GoWomen: Embrace Complexity
October 02 2019


Embrace Complexity

Embracing complexity does not come naturally for any of us. As human beings, we are hard-wired to sift and sort things into categories so we can make meaning of them and move on as quickly as possible. In doing so, however, we cut our creative thinking off at the knees. If we are to succeed in our ambitious goal to advance gender equity in our region, we all must learn to rest comfortably in the margins between what is familiar to us, and what is not, for as long as it takes for solutions to surface.

In recent years, CFW’s vision of gender equity has expanded and yes, it has gotten a bit complex. CFW is engaged in an extended conversation and learning process about what gender equity means for us, our communities and our region. We have spent time – alongside grantees, donors, board members and others throughout our communities – envisioning the world we are striving for and the path to get there.

Gaining clarity about what gender equity means for us remains an evolving process. An essential part of that process is the practice of engaging our broader community of grantees and stakeholders in the conversation. CFW thus created the Learning Cycle, which is taking place throughout 2019 and includes a series of grantee convenings designed to help unearth questions that organizations we support may have about gender equity. Through these learnings, CFW can then refine and restructure programs in ways that better support our communities and our vision of equity.

The issues that CFW addresses on a daily basis are as complex and multifaceted as the women and girls that call Chicago home. That is why organizations like CFW – ones who work across issue areas and in collaboration with others – are critical to lifting up our region.

I am thrilled by the possibility of what I can learn tomorrow to advance this work even further. Thanks for being here to learn alongside me.

Let’s get to work,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women



Natalie Moore to moderate conversation with Elaine Welteroth at Annual Luncheon

We are excited to share that Natalie Moore, a reporter on WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities team, is confirmed to moderate our keynote conversation with Elaine Welteroth, former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, at Chicago Foundation for Women’s 34th Annual Luncheon on October 15! At this year’s event, nearly 2,000 guests will listen in on a dynamic conversation between Elaine and Natalie – one that will span from topics such as gender norms and bias, to Elaine’s professional and personal journey (and most valuable advice), to racial justice, to intersectionality, to fashion, to politics and beyond! Don’t miss out – register for the Annual Luncheon today.

Take a Peek: 34th Annual Luncheon Program

Now that you know this year’s Luncheon will include Natalie Moore of WBEZ, we wanted to make sure you saw the rest of what we have planned for this year:

More information and tickets available at www.cfw.org/luncheon.

CFW is a 2019 Chicago Innovation Awards Finalist!

Out of 450 nominees, Chicago Foundation for Women’s Englewood Women’s Initiative has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 18th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards. As a Top 100 Finalist, Chicago Foundation for Women is also in the running for the People’s Choice Award, which is determined by popular vote – VOTE FOR US TODAY! Voting ends on Tuesday, October 15. (Note: CFW is on the last page under the “Neighborhood” category).

The Englewood Women’s Initiative (EWI) focuses resources on the needs of women living in Englewood, embodying CFW’s mission to invest in women and girls as catalysts, building stronger communities for all. It is our goal to see that this initiative serves as a global, scalable model for creating improved outcomes for underserved populations – including helping to alleviate community violence – by focusing on the comprehensive needs of women and their children. Learn more here.

SOFA Chicago Expo names CFW Opening Night Beneficiary

SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design) Fair in Chicago is the premier gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design.​ This year’s theme is “Women in the Arts,” and SOFA is partnering with Chicago Foundation for Women as the event’s Opening Night Beneficiary. Founded in 1993, SOFA has proven to be a highly-anticipated event within the Chicago area and the art world. Returning again to Navy Pier this October 31 through November 3, the fair will bring approximately 80 galleries, dozens of partners and thousands of art lovers to Festival Hall for a weekend full of art and culture. For more information, please visit www.sofaexpo.com.

We are hiring!

Are you (or someone you know) looking to work for a mission-driven, high-energy organization dedicated to advancing gender equity in the Chicago region? CFW is looking to hire a Development Associate. The full position announcement and application instructions are available here. Deadline to apply is October 15, 2019.



Sisters in Cinema launches fellowship for Black women filmmakers, LBTQ stories

With support from Chicago Foundation for Women’s LBTQ Giving Council, Sisters in Cinema has awarded three first-time feature filmmakers with a $2,500 grant for the production of a documentary film. This program is an initiative created to support Black women and gender-nonconforming nonfiction directors working on films that center LBTQ stories. Read more about the project in The Windy City Times.



Women Employed – No Salary History Toolkit

On September 29, 2019, the No Salary History Law became the law in Illinois, barring employers from seeking information about the past wages of job applicants during the hiring process. It’s a major advance for gender pay equity – the practice of factoring past wages into salary offers is a major contributing factor to persistent wage gaps.

In advance of the law’s effective date, CFW grantee Women Employed has created tools to help employers and job seekers navigate this change.

Chicago City Council passes critical ordinance to #StopSuspendingLives

In 2018, CFW grantee Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) issued a report, “Stopping the Debt Spiral,” that found City fines and fees were keeping families from employment and stuck in debt. COFI recommended limiting driver’s license suspensions and fees. Earlier this month, the Chicago City Council passed Ordinance O2019-5547, which takes the first, critical steps to reform ticketing, payment plans and ticket debt collection practices in the city. Thank you to Mayor Lightfoot, City Clerk Anna Valencia, COFI and many other tireless advocates for standing up for low-income, working families across Chicago!



CFW partners with Chicago Humanities Festival for Supermajority, November 7

Chicago Foundation for Women is excited to partner with the Chicago Humanities Festival for Supermajority, featuring Ai-jen Poo, Alicia Garza, and Cecile Richards on Friday, November 8 at the Harold Washington Library Center.

Three women behind some of today’s most powerful political organizations – Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood; Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network; and Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance – have come together to found Supermajority, a community for people of all backgrounds, races and ages who want to fight to make sure everyone is treated equally, no matter their gender. Richards, Garza, and Poo will join the Chicago Sun-Times’s Laura Washington to discuss their motivation in creating Supermajority, and lay out their plan for creating gender equity. Information and tickets available here.

Young Feminist Conference, November 9

CFW is thrilled to once again partner with Cause the Effect to present the 2019 Young Feminist Conference. Planning is underway for the annual half-day Conference to explore topics of intersectional feminism, empowerment and activism. While this Conference is tailored to young feminists age 14-21, all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Reserve your free tickets here today.

Some People (Every)Body

“SOME PEOPLE” (Every)Body is a group art and photography exhibition and International engagement project curated by Kimberly J. Soenen. This multidisciplinary project examines the ethics, people, processes and systems that constitute the maintenance of, and barriers to, health for human beings. Opening night reception will take place on Friday, October 18. Open to the public. Information available here.

Leave a Legacy of Purpose with CFW

A former welder, and the daughter of farmers, Reverend Willie Taplin Barrow does not fit the stereotypical image of a philanthropist. But as a leader in Chicago’s civil rights movement, Rev. Barrow believed in breaking barriers and challenging the status quo. Thanks to her estate, Rev. Barrow’s legacy and fierce commitment to justice lives on through The Willie Taplin Barrow Fund for Black Women’s Leadership at Chicago Foundation for Women. There are many ways to leave your legacy at Chicago Foundation for Women. To learn more about planned giving, visit www.cfw.org/plannedgiving, or contact Katy Thomas at 312.577.2836 or kthomas@cfw.org.