GoWomen: A Quarter of a Million Voices
February 01 2017

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A Quarter of a Million Voices.

In a world that so often ignores the voices of women, it is easy to feel small and powerless. On January 21, we were reminded of the power and the indefatigable spirit of women when over three million women and our allies gathered at Women’s Marches across the U.S., and thousands more at solidarity marches around the globe (and on every single continent). An estimated 250,000 people rallied in Chicago, one of the largest in the country.

Chicago Foundation for Women is proud to have supported the Women’s March on Chicago and provided insurance to obtain permits for the March. According to the March organizers in a recent letter to CFW: “[the march] literally would not have happened if it wasn’t for CFW. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. You enabled Chicago’s involvement in a really important day.”

In Chicago and across the country, women and men from all walks of life came together in the largest single day demonstration in U.S. history to support issues as diverse as we are: immigration, criminal justice reform, the environment, LGBTQ rights, health care, reproductive justice, freedom of religion and freedom from violence. We were reminded that our oppressions are bound together by a broader system. That in order for women’s lives to matter, Black lives must matter; trans lives must matter; the lives of our Muslim, immigrant, and disabled sisters must matter. We are reminded that in order to progress, we must have difficult conversations. We must listen as much as we speak.

We should all be proud of what we accomplished on January 21, but we do not have the luxury of stopping now.

President Trump has wasted no time in making his positions on women’s issues clear. Before even taking office, the Trump Administration proposed gutting funding for the Violence Against Women Act. Reproductive rights are also under attack. One day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy, or global gag rule, barring “global health assistance” for organizations that even mention abortion, putting billions of dollars of aid at risk. This action foreshadows a new age of hostility towards women’s reproductive rights. And that was just Monday.

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the United States, prompting protests at airports across the country,including O’Hare. Chicago Foundation for Women believes that everyone, regardless of gender, national origin or religion, deserves to live in a safe, healthy community, free from the threat of violence. We are proud to support organizations that serve and protect the rights of refugees, immigrants and Muslims in the Chicago region.


We knew that January 21 was only the beginning. A quarter of a million voices came together in Chicago to send a message about what we value. Now we must harness the energy and passion of the March and channel it into sustained activism and advocacy. The Women’s March on Washington has launched 10 Actions for the first 100 Days. Chicago Foundation for Women will continue to advance gender equity by supporting organizations that address the challenges facing all women and girls. There is no wrong way to get involved, as long as you do not sit out.


CFW Launches The 100 Day Fund


Last month, CFW launched The 100 Day Fund, a rapid response grant to spur civic engagement and advocacy in support of gender equity in the first 100 days of the Trump administration.  We’ve been thrilled with the energy and engagement around women’s issues in the weeks and months following the election, and the reaction to The 100 Day Fund was no exception. The launch was covered by DNAInfo, Chicagoist, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Rapid Response Grants Made out of The 100 Day Fund


CFW has made 38 grants from The 100 Day Fund to organizations addressing a wide range of issues, from supporting delegations to attend the Women’s March on Washington, encouraging women’s creative resistance through writing and theater, to campaigns to prevent sexual assault and human trafficking.

Silk Road Rising received a grant from The 100 Day Fund to support screenings of the short film “The Four Hijabs,” which encourages conversation around the multiple meanings of the hijab in Islam. After the film’s latest presentation an audience member commented, “I had no idea the conversation surrounding the hijab is so rich and complex…I really need to learn more!” Malik Gillani, Executive Director of Silk Road Rising, wrote CFW to share the positive reception, and that, “The urgency of our work surrounding ‘The Four Hijabs’ becomes more clear every day…Thank you for investing in our mission to create a world that values art over ideology and inquiry over dogma.”

Laura Washington: Let’s Do Something


Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington talked to Alysia Tate about The 100 Day Fund, and how the Chicago region can “funnel positive energy into concrete, grass-roots efforts to make new history.” Washington highlighted two projects funded through The 100 Day Fund: The Latino Union plans to raise awareness and engage domestic workers around the new Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, while Restored Hope will create safe spaces for teen girls on Chicago’s South and West sides and empower young women to use social media and technology to make their voices heard.

 K. Sujata on WGN Business Lunch with Amy Guth

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Sujata joined Amy Guth on WGN’s Wintrust Business Lunch to talk about why CFW created The 100 Day Fund, who should apply, and how to get involved in the effort to end gender bias.

Alysia Tate on Vocalo’s Feminist Wednesday

 AtateVocalo edit

“In my lifetime, I haven’t seen this broad, widespread, public activism around women’s issues.”

Director of Programs Alysia Tate joined Jill Hopkins’ Feminist Wednesday on Vocalo to discuss how the Chicago community can continue to support women and girls and issues of gender equity, and engage a new generation of girls and boys in activism, through The 100 Day Fund. Alysia shared some of the projects that CFW has already awarded grants to through the Fund, including Global Girls, Demoiselle 2 Femme and Sillk Road Rising. She also broke down the application process and explained what it means to offer “rapid response” grants.


Sujata on The Sunday Spin: What Comes After the March?

The day after the Women’s March on Chicago, Sujata stopped by WGN’s SundaySpin to talk about the March and how women and men can continue to support gender equity. Says Sujata: “This is a growth of a new movement that brings women and men from all different backgrounds, from all different approaches, to come together to talk about the issues and really think about gender equity.” Rick and Sujata discussed how to translate protest into sustained change, and how to bridge the political divide to have conversations about shared values, including gender equity.

La Marcha de las Mujeres en Univision

Directora de Programas de CFW, Alysia Tate, habló con Marcela Perez sobre la Marcha de las Mujeres, feminismo, y como las mujeres pueden continuar la lucha por igualdad.

CFW’s Director of Programs, Alysia Tate, spoke with Marcela Perez about the Women’s March, feminism, and how women can continue the fight for equality.

Shared Lessons from Chicago Nonprofit Merger Study

Nonprofit Quarterly breaks down the findings of the Chicago Nonprofit Merger Research Project: language and experience matter; think and act strategically; and a board advocate can be key to a successful merger.

Sujata also participated in a podcast on the Chicago Nonprofit Merger Study, sharing her experience leading CFW through its merger with The Eleanor Foundation. Sujata joined Courtney VanLonkhuyzen – a current CFW board member – who served as lead negotiator for The Eleanor Foundation, to discuss why it made sense to merge the two organizations, the challenges posed by merging, and what nonprofits should consider before deciding to merge.

Webinar: Women and Girls Under the Trump Presidency

Do you have questions about how the new administration may impact the lives of women and girls? Sujata joined David Lloyd on Mission + Strategy’s Election Implications webinar series to talk about what the Trump Administration might mean for women and girls. Sujata and David covered the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, plans to defund Planned Parenthood, the Administration’s impact on Title IX enforcement on college campuses, and the future of women’s economic security under President Trump.


2017 Impact Awards Honorees Announced

You’re invited! Join us Thursday, March 23 for the 2017 Impact Awards at Venue SIX10 to celebrate nine leaders who have shown great dedication and commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in Chicago. Meet this year’s honorees, and register to attend at: www.cfw.org/2017impactawards/.

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

 Save the date for the LBTQ Giving Council’s annual International Women’s Day Dance on Saturday, March 4, 2017! The event will be held at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

CFW Receives Coca-Cola Grant

Coke Foundation

CFW was awarded $50,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation to support the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative. The Initiative is developing a new generation of nonprofit leaders through skill-building, coaching, and mentoring. By bringing leaders together, the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative lays the groundwork for long-term partnerships and collective engagements that produce successful advocacy and social change.

Be Part of Talk It Out – Share Your Story!

Talk It Out is back, and we want to hear from you! March 26-April 1, CFW will be engaging the Chicagoland community in a week-long, citywide discussion about how we can end gender bias and achieve gender equity by 2030.

But first, we want to hear your story. Send us a short video or audio message about a time you or someone you know was treated differently because of your gender, and you could be featured in this year’s Talk It Out! Record a short video or audio message and email it to us at 100percent@cfw.org by February 22 for the chance to be featured!


Chicago Tribune Examines Impact of Violence on Women & Girls

Congratulations to Eleanor Career Advancement Program (ECAP) graduate Mary M., who recently graduated from college (a year ahead of schedule)! Mary emigrated to the United States from Brazil, and joined Cara Chicago after leaving an abusive marriage. CFW’s support helps to prepare Cara women for the next step in their professional journeys, whether that be additional training, enrolling in formal educational programs, or finding a more suitable job through which they can advance their pay.You can learn more about Mary’s story here.

Apna Ghar Opens Uptown Women’s Shelter

(Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune)

On January 23, Apna Ghar opened a new 12-bedroom shelter in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood to help women leaving abusive homes. With 50 different languages spoken by staff, Apna Ghar now operates one of the largest culturally sensitive domestic violence shelters in the country. Next up for Apna Ghar: a satellite office in Niles and transitional apartments for survivors.


Legislation Proposed to Protect Reproductive Choice in Illinois

Illinois is currently one of four states with a “trigger law” that would criminalize abortion, as well as several forms of  birth control, in the event of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-12) has proposed legislation to protect reproductive choice and access to reproductive health care in Illinois. You can find your representative and ask them to support HB40 here.

Illinois Expands Access to Health Care Information

Photo courtesy of the Center for Disease Control.

On January 1, an amendment to the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act (HCRCA) went into effect, ensuring health care practitioners cannot “withhold medical information from their patients based on religious objections,” according to the Illinois ACLU. Previously, the HCRCA protected providers who withheld information from patients, including information about in vitro fertilization and abortion, based on the provider’s religious objections

In Women’s March, Nonprofit Leaders See Galvanizing Moment

Photo courtesy of The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Photo courtesy of The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explores how the current political climate has spurred traditionally apolitical nonprofits to get involved in organizing around The Women’s March on Washington.

“We definitely see it as a place to capture people’s attention and get them into a pipeline of advocacy, whether with the center or other organizations,” said Kelly Baden, interim senior director for U.S. policy and advocacy at Center for Reproductive Rights. “The march is just one day, but the work that we need to do is for years to come.”

NYT Highlights Growing Number of Incarcerated Women

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Nicholas Kristof examines the growing number of women in U.S. prisons, and the toll mass incarceration takes on their families. Kristof writes, “The United States has recently come to its senses and begun dialing back on the number of male prisoners. But we have continued to increase the number of women behind bars; two-thirds of women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. America now incarcerates eight times as many women as in 1980, and only Thailand seems to imprison women at a higher rate.”

Black and Poor Women More Likely to Die from Cervical Cancer

A new study reexamining death rates from cervical cancer found “the rate at which black American women are dying from the disease is comparable to that of women in many poor developing nations.” These women lack access to the preventative care, including cancer screenings and early treatment. Doctors fear this disparity will worsen if Congress continues efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, which both provide preventative care to low-income women.

UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Focus Group

The University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Health Systems Science is conducting focus groups on attitudes towards LGBTQ issues within the African American community. The focus groups will last 90 minutes; snacks and compensation will be provided. Interested participants should contact Elizabeth Breen at ebreen2@uic.edu.