GoWomen: Centering on Community
July 09 2020


Centering on Community

I trust that as you read this letter, you, your families, and loved ones continue to be safe and well. During this time, I have found strength by focusing on certain fundamental truths. These are things I hold close, and they ground me, strengthen me.

The first of these fundamental truths is the importance of family and gratitude. Over these past few months, I have had an abundance of time to spend with family; to reconnect, recharge, and renew our family bonds. In the process, I was able to listen, learn, and increase my capacity for gratitude. Indeed, even as I face many challenges, I am also abundantly blessed.

The second truth is the importance of community. Research has proven that a strong sense of community adds real value to our lives. It not only helps us feel more connected to the world around us, but it also makes a measurable difference in our happiness — and our health. As many of you reading this know, I am a proud resident of Chicago’s South Side. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that my moniker is @SouthsideGirl312. I am proud to say, over the years, my neighbors and I have demonstrated a willingness to give time, attention, and care in large measure to each other through our Block Club and other collective efforts. In turn, our families benefited from a strong sense of belonging.

On a daily basis, I’m reminded of the role community plays in the work of Chicago Foundation for Women and the role we play in our communities. As a community, we’ve seen and felt, first-hand, the ongoing impact challenges have had on our families, friends, colleagues, individual donors, grantee partner organizations, and large funders. These effects will be longstanding, but the resolve and strength we have encountered through our conversations with our supporters and partners give me hope, hope that can ground us all as we address our future challenges.

A couple of weeks ago, Chicago Foundation for Women announced an investment of nearly $1 million through our most recent round of grant awards to close out our fiscal year. In total, during the last year, CFW invested more than $2.8 million to support women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary individuals across Chicago. Included in the latest group of grant awards are organizations specifically focused on addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Black and trans women across the city, especially on the South and West Sides. CFW’s new grantee partners, including the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Chicago Reader, are addressing the crisis of violence in innovative ways. For their part, KOCO will be connecting the experiences of Black women and girls related to lack of safety to leadership development through its Girls Lead program, and Chicago Reader will be committed to community informed reporting, capturing, and amplifying the stories of women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary people of color across Chicago. We are excited to work with these and our other new partners.

With every new challenge, we are presented new opportunities. As I think back on my first year as President and CEO, I am proud of the many ways that CFW continues to evolve and change for the better. I’m encouraged by the connections being developed and the different ways we’re communicating and connecting. I’m also humbled by the generosity of our donors who continue to offer their support in these trying times.

As a community, we must continue to advocate for policies that support each and every one of us, not just those with the most strength or loudest voices. Now more than ever, we must be united in our work to make our communities better and stronger for all.

Let’s get to work, remotely,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women


Community Resources

Support Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
– Search by various criteria the City of Chicago minority and women-owned businesses here.
– Bossy Chicago has curated a list of women-owned businesses in various sectors across Chicago, which you can find here.

Mental Health Resources
– The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has compiled a list of mental health resources you can find here.

Anti-Racism Resources

For White Allies
– Compiled resources for our white community allies or those seeking to become allies can be found here.

For Latinx Allies
– Compiled resources in Spanish for our Latinx community allies or those seeking to become allies with Spanish as their preferred language can be found here.
– Recursos recopilados para aliados de nuestra comunidad Latinx o aquellos que buscan convertirse en aliados y su idioma de preferencia es el español se pueden encontrar aquí.

For Talking About Race with Children
– Compiled resources for ways to speak to children about racism can be found here.

COVID-19 Resources

We have compiled and categorized a list of resources for nonprofits, families, and individuals, related to the current pandemic. If there is a resource you have found that is NOT on this list, please share it with us via email at ccordovaherrera@cfw.org, and we’ll make sure to add it. Find the list here.


Nearly $1 Million in Grants

We recently announced an investment of nearly $1 million by CFW through our recent grantmaking. Specifically, a group of new grants are focused on addressing the persistent violence affecting Black and trans women across the city. Read the full news release here.

2020 VIRTUAL Impact Awards

Join us for the Virtual 2020 Impact Awards as we honor local leaders for their commitment to improving the lives of women and girls by supporting fundamental rights and equal opportunities. Celebrate their incredible work on Thursday, July 23, online. Learn more about this year’s honorees and register to join us here.

Equality Can’t Wait Challenge

We’re excited to share that Felicia Davis, our President and CEO, will be participating as an expert reviewer for the first competition centered on gender equality, Equality Can’t Wait, putting significant resources behind ideas related to women’s empowerment that are often overlooked and underfunded. Learn more here.

Beyond the Binary: Building an Inclusive Movement for Gender Equity

Thank you to those that joined our virtual Beyond the Binary event on Tuesday, June 30.

The interactive learning session, virtual conversation, and panel with our partners was hosted in partnership with CFW’s LBTQ Giving Council and Brave Space Alliance.

Featured speakers included Scout Bratt, Outreach & Education Director at Chicago Women’s Health Center; Tania Cordova, Policy Advocate at Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois; Anna DeShawn, Founder of E3 Radio; Angelíca Grace, Youth Task Force at About Face Theatre; and Stephanie Skora, Associate Executive Director at Brave Space Alliance.

If you missed it or would like to relive it, you can find the recorded livestream here.

Economic Mobility Hubs: Gates and Women’s Funds Partnership

CFW is honored to have been selected to take part in the Economic Mobility Hubs, an 18-month effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase the support and resources necessary to advance economic mobility among women and girls. Read the full news release here.

Roundtable of Sisterhood: A Conversation About the Intersection of Gender and Racial Equity

The women’s movement must play a key role in addressing racism and gender inequity. Join us for a conversation with Black women leading Chicago organizations at the intersection of economic, racial, and gender justice on how we can use this moment of awakening to drive a meaningful shift toward change. Register here.

PRSA Chicago Chapter: Unlocking Your Brand Purpose to Drive Business Impact

Emily Dreke, VP of Development and Communications at CFW, will join a panel of industry professionals to discuss the role of purpose-driven public relations and corporate purpose on Wednesday, July 15 at 5:30 pm via Zoom. Register here.



Between Friends Announces New Executive Director

Sandy T. Williams, MPA, MFT, ICDVP, has been hired as the new Executive Director of Between Friends. Sandy will officially step into her role as Executive Director starting July 6, 2020.

Sandy comes to Between Friends from her position as Director of Domestic Violence Services at the YWCA Evanston North Shore, where she has provided leadership and management of the residential and community based domestic violence services since 2016. Read the announcement here.

Affinity Community Services Announces New Executive Director

McKensie Mack has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Affinity Community Services. McKensie is currently the Managing Director at Praxis Group and the Founding Partner of MMG, both of which are consultancies dedicated to building affirming cultures of repair, healing, and accountability. McKensie follows Imani Rupert-Gordon as Executive Director, who stepped down after 4 years in February. Read the announcement here.

Chicago Freedom School Announces New Executive Director

Tony Alvarado-Rivera (they/them/theirs) was named the new Executive Director of Chicago Freedom School. Tony has served the organization for eight years, originally hired as the Youth Programs Coordinator in 2012, and most recently as the Director of Youth Programs, beginning in 2016. Read the full announcement here.

And She Could Be Next Documentary on PBS

And She Could Be Next follows a defiant movement led by women of color as they fight for a truly reflective democracy and transform politics from the ground up. Filmed throughout 2018 and into 2019 and created by a team of women filmmakers of color, the film features a dynamic slate of history-makers including Stacey Abrams (GA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI), Rep. Lucy McBath (GA), Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX), Rep. Maria Elena Durazo (CA), and Bushra Amiwala (IL). The film originally aired on PBS in a two-part series on June 29 and 30. Watch the documentary online here.

Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund

With your support, CFW will address the long-term impact of COVID-19 through the Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund for Chicago’s Women and Girls. The Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund will invest in women and their families as they emerge from the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, and serve as a key resource for the Chicago nonprofit sector serving women and girls as they too take stock, recalibrate and rebuild. With CFW’s close partnership, these organizations will rebuild upon an even-stronger foundation, one that centers gender equity and racial justice in everything they do. Learn more about the Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund here.