office is constantly working with all components of city government to ensure that women-owned and minority-owned service providers and contractors are engaged in the work we do.”
“Being a part of the Eagle Clan, we’re raised with the intent that we’ll be leaders. But that’s not just given to you; you have to earn it. I was raised with an awareness of responsibility for more than just myself. In addition to giving financially, it was also important to give of our time and energy. Contribution takes many forms and giving both monetarily and with time were routinely encouraged as one grows with both forms of giving.What mattered is that you were at the table and you could still give something.”
“Finding CFW grantee Chicago Women in Trades changed my life. Chicago Women in Trades and Chicago Foundation for Women are daring to break down the barriers that keep women out of good paying, but ‘nontraditional’ jobs, like welding and construction.
“Welding has given me confidence. I walk on to the production floor every day knowing that I am good at my job and I deserve to be there. The trades are no longer a boy’s club. Women are proving ourselves as hardworking and capable as any man.”
“Women’s health is something everybody should care about. New cases of HIV/AIDS disproportionately affect women of color. It’s poverty-related. What is so appealing about CFW is that it is connected to so many organizations on the ground. And $100, $2,000, $5,000 goes a long way with those smaller organizations. And their work is tailored to their community. And oftentimes, that is what’s needed in that spot – trying to move just a few people along.”
“As a nonprofit executive director, I came to appreciate how important it is to have donations both from foundations but also the community you’re serving. One thing about this giving council, because there are community groups around the table, there is an awareness of community groups that might otherwise fly under the radar of a foundation because the council members are in the trenches doing that work.
“Funding those small scrappy organizations that are doing work that may escape the gaze of larger organizations is critical.”
“We must believe that advertising can be a force for good in the world, and this [bias against women] is one of the key areas where that can be shown. On this specific topic, there are several important ways of doing it. Amongst them is making sure that we help manage brands that have a clear point of view on that culture of bias against women and that we spark our own initiatives that break it down.”
ITVS Public Media’s Independent Voice Community Cinema has been partnering with Chicago Foundation for Women since the Women’s Empowerment Film Series we did together back in 2010. CFW has been an amazing ally with ITVS’ Women and Girls Lead initiative, introducing us to their stellar list of organizations and leaders that are making a difference in the lives of women and girls in Chicago. ITVS supplied the documentaries and CFW brought the change-agents. Together we have organized thoughtful discussions on challenging topics, ranging from health and education, jobs and opportunities, media literacy, gender-based violence and much more. We are so grateful to the Chicago Foundation for Women for this partnership, and for helping Chicago Community Cinema highlight the great work going on in our own backyard.
The refugee girls we work with embody the American dream. They come here with nothing, and all they want is to have a good life and to help their families. I want that to still be possible, and I think it really is, as long as we’re willing to make sure that they can be the members of our country that they want to be.
“I started volunteering at ICAH—it’s a grassroots organization that’s funded through CFW’s Catalyst Fund. I worked on the blog ‘SexEd Loop,’ which provides reliable sex education for teens. Through ICAH, I have become a feminist and an advocate for reproductive justice.
“ICAH taught me how to use my voice. It has prepared me for meetings with legislators and has trained me to explain the importance of teens having comprehensive information on their sexual health.”
“Doors close to you for things that you don’t control: because you’re a woman, because you’re brown, because you’re short, whatever. That’s no reason not to have an opportunity.
“Having been fortunate myself, having had the chance to go to great schools, to join a Wall Street firm, to develop my business, why wouldn’t I support an organization that works to level the playing field for other women? It’s so important that we give back this way. And Chicago Foundation for Women is a great way to give and know that the funds are going to the most promising, women-led solutions.”
“My mentor helps me out with my college applications, essays, even personal life, ANYTHING!”
“I came to America with a dream of living a happy and purposeful life. CFW’s Advocacy Academy has given me the confidence I need to live out that dream and help other women live it, too.”
“I wanted a hands-on experience where I could be a part of a community and see where my time and money were going. Most importantly, I wanted to focus on Chicago, my home, where the need touches us all.
“Really, anyone can be a philanthropist. And CFW prepares you by making the process easier to navigate and understand.”
“Crossroads Fund partnership with Chicago Foundation for Women has enabled us to do what we challenge our grantees to do – form partnerships that allow us to maximize our resources while supporting grantee organizations sustainability. Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership project provides a space dedicated to women of color organizers to share their stories, strategies, challenges and triumphs as they continue to build on their leadership skills. As foundations we are committed in ensuring women of color voices are heard, their unique organizing and advocacy strategies are celebrated and the multiple identities that women of color have are lifted up.”
“Women of color are disproportionately impacted by racism, sexism, and income inequality. Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership is one of the few spaces in greater Chicago that intentionally nurtures and develops women of color leaders who are fighting to change these conditions for themselves and their communities at the systemic level. Sharing their knowledge of the strategies of community organizing and public policy advocacy and coming from work on a variety of issues areas such as affordable housing, LGBTQ rights, public education reform, reproductive rights, criminal justice, and immigrant rights — Cultivate participants have the opportunity to strengthen themselves, their organizations and the larger social economic and racial justice fields.”
“I’d like to believe that the law protects us, and I think to some extent it does. We have equal rights laws, we have gender violence laws, we have reproductive rights laws, but they’re tenuous. As women, we need to elect officials who will enforce those rights and protect them for us. True justice means equal opportunities for everyone, and the choice to decide what you want to do with your own life, whether it’s in terms of a career or family planning.”
“We’re so pleased to partner with the Eleanor Network at Chicago Foundation for Women to build our capacity to empower women and girls to be successful in the workplace.”
“This is my way up. I can pay my bills. I can help my mom. I have a reliable car. I don’t have to worry about food. I can breathe.
“The best pay is when my foreman calls me back to say thanks for being a good worker and that he wants me back for another job.”
“The Polk Bros. Foundation is proud to partner with Chicago Foundation for Women, providing more than $1 million in grants over the past twenty years. Recent grants support the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, which offers cumulative learning opportunities in a given issue area or organizational strategy, the time and resources to implement changes or new ideas, and the ability to hear from their peers’ experiences. We offer capacity-building grants and scholarships to give participants the flexibility to engage outside experts or enroll staff in professional development programs. The Polk Bros. Fund for Emerging Organizations at CFW offers grants to organizations that don’t meet our Foundation’s eligibility requirements, but are providing promising solutions to address the unmet needs of women and girls. It is a privilege to partner with CFW to accomplish our mutual goal of ensuring that each woman and girl in Chicago has the opportunity to reach her full potential.”
“The idea is to build a collective movement of women giving back on behalf of women and girls in whichever way they choose to do that, whether it be time, talent, or treasure. Studies have shown that women have a hard time finding mentorship. We’re building a community of women who are learning and growing with each other. We’re like this force field: it’s a group of women to lean on, but also a place where we can bounce back even more energized.”
“I had never really thought about abortion, but in 1968, I was talking to a neighbor who said she’d just got out of the hospital after having an abortion. She and I, because we were women of means, could get a medically safe abortion, but poor or poorer women had to go to back alley abortionists. Having been brought up to fight inequities, I got to work! And have worked to make and keep abortion safe and legal and available (although I’ve not done a very good job on ‘available’) ever since then!”
“My family doesn’t own anything outside of homes, and I want to change that. I want to leave a legacy.
“To me, entrepreneurship is a good foundation for community development. I know that the Women’s Business Development Center will help me get this off the ground. I’m going to be on someone’s best new restaurant list very soon!”
“If I can get up and move, then I can make a difference. I can advocate on behalf of my community and other seniors like me. There’s a lot of legislation that blocks progress. I want to interact with legislators, work with the people writing laws and be the voice of seniors.”
“The Trust has been proud to be a supporter of Chicago Foundation for Women since its founding. Recently, it has played a highly valued convening role helping identify the need for evidence of the strength of services provided by domestic violence providers. This leadership resulted in a path-breaking evaluation project likely to indicate the value of these services as well as identify possible program areas for further development. Currently, the Trust is partnering with the Foundation on its signature policy effort around key women’s issues. We are confident that the Foundation will be able to leverage its position of civic leadership to ignite interest in progressive policies essential to women in fields such as health, work, education and safety.”
“This training has been very empowering. I appreciate the time and dedication of the instructors. They really care if we make it out there. I would like to continue my education and become a nurse. This is a good starting place.”
“If I wasn’t in GirlForward, I would be at home, sitting and reading books. I wouldn’t have any friends and couldn’t talk to other people and learn more English.”
“I’m a domestic violence survivor. Nineteen years ago, I was ready to end my life. But then a door opened, and I walked through it. That door was COFI.
“Until I met COFI’s POWER-PAC moms, I didn’t know you could channel anger into passion, and passion could become action. And that action? Well, it becomes change. Today, I’ve testified before the Chicago Board of Education and the U.S. Senate.
“CFW gave COFI the resources to confront injustice, and to empower people like me to do the same.”
When you invest in women and girls, you invest in stronger, more stable families and communities. You develop capable workers, people who produce more, save more, and spend more, right now and 30 years from now. You raise a generation of healthier kids with brighter futures, and you lower the cost of everything from public safety to social services to healthcare.
Invest in women and girls, and you invest a society that works—for everyone.
We focus on the top three issues that affect women’s lives today.
A woman supporting a family in the Chicago area is 20 times more likely than a man to be earning the minimum wage-or less.
One in seven women has been physically threatened. One in three of those women has been battered.
Breast cancer is not linked to race or income, but breast cancer survival is.
Our approach is simple and effective
The bets we place are bold and informed, like the investors who make them possible.
We speak up for women and girls. And we back up our words with evidence.
Big goals demand big picture thinking, coordinated effort, and leadership. We've been doing all three for 30 years.
Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) is proud to announce the 2019 Impact Awards honoring local leaders for their efforts to create safe, just and healthy […]
FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT Big Impacts In the new year, many of us feel compelled to make grand plans and life-changing resolutions. Having […]
South Side Giving Circle awards first grants totaling $33,000 CHICAGO, IL (January 8, 2019) – Today, Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) announced 43 grants totaling […]
FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT Thank you, next Between the holidays, cold and snowy weather that keeps us indoors and the end of the […]
Dear CFW community, THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone who joined Chicago Foundation for Women this #GivingTuesday to invest in innovative strategies to build safe, […]
A Note from CFW President/CEO K. Sujata: I write today to share that I will be stepping down as President/CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women, […]
FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT Look for the dreamers Image via CreateHER As Halloween costume displays are replaced with holiday decorations, I am still thinking […]
Heidi Stevens Balancing Act Anna Valencia doesn’t like the term “think tank.” “It’s a ‘do tank,’” she said. Valencia, Chicago’s city clerk, is spearheading a […]
Chicago Foundation for Women is a leading convener of women in Chicago. Check out our upcoming events below. All of our events, including those hosted by our Giving Councils, are open to the public unless otherwise specified.
To read about meetings and events we've held, visit our entire Events Schedule. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.