GoWomen: Beyond the Bridge
August 02 2017



Beyond the Bridge

Illustration © Deva Pardue 2016, ForAllWomankind.com


In a society comprised of diverse people and interests, progress depends bringing together different groups in a coalition to work towards a common goal. The women’s suffrage movement relied on progressive white women and free black women, advocates of prohibition,  Quakers and Mormons, and abolitionists.

Coalition building is hard work. Social movements are rarely unanimous. They survived disagreement, contradictions and mistakes. But they did not lose sight of their shared values and end goal.

Women are a natural coalition, with common interests and shared experiences of gender bias. But women are neither homogeneous nor unanimous. We come from different races, religions, political and socio-economic backgrounds, with varied self interests. We also know that in order to achieve gender equity, we need to involve men as changemakers with a vested interest in ending gender bias. Getting to gender equity will require a coalition of men and women, of all races, faiths, sexualities, diverse organizations and interest groups, working towards one goal.

Many of the major policy victories for women and girls were won by coalitions. Planned Parenthood, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Illinois ACLU worked together to pass comprehensive sex education in Illinois in 2013. The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is the product of a five year campaign by ten organizations, including CFW grantees Latino Union, ARISE Chicago, AFIRE and Women Employed. CFW recently joined a coalition of organizations working to guarantee Chicago workers fair scheduling.

What lessons can we learn from these and other coalitions?

On Wednesday, August 30, Chicago Foundation for Women will present Beyond the Bridge: From Creating Coalitions to Creating Change for Women and Girls at Harold Washington Library. This free event will feature a panel of women dedicated to improving Chicago through their activism and organizing. We hope to engage in a conversation about uniting diverse communities and building strong, women-led coalitions to achieve social change.

This panel will set the stage for the conversation between Dolores Huerta and Alicia Garza at the 32nd Annual Luncheon on Thursday, October 19. Dolores and Alicia will discuss their experiences organizing in diverse communities, and how we can come together for equal opportunities for all women and girls.  We hope you will join us.


32nd Annual Luncheon + Symposium Tickets On Sale Now!

Reserve your seat at the 32nd Annual Luncheon + Symposium today! Join Alicia Garza, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers, at Chicago Foundation for Women’s 32nd Annual Luncheon on Thursday, October 19, for a conversation about how diverse communities can unite and take action to achieve equal opportunities and basic rights for all women and girls.

The morning symposium will feature a conversation with diverse activists and leaders dedicated to building the power of women and girls throughout our region. Through small discussion groups, you’ll connect with others committed to ending gender bias, so that you leave informed, inspired and energized. Registration is required to attend the symposium.


Beyond Bridges: Free Library Event Explores Woman-Led Coalitions


Join CFW Wednesday, August 30, at Harold Washington Library for “Beyond the Bridge: From Creating Coalitions to Creating Change,” featuring a conversation with local leaders on what it takes to unite diverse communities and build strong, women-led coalitions. A panel discussion will include Tanya Watkins of Southsiders Organized for United and Liberation (SOUL), Jennifer Arwade of Communities United and Ana Romero of the Chicago Workers Collaborative. Attendees will also have the chance to win two tickets to a screening of the new documentary DOLORES, exploring the legacy and impact of 32nd Annual Luncheon speaker Dolores Huerta.


Beyond Bridges: Free Library Event Explores Woman-Led Coalitions


CFW, Voices for Illinois Children, and Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Urban Research and Learning today released a new report on the impact of Illinois’ budget impasse on women and children. The report details how women and their children continue to bear the burden of the state’s two-year impasse.

Payments to social service providers were delayed by an average of eight months, forcing layoffs and reductions in services offered and people served. The number of women receiving preventative cancer screenings dropped by 34 percent, and 7,800 survivors of domestic violence were turned away from shelters. You can read the full report here.


CFW Awarded $1 Million MacArthur Foundation Grant


CFW has received a $1 million, four-year grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to advance basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls through leadership development, capacity building and community education. CFW was one of ten organizations to receive a Community Capital Grant from MacArthur, in a round of grants “designed to fight violence.”

The majority of the grant funds will support CFW’s endowment, ensuring the foundation’s long-term sustainability and capacity to remain a frontline funder and advocate addressing the most pressing issues affecting women and girls. The funds will also support CFW’s continued efforts to build a growing network of individuals and institutions to achieve gender equity in the Chicago region by 2030.

“This grant is an investment in the future of CFW,” President and CEO K. Sujata said. “The challenges facing women and girls will not be solved overnight. These additional resources will strengthen CFW’s capacity and help us continue to fight for generations of girls to come. We are grateful to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for its confidence in CFW’s vision and continued leadership in the movement for gender equity.”


CFW Welcomes New Board Chair and Elects Four New Board Members


Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) is pleased to announce the election of Patricia Costello Slovak as Board Chair and the election of four new members to the CFW Board of Directors.


New board members are Carmin Awadzi, founder and CEO of Magnolia Custom Homes, Susan M. Kurowski, partner at Deloitte, Gretchen M. Wolf, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Ann Marie Wright, Chief Operating Officer for the North American Commercial Bank for BMO Financial Group. The board also voted to elect Blair Wellenseik as treasurer and Kelly Smith-Haley as secretary. Wendy White Eagle will serve as past chair.

“We are delighted to welcome Carmin, Susan, Gretchen and Ann Marie to our Board of Directors, and to welcome Pat as our new Board Chair,” CFW President/CEO K. Sujata said. “Their diverse expertise and shared commitment to investing in women and girls are an asset not only to Chicago Foundation for Women, but our entire region.”



Charlotte Lindon

CFW was saddened to learn of the passing of Charlotte Lindon at the age of 96. Charlotte worked as a social worker with the American Red Cross during World War II, and was involved in charity throughout her life. She was one of the first supporters of CFW in 1986, and created the Elick and Charlotte Lindon Fund. Through the fund, Charlotte supported organizations like the Empowered Fe Fes at Access Living, a young women’s advocacy and peer support group, and support for pregnant and parenting homeless youth and their children at The Night Ministry.


Barbara Rose

Barbara Rose with CFW Past Chair Wendy White Eagle

CFW offers its condolences to the family of Barbara Rose, who passed away at the age of 79. Barbara dedicated her life to improving her community and the lives of others. In addition to earning a masters in social work, Barbara marched the last Selma March into Montgomery in the 1960s, and worked with the National Welfare Rights to organize welfare mothers in Michigan City, Indiana. Barbara joined the CFW community in 1997, serving on the Board of Directors from 2004-2010, and as a member of the Alumnae Council. In addition to her own commitment to CFW, Barbara introduced many of CFW’s most active board members and generous supporters to the organization. We would not be the organization we are today without her. She will be missed.


Englewood Women’s Initiative Launches

Natalie Moore, WBEZ, covered the launch of the Englewood Women’s Initiative, speaking with Rosalind Moore from Teamwork Englewood, about the importance of investing in economic security for women. The Englewood Women’s Initiative will equip 50 women with the skills and resources to put them on a path to good-paying jobs and long-term economic stability.


CFW Spring Grants Reflect Anti-Violence Push

From Inside Philanthropy: “CFW recently announced a total of 68 new grants totaling $913,550, mostly in support of access to women’s healthcare and freedom from violence. Thirty-four of these grants totaling $569,000 were part of the funder’s spring grant cycle. There was a big push for anti-violence support this round, with 25 of those 34 grants going to the cause…[A]nother thing that makes this foundation really interesting is that a significant amount of its support also comes from separate-but-affiliated giving circles and councils each year.” You can find more information on CFW’s spring grants here.


 At Galvanize, Women Turn Activism Into Action


Nearly 1,000 women turned out to McCormick Place for two days of learning how to run for office, start a business, and developing their leadership skills at the Chicago Galvanize Program. Attendees heard from local leaders, including “Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, Chicago Foundation for Women CEO K. Sujata, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter and other power players” focused on improving the lives of women and girls.

Sujata moderated the panel “Navigating Healthcare,” featuring Bright Pink CEO Katie Thiede, State Senator Toi Hutchinson, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action CEO Jennifer Welch and Access Living CEO Marca Bristo.



At BraveCamp, Girls Code for Good

The Chicago Sun-Times gives readers a peek into the summer BraveCamps run by CFW grantee Brave Initiatives, which teaches high school girls to code, with a focus on solving Chicago’s social issues. “The organization that has taught over 100 girls basic coding skills through summer camps and monthly workshops — all free of cost — is different from other existing programs, [co-founder Anne Bethune] said…At camp, students learn basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript, along with a focus on social issues, which girls tend to be more interested in, co-founder Emily Harburg said.”


Heidi Stevens Highlights Domestic Violence Legal Clinic

Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens sat down with CFW grantee Domestic Violence Legal Clinic Executive Director Margaret Duval to talk about the impact of the budget impasse on funding for domestic violence services like the legal clinic. While the clinic is only able to serve one of every seven people seeking protective orders, Duval maintains a sense of hope and optimism. “I focus on the successes that we get, and I focus on the sense of possibility and the difference we’re making.”


Midwest Access Coalition Offers Refuge for Women Seeking Care in Illinois

Every year, 3,000 women travel to Illinois to access safe, legal abortion. Due to burdensome restrictions in surrounding states, Illinois has become a haven for women seeking reproductive health care. Midwest Access Coalition offers practical support in the form of housing, food, transportation and emotional support to women who might otherwise find the cost of travel prohibitive or be forced to spend the night outside the clinic. The article also highlights the work of the Judicial Bypass Coordination Project at the ACLU of Illinois. Chicago Foundation for Women is proud to be a longstanding funder of both the Midwest Access Coalition and the ACLU of Illinois Reproductive Rights Project.



Serena Williams Takes on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

July 31 marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, signifying the extra time Black women must work in order to earn as much as white men due to persistent pay disparities. Professional tennis player (and greatest athlete ever) Serena Williams wrote an Op Ed for Fortune Magazine focused on her plans to create a more inclusive tech industry.

Write Serena, “Black women: Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you. Most of all, know that you’re worth it…Let’s get back those 37 cents.”

Report: Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago

Connecting to Safety and Stability: Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago, a new report from Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center, documents the existing domestic violence response system in Chicago and highlights the gaps that need to be filled in order to strengthen the existing response system and provide domestic violence programs and survivors with the support they need.