Chicago Foundation for Women Announces First Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow Emerging Leaders Award Recognizing Ladies of Virtue
February 06 2019

The Barrow Emerging Leaders award supports innovative work benefiting Black women and girls

Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) today announced the selection of Ladies of Virtue to receive the first ever Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow Emerging Leaders Award to support innovative work benefiting Black women and girls in the Chicago region with a $25,000 investment.

“The Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow was committed to mentoring and investing in the next generation of leaders working for justice and equity, and Willie Taplin Barrow Fund for Black Women’s Leadership at Chicago Foundation for Women was created to continue that legacy,” CFW President/CEO K. Sujata said. “We are thrilled to present the Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow Emerging Leaders Award to Ladies of Virtue to support their work in the spirit of Rev. Barrow.”

A 2017 report from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality found that adults view Black girls as in need of less nurturing, support and comfort. Ladies of Virtue stands in the gap through mentoring and by preparing girls for leadership through character development, career readiness and civic engagement. Ladies of Virtue invests in Black girls living in under-resourced communities, by instilling purpose, passion, and perseverance while preparing their participants, ages 9 to 18, for college, careers and to become change agents in their communities.

The Barrow Emerging Leaders Award will support girl-led community initiatives, as well as career readiness and enhanced leadership development programming for Ladies of Virtue.

“When you invest in a Black girl, you are also building up her family and community that have too often lacked the proper resources for her to grow and thrive,” Ladies of Virtue Founder and CEO Jamila M. Trimuel said. “The Barrow Emerging Leaders Award provides the resources our girls need to succeed. With your support, they are ready to not only impact their neighborhoods but the entire city of Chicago.”

The Barrow Emerging Leaders Award is supported by the Willie Taplin Barrow Fund for Black Women’s Leadership at Chicago Foundation for Women. The Barrow Fund supports initiatives to invest in black women and girls in the Chicago region, including the Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative. The Barrow Fund was established at CFW in 2017 with the support of the Willie Taplin Barrow Leadership Institute and Museum in partnership with African American Legacy (AAL) at the Chicago Community Trust. The Willie Taplin Barrow Fund for Black Women’s Leadership at CFW ensures that generations of new leaders understand and appreciate the legacy and work of Rev. Barrow, and give rise to new models of collaborative work and leadership centered around women of color as we work together to strengthen all of our communities.

“I have no doubt that Rev. Barrow would be delighted to know that her vision and legacy are being realized with the investment in the leadership potential of  Black women through Ladies of Virtue,” Dr. Patricia Carey, Executor of the Barrow Estate and goddaughter of Rev. Barrow, said.

The Rev. Willie Barrow helped to organize the Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket alongside the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Rev. Barrow later served as executive director and chair of the board of Rainbow/PUSH. Throughout her life, Barrow was a champion for civil rights, an advocate for racial justice and women’s rights, and became an activist for the LGBTQ community.  She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was a mentor to President Barack Obama. Barrow died in 2015 at the age of 90.


About Chicago Foundation for Women

Chicago Foundation for Women 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 access to health care and information. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources and develop solutions. To learn more, visit