GoWomen: Finding Strength in Our Diversity
July 12 2017



Finding Strength in Our Diversity

Women are not a monolith; their experiences, opinions and priorities are shaped by their faith, race, relationships and socioeconomic status.  We cannot ignore these differences, but must find ways to accept our differences while continuing to work together around shared goals and values. As Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw writes, “ignoring difference within groups contributes to tension among groups.” This tension came to the surface at the Women’s March on Washington, and moved the concept of intersectionality from the academic page into popular culture.

We must continue having conversations about how to create an inclusive feminism that acknowledges and celebrates women’s diversity. This is why we are excited to welcome Dolores Huerta and Alicia Garza to our 32nd Annual Luncheon and Symposium on October 19.

On the surface, Dolores and Alicia do not have much in common.  Dolores is Latina; Alicia is black. Dolores is a second-wave feminist and field organizer; Alicia is a millennial, and started #BlackLivesMatter as a tool for online organizing. But both women embody the practice of intersectionality in their feminism and activism, and share a deep commitment to building a more just world for all women and girls.

These shared values of justice and equity are the foundation of a ‘big-tent’ feminist movement, creating coalitions of diverse women working together towards a shared goal. We will not agree on everything. My priority will not be your priority. That is the nature of movements, of pluralist societies, of democracy.

We cannot allow these differences to further divide us and our collective power as women. We must find ways to listen, respectfully disagree, and, where we do agree, to work together.

By bringing these two extraordinary women together, we hope to advance the conversation about how we can bring diverse communities together, to find strength in our diversity, not division, and to take action and build a movement that works for all women and girls. I hope you’ll join us.



All of us at CFW were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Doris Conant. Doris was a bright light in Chicago feminist philanthropy, supporting CFW as a member of the board of directors and launching the Doris & Howard Conant Fund for Women’s Rights to support innovative advocacy organizations in 2012. Doris was a passionate supporter of civil rights, walking with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Selma to Montgomery March, and again in Chicago. She led community organizing to improve public housing on Chicago’s West Side, and spearheaded efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois. Doris received CFW’s Founders Impact Award in 2016.

We are so grateful to have counted Doris as a member of the CFW family, and we are honored to celebrate her life and carry on her legacy at CFW.



32nd Annual Luncheon Tickets On Sale

Tickets for CFW’s 32nd Annual Luncheon on October 19 will go on sale in two weeks! The annual luncheon sells out quickly, so guarantee your spot by reserving a table now.

This year’s luncheon will feature a conversation between activists and organizers Dolores Huerta and Alicia Garza about how women and men from diverse communities can come together to take action to achieve the shared goal of equal opportunities and rights for women and girls.

Dolores Huerta_Cropped

Dolores Huerta began her career as a labor organizer, fighting for better working conditions for California farm workers. She worked to build an inclusive labor movement that recognized the experience of women laborers. Dolores challenged gender discrimination within the union and shined a light on the harassment and sexual violence female farm workers experienced, not as a separate ‘women’s issue,’ but as an labor and economic justice issue. Dolores has also worked to increase Latina representation in politics and served as honorary co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest award for a U.S. civilian – in 2012.


Headshot Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza created the social media phenomenon #BlackLivesMatter, changing the national conversation about policing, civil rights and violence against communities of color. A true 21st century grassroots campaign driven by social media and online organizing, #BlackLivesMatter has grown into a movement affirming the inherent value of all black lives. Alicia now works with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to create fairer economic conditions, with an eye cast towards the needs of black women.

CFW Announces 68 Spring Grants

Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) announced 68 grants totaling $913,550 to support access to health, freedom from violence and economic security for women and girls in the Chicago region. The foundation’s spring grant cycle focuses on access to health and freedom from violence. Additional grants supporting women’s economic security were made as part of the Englewood Women’s Initiative and the Giving Councils and Circles at CFW.

CFW Joins Fair Workweek Coalition

On June 27, CFW joined members of Chicago’s Fair Workweek Coalition to announce the introduction of the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance to standardize fair scheduling practices for low-wage and hourly workers. CFW President/CEO K. Sujata will also chair Chicago’s Fair Workweek Task Force. The ordinance would give the 61% of working women who are hourly workers the stability and predictability to balance their roles as employees, caregivers, students and community members.


CFW + Teamwork Englewood Kick Off Englewood Women’s Initiative


Today CFW, Teamwork Englewood and the Englewood Quality of Life Plan are kicking off the Englewood Women’s Initiative (EWI) to increase women’s economic security in the Englewood community. EWI will equip eligible women with the tools, skills and resources to put them on a path to good-paying jobs, earning at least $40k, and long-term economic stability. You can learn more, including how to apply, at www.teamworkenglewood.org


CFW Rated 4-Star Charity 4th Year Running


Chicago Foundation for Women has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, for the fourth year in a row. A 4-star rating indicates that CFW adheres to sector best practices, demonstrates strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency. CFW takes pride in serving as a trusted partner and steward of our donors’ money.


LGBTQ Philanthropy Grows, Diversifies to Meet News Challenges

During the month of June, people gather at Pride Parades across the country to celebrate and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. June marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which not only sparked the gay rights movement, but inspired the beginning of LGBTQ-focused philanthropy. CFW President/CEO K. Sujata explores how LGBTQ philanthropy has grown and expanded in the years since Stonewall to encompass the changing needs of the community it serves.

A New Generation of Philanthropists

All three of CFW’s Giving Councils – the LBTQ Giving Council, the Women United Giving Council and the Young Women Giving Council – have experienced a spike in donations and membership in the first half of 2017. The Young Women’s Giving Council has seen the most growth, increasing its membership and giving by almost 50 percent in the span of a year. In her July column for Chicago Woman Magazine, Sujata breaks down what this new generation of philanthropists means for the future.



CBS Chicago Highlights ‘Women Who Weld’

CBS Chicago highlighted Jane Addams Resource Corporation’s job training program, which prepares women like Valerie and Sheri for good-paying jobs in welding and manufacturing. JARC helps women navigate barriers to education including childcare and transportation.


Congratulations Women Forward Graduates!

Congratulations to the Northwest Side Housing Center’s Women Forward Chicago 2017 graduates! Maria Cuevas is one of a cohort of 19 women who participated in the 3-month program to learn financial skills and life skills for success in their homes, jobs, and businesses. In a letter to Northwest Side Housing Center, Maria’s daughter Marisol wrote, “Thank you for believing in the women of your community…I am only one of many daughters to reap the rewards of a mother who is starting to know her worth. I love my mother more than anything in this world and I love you all for bringing her closer to the woman she was destined to be: a strong, capable, powerful force for her community…Please continue to believe in the power of women.”


Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force on BBC


Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force President Dr. David Ansell and Executive Director Dr. Anne Marie Murphy were interviewed as part of the BBC radio’s feature program about disparities in the breast cancer survival rates of white and black women, and how Chicago and the Task Force may serve as a national model. You can listen to The USA’s Deadly Racial Divide: Black women and Breast Cancer online.


Reproductive Justice Action League Applications Open

Do you know a young woman interested in learning how to organize for reproductive justice in the Midwest? Youth leaders (16-22) of all identities and backgrounds are invited to apply to join Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health Reproductive Justice Action League (RJAL) this summer, August 8-18th! You’ll learn how to organize, advocate, and educate to advance reproductive justice and protect young people’s rights to make decisions over their bodies. Apply here!


Silk Road Co-Founder Pens Ramadan Op Ed

Malik Gillani, co-founder of the Silk Road Rising theater companypenned an Op Ed for the Chicago Sun-Times, thanking friends and allies for standing with the Muslim community against Islamophobia, and to propose that to build a more inclusive and welcoming community, “we invite Muslims into our homes and workplaces and ask them to share their faith with us, allowing us to bear witness to the commitment that practicing Muslims have made to live their faith openly and proudly.”



Civic Federation Honors PNC

The Civic Federation’s Annual Civic Awards honored PNC financial services with the Addams-Palmer Award for Exemplary Civic Involvement by a Chicago Institution for its focus on long-term investments, charitable giving and volunteerism in the areas of early childhood education, support for women and girls and economic development. Sujata shared how PNC’s investment in women and girls helps build strong communities in the Chicago region. CFW is proud to have PNC as a supporter and partner, and a benefactor of the foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon this year. Congratulations to everyone at PNC on this well-deserved honor.

Deloitte Publishes Report on Women in the Boardroom

In its latest report on the state of women in the corporate sphere, Deloitte found that women occupy 15 percent of all board seats globally, an increase from 12 percent two years ago. In the United States, 14.2 percent of board seats are held by women, putting the U.S. in the middle of the pack — ahead of other industrialized nations like Japan (4.2 percent) and Russia (5.8 percent), but well below leaders like Norway (42 percent) or major trading partners such as the UK (20.3 percent) and Germany (19.5 percent).

Report: Representation Matters


In a new report on the state of women in government, Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics finds that while women make up only 19.4% of members in Congress they are effective lawmakers, with a willingness to work across the aisle and  a tendency to be “collaborative…more results-oriented, more likely to emphasize achievement over ego, and more concerned with achieving policy outcomes rather than receiving publicity or credit.” Women remain underrepresented in politics across the board, including in Illinois where not one of the eight candidates for governor is a woman.