During a time of critical need, Chicago Foundation for Women invests nearly $1 million to support women and girls
June 25 2020

Including support for the Foundation’s Freedom from Violence fund, focused on organizations addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Black and trans women across the city, especially on the South and West sides

 CHICAGO (JUNE 25, 2020)—In the height of a global pandemic disproportionately ravaging Black and Brown women, Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) has announced its support of organizations that put women, trans and gender non-binary people first and work to alleviate the barriers they face to adequate healthcare and safety through 62 grants totaling $977,125.

CFW is dedicated to expanding freedom from violence in all its forms, including family violence, child and elder abuse, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, prostitution, and trafficking. The perpetual invisibility of women, girls, transgender, and gender non-binary people of color experiencing gender-based violence is why CFW is focused on exploring community solutions, interventions, and deeper interrogations to understand the foundational causes of this ongoing violence epidemic. CFW is also committed to enhancing access to high-quality health services and information related to mental, physical, reproductive health, and preventative care.

“With unprecedented times also comes unprecedented opportunity, and at Chicago Foundation for Women, we believe that the window for systemic change has been flung wide open,” said Felicia Davis, president and CEO, Chicago Foundation for Women. “While we support ALL women, girls, and female-identified persons across Chicago, this group of grants particularly prioritizes organizations addressing violence against Black and trans women from across the city – a group that is overlooked far too often.”

It is through its grantmaking programs that CFW, along with its Giving Councils and Circles, is able to support changemakers and advocates for vulnerable populations. The nonprofits selected as grant recipients embody grassroots approaches to their work, restorative practices, survivor-centered initiatives, and community organizing. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations have expanded and pivoted their programming and services to meet the immediate needs of the populations they serve, providing food, housing, and services and support virtually.

Grant recipients include:

Affinity Community Services, which, for 25 years, has created safe spaces, been a vehicle for social change, and brought race, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation to matters of public policy, health access, and community empowerment. Affinity is one of few organizations created and run by Black LGBTQ women. Founded to bring visibility and voice to Black people in LGBTQ communities and LGBTQ people within Black communities, Affinity operates from the South Side of Chicago and has served thousands of people over its history.

Brave Space Alliance, the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ individuals on the South and West sides of the city.

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) ‘s mission is to address the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual exploitation. CAASE focuses explicitly on sexual exploitation, sexual assault, and prostitution.

The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) engages in education about the role of bonds in the criminal justice system, perpetuating the criminalization of individuals unable to pay their bonds. CCBF ultimately advocates for the abolition of money bonds.

For the fourth year in a row, CFW will make several grants to the Englewood Women’s Initiative as it enhances a strategic alliance of agencies collectively working to strengthen and sustain the economic security of low-income working women and their children living in Englewood. The Initiative is also part of the Women’s Economic Mobility Hubs, regional collaborations of women’s foundations across the country working to increase economic opportunities for women.

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization is Chicago’s oldest Black-led community organization, based on the South Side, founded in response to unjust housing policies, under-resourced schools, and to fight structural racism. Its programming is focused on community organizing and leadership development, providing a space for young Black women and girls to embrace their collective power, engage in healing from their trauma, and fight for equal protection and justice.

Mujeres Latinas en Accion, the longest standing Latina-led, Latina-serving organization in the country, provides programming designed for trauma survivors to heal, thrive, and become leaders in their communities. All programs offered are in the language that the participant is most proficient and comfortable in and reflect a true understanding of the community the agency serves.

CFW has invested nearly $39 million in organizations supporting women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary people since its founding in 1985.

For the complete list of grants awarded for the spring 2020 cycle, click here.


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, girls, trans and gender non-binary individuals 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 www.cfw.org.

Christina Córdova-Herrera
(312) 577-2824