Announcing the 2020 Impact Awards Honorees
January 17 2020

Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) is proud to announce the 2020 Impact Awards honoring local leaders for their efforts to create safe, just, and healthy communities for all. CFW will present the 2020 Impact Awards on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at The Chicago History Museum.

“The Impact Awards celebrate the people that are working to make a better future for women and girls in our region a reality,” Felicia Davis, CFW President and CEO said. “We’re thrilled to recognize five outstanding leaders who are making a difference in the lives of women and girls every day, by advocating, organizing, and lifting their voices, building strong communities for all.”

The Impact Awards recognize leaders working to improve the lives of women and girls by expanding economic security, ensuring freedom from violence, or enhancing access to health services. This year, CFW will honor:

Wendy Pollack, founder and executive director of the Women’s Law and Policy Initiative at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, will receive the 2020 Founders Award. This award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievements, which have made significant contributions toward the advancement of women and girls for 30 years or more. Pollack has worked extensively on workforce and economic development, education, employment, family law, gender equity in school, public benefits, violence against women and girls, among other issues, on the local, state, and federal levels. Her tireless advocacy and organizing work has been instrumental in the passing of recent legislative wins, such as increases to both the state and city minimum wage, the Fair Workweek and paid sick time ordinances, the state’s sexual harassment laws, and the No Salary History Law.

Christina Frasik, co-founder of the Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice (SCRJ), will receive the 2020 Pioneer Award, honoring a young leader under the age of 30, whose work is already impacting women and girls and shows great promise for the future. Frasik was part of a small student group at Loyola University Chicago concerned about the health care provided by the university and the lack of accurate and comprehensive resources related to women’s reproductive health. Students for Reproductive Justice is dedicated to providing various services to the student body until the university accepts its responsibility. After years of work, she went on to co-found the Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice (SCRJ) in 2019, which unites student groups like SRJ around the common goal of achieving access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare at all Catholic universities. Frasik is now a medical student at Albany Medical College, pursuing a career centered on reproductive healthcare and conducts research on the ethics of religiously affiliated healthcare institutions.

Neha Gill, executive director of Apna Ghar, will receive a 2020 Impact Award. A CFW grantee, Apna Ghar, provides critical, comprehensive, culturally-competent services, and conducts outreach and advocacy across communities to end gender violence. Through this work, Gill has led consultations and trainings, advised local and international NGOs, government officials, and the staff of United Nations agencies on providing services to survivors of gender-based violence.

Imani Rupert-Gordon, executive director, Affinity Community Services, National Center for Lesbian Rights, will receive a 2020 Impact Award. Affinity Community Services is one of few organizations in the country dedicated to serving Black LGBTQ+ women. Rupert-Gordon spearheads Affinity’s participation in Equal Pay Day each year, including the creation and dissemination of an annual fact sheet on the impact of the wage gap that highlights wage inequality not only for women, transgender, and gender nonconforming people but for people of color, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. Rupert-Gordon’s work highlights the importance of intersectionality, making her one of the most thoughtful and creative advocates in the movement.

Colette Payne, policy associate, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, will receive a 2020 Impact Award. Payne joined Cabrini Green Legal (formally CLAIM) Visible Voices group in 2001 and has been an active member of the Leadership Council and Speakers Bureau since 2012. Payne is passionate about educating families to build healthier communities. Whether through her work with Visible Voices, supporting formerly incarcerated women who are sharing their stories or her tireless work in ensuring the state of Illinois makes extraordinary steps forward to address gender bias in our prison system, Payne’s leadership as a woman for women makes her a true woman of impact.

A seven-member volunteer committee selected the 2020 honorees from among dozens of nominations:

Brooke Skinner Ricketts (Committee Chair), Chief Marketing Officer,

Lauren Birchlove, Chair, CFW LBTQ Giving Council, and Institutional Giving Manager, Cara Chicago

Sondra Berman Epstein, Member, CFW Alumnae Council

Corliss Garner, Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity & Inclusion, First Midwest Bank

Adolfo Hernandez, Director of Community Health, JB & MK Pritzker Family Foundation

Hoda Katebi, Writer & Founder, Blue Tin Production, #BecauseWeveRead

Jeanine Meola, Director, Institutional Sales, Fairpointe Capital LLC

Additional information, including sponsorship and ticket information, is available at


About Chicago Foundation for Women

Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. CFW funds organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence, and lack of access to health care and information. Last year, CFW invested $2.8 million in 117 organizations, leveraging the generosity of 2,700 donors, impacting 70,000 women and girls in our region. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources and develop solutions. Learn more at

Christina Córdova-Herrera
(312) 577-2824