GoWomen: COVID-19 & Beyond
April 08 2020


GoWomen: COVID-19 & Beyond

A great deal has changed since I wrote to you in our March edition of GoWomen. Like you, CFW continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. As a staff, we are following the shelter in place requirements and limiting our public outings. When necessity requires we go out in public, we adhere to the social distancing guidelines. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and are well, but understanding that everyone has been impacted by this crisis in some way, CFW has put together this comprehensive list of resources for both individuals and nonprofits to help support us during this unprecedented time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the gender inequities women have been facing for quite some time. Early reports are just starting to shed light on the true impact of the pandemic on communities. Not only are women the majority of those serving on the frontlines as nurses, caregivers, and health care aides, but women are overrepresented in those laid off or furloughed as a result of business disruption in the hospitality and other sectors.

In the U.S., women disproportionately hold jobs in sectors where they are at a higher risk of exposure to the virus. Women comprise 90 percent of nurses, 92 percent of caregivers, two-thirds of those taking care of elderly family members, and 90 percent of those working in senior care facilities. In most cases, these jobs and their risks come with low wages, little to no paid family and sick leave, and lack of access to health care.

A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a few days ago shows dramatic job losses and sharp increases in unemployment for both women and men. However, women’s job losses outpace men in nearly every sector. What’s even more impactful, one in two of more than 30 million families in the U.S. with children under the age of 18 have a breadwinner mother, contributing at least 40 percent of their earnings to the household.

Further, in the isolation of shelter in place, some women are faced with increased instances of abuse at home. It’s important to note that domestic violence does not occur in a vacuum, but in the context of families and communities. We can all be more aware by checking in with our family and friends. One in three women worldwide is at risk, so, unfortunately, we probably all know someone who is a survivor. If someone confides in you, believe them, and share resources and support. The Illinois Department of Human Services, as well as the National Network to End Domestic Violence, have 24-hour hotlines and online resources to support survivors.

Many of the grassroots organizations that CFW serves are very involved in ensuring the continuity of their program delivery and providing front line support to those, for whom, COVID-19 has created the greatest disruption and impact on their safety and economic security.

CFW has been actively reaching out to these organizations to understand what they need most at this time and how we can be most impactful in our support. Currently, we are putting together a plan to provide additional coaching and technical assistance for local, small-to-medium-sized nonprofits, as well as women and minority-owned businesses with whom we work. Specifically, we are looking to provide hands-on and personalized support needed for organizations to navigate, apply for, and obtain the various federal, state, and local emergency response funds available, including the funds allocated for nonprofits and small businesses through the recently passed Paycheck Protection Act.

It’s not surprising that our community is resourceful and resilient. Our conversations during this pandemic with our grantee partners have energized us. It is through their resolve that our hope for our community is continuously renewed as we respond to the immediate crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a light on the gender inequities we have been fighting against since our founding 35 years ago and are tied to larger systemic issues, ones CFW continues to tackle through our advocacy investments and efforts. For our part, CFW is keeping these issues top of mind and looking for ways to alleviate some of the symptoms while putting permanent solutions in place.

It’s important to remember, especially during times of uncertainty, to express gratitude, practice grace, and offer patience with ourselves and each other. I also hope you are staying connected with loved ones, taking breaks, if you are working remotely, and practicing meaningful self-care.

You are in our thoughts as we continue to weather this storm. On behalf of the entire CFW team, thank you for being part of our community and continuing to support us, believe in us, and partner with us during this uncertain time. We are here for each other and are committed to continuing to fight for gender equity together. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected.

Let’s get to work, remotely,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women



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.

Equal Pay Day Coalition Virtual Press Conference

On Tuesday, March 31, Equal Pay Day Chicago coalition members participated in a virtual press conference via Facebook Live. Felicia Davis joined coalition members Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Chicago; Cherita Ellens, CEO of Women Employed; Barb Yong, Equal Pay Day Coalition Founder and American Association of University Women member; Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, President & CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción; and various elected officials, in discussing why equal pay matters, now more than ever, and what we can do to make equal pay a right for all women.

Women are on the front lines leading the efforts to combat and contain COVID-19 as the majority of healthcare workers, caregivers, and maintenance staff. They are also significantly impacted due to loss of wages, lack of savings, and emergency safety nets because they are paid less than men.

Watch the press conference HERE, and read the op-ed by coalition members HERE.

A Message from our President and CEO about COVID-19

President and CEO Felicia Davis shared an update on the steps we have taken to continue to support the most vulnerable women and their families in the Chicago region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video HERE.

VIDEO: Honor a Shero

Felicia closed out Women’s History Month by sharing a message for those working at the front lines combating the virus and encouraging others to join in honor a Shero in their lives with the #HonorAShero. Watch the video HERE.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Board Member Boot Camp

CFW’s Board Member Boot Camp is a program designed for those with limited to no nonprofit board service seeking to learn more about joining a board and becoming a valuable board member. The Spring 2020 cohort will convene June 6, 10, and 13. Learn more HERE.



Chicago Tonight: Social Service Organizations Race to Help At-Risk Communities

Felicia Davis joined the leaders of Access Living and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations on Chicago Tonight with Phil Ponce. Watch the segment HERE.

At Issue: Women Bearing Economic Brunt of Virus

Felicia Davis talked with Craig Dellimore about CFW’s work, issues of pay equity, sexual harassment, violence, and the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on women. Listen to the segment HERE.

BizCast HQ Interview with Felicia Davis

As part of the Chicago Innovation Awards, BizCastHQ interviewed Felicia Davis, President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women. She shared information about the work of CFW to help make gender equity a reality. She also shared the challenges CFW has faced in creating partnerships while looking for innovative holistic solutions to gender equity. The best business advice she’s received? “Not to let perfect be the enemy of good.” Watch the video HERE.



2020 Field Foundation Leaders Cohort

Congratulations to Jessica Newman, Co-Founder of Modos Dance Company, and Delrisha White, Associate Director of Sisters in Cinema, for being named members of the 2020 Field Leaders for a New Chicago Cohort as well as part of the 2020 Willie’s Warriors Cohort. Learn more HERE.

How Philanthropies Are Leaving Money On The Table When Not Deeply Engaging Women Of Color

Dr. Monika Black shares how women of color are stronger than ever and paying it forward, and how it’s time people followed their lead. Read the article HERE.

LBTQ International Women’s Day Dance

CFW’s LBTQ Giving Council celebrated its 6th Annual International Women’s Day Dance on March 6. Heartfelt thanks to Jessica Freiburg for chairing the fantastic event as well as all sponsors, donors, and attendees! Thanks to Danyel Duncan Photography for capturing the event photos, which you can find HERE.

Personal PAC 30th Anniversary

Personal PAC Founder Marcie Love and former Board Chairs Jerry Newton and Melissa Widen were honored at the Personal PAC 30th Anniversary Roast on March 7, 2020. All three of these powerful women are also strong supporters of CFW, and Chicago is a better place because of all of them. Congratulations!

Cabrini Green Legal Aid ED Featured in Crain’s Forum Racial Gaps

Last month on March 2, Esther Franco-Payne, Executive Director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, discussed criminal justice reform in a Crain’s Forum Racial Gaps piece on her views on the Criminal Justice Reform. “We have taken this blanket approach to denying people opportunity based on past mistakes,” Franco-Payne said. “And once people have served their time or paid their dues, we have to think about what is the opportunity for them to effectively get past that? We continue to deny people basic rights based on something they did 10 or 20 years ago.” Read the piece HERE.

Everyone Counts: 2020 Census

Join us in taking 10 minutes to fill out your 2020 Census form online! What’s at stake?

  • Billions in federal funds for public education, housing, hospitals, and infrastructure.
  • An accurate count helps us determine where our grant dollars need to be.
  • Congressional seats that represent and reflect our communities.

Fill out the online form with the code received in your mailed form HERE.

Become a Monthly Donor Today

Make your giving as steady as your commitment to gender equity by becoming a monthly donor to CFW. Your monthly gift will provide the consistent and reliable support critical to our mission of investing in women and girls as catalysts to build strong communities for all. The average monthly donation amount is just $25 – it all adds up.

Tell us how often you would like to give, and how much, and we can set up your recurring gift. It’s that easy! Become a monthly donor today.