GoWomen: January 21 is Only the Beginning.
January 04 2017

Go Women Banner.


January 21 is Only the Beginning.

Since the election, we have heard from people across the Chicago region.  Men and women alike are asking us at CFW, “How can I get involved to support women’s issues and the fight for gender equity?” Many of you are planning to make your voices heard at the Women’s March on Washington, and its sister march in Chicago, on January 21. We know that the movement cannot stop when the marching ends if we are to achieve true gender parity in our lifetimes.

In order to continue our region’s momentum, Chicago Foundation for Women has launched The 100 Day Fund to spur local, grassroots organizing and advocacy to advance equity for women and girls. The 100 Day Fund will make rapid-response grants to provide resources for creative, on-the-ground approaches to engage more people in civic action and advocacy on issues affecting women and girls in the Chicago region.

Starting today, CFW is accepting proposals for projects aimed at increasing civic engagement around issues of gender equity. Your idea can be big or small; grants will range from $500 to $2,500. The goal of The 100 Day Fund is to grow a network of individuals, groups and organizations to stand together in support of equality. Of particular interest are projects that support and expand the engagement and leadership of women of color.

You can also take a stand and continue the fight on behalf of women and girls by contributing to The 100 Day Fund. Your donation will quickly go to support community-based leaders, programs and activism in the Chicago region. You can donate online here.

Our activism and solidarity cannot end on January 21. The Women’s March on Washington is an opportunity to come together and say in one voice that women’s rights matter. That every woman and girl has the right to live and thrive in safe, healthy and just communities.

Help us continue our movement and create a better world for women and girls. Support CFW and The 100 Day Fund today.

Once the marches are over, the true work begins. This is about  transforming our communities for the better, and improving the lives of women and girls in our region. Join us, and invest in the other half.


2016 was a Historic Year for Women – Let’s Make 2017 Better

Photos courtesy of (clockwise): Politico Magazine/Redux Pictures; Progress Illinois; The Huffington Post The New York Times/Damon Winter; and AP/J. Scott Applewhite.

In her last blog post of 2016, K. Sujata reviewed the highs and lows of 2016 for women and girls, from a historic election that brought women’s issues to the forefront of American political debates, to the devastating impact of Illinois’ ongoing budget crisis on women and their families. While many of us are glad to leave 2016 behind, the past year also showed us that women are powerful when we come together, that we will not sit idly by as decisions are made and we will continue to make our voices heard.

At CFW, our New Year’s resolution is to continue to advocate for women and girls in 2017, and invest in them as catalysts for change. We hope you’ll join us.

K. Sujata Covers Chicago Woman Magazine

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CFW President and CEO K. Sujata sat down with Chicago Woman Magazine to discuss the current state of women in Chicago, the continuing impact of Illinois’ budget crisis on women and girls, and what’s next for Chicago Foundation for Women. With the election behind us, CFW is focused on increasing women’s economic security and recruiting new Male Champions of Change as part of The 100% Project to achieve gender equity by 2030. Says Sujata, “I want to see a world where every girl child has the chance and opportunity that I had even though you don’t come from a wealthy family, and that you are not restricted to your class and status.”

Eleanor Foundation History in the Spotlight


Illustration courtesy of WTTW.

Illustration courtesy of WTTW.

In 2012, Chicago Foundation for Women merged with the Eleanor Foundation, a nonprofit focused on increasing women’s economic security and stability, in order to increase our impact on women and girls in Chicago. Before becoming the Eleanor Foundation in the early 2000s, the Eleanor Club housing network provided safe, low-cost housing to single women, empowering young women from across the country to live independently while pursuing careers in Chicago. Last month, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight highlighted the history of Chicago’s Eleanor Clubs and their impact on women throughout the city.



CFW Announces Grants for Women’s Economic Security


CFW announced 47 grants totaling $1,087,000 to support economic security and reproductive justice for women and girls. CFW’s fall grant cycle focuses on economic security through the Eleanor Network, and reproductive justice through the Catalyst Fund for Reproductive Justice.

Meet CFW’s New Manager of Communications

KAS Headshot Edit

CFW is delighted to welcome Kyle Ann Sebastian as the new Manager of Communications. Kyle Ann comes to Chicago Foundation for Women from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, where she handled communications and media relations. Prior to that, Kyle Ann was a Dunn Fellow in the Office of the Governor. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Impact Awards

Join us on Thursday, March 23 for the 2017 Impact Awards at Venue SIX10! CFW will celebrate nine honorees who have shown great dedication and commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in Chicago. Stay tuned for an email announcing this year’s honorees later this month.

Continuing the Conversation: ‘Talk It Out’ Round 2

This March, CFW will once again initiate a weeklong, citywide conversation series around gender bias. Last year, CFW partnered with organizations like The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Forefront, BP, and the Mikva Challenge to encourage conversations about gender and unconscious bias. This year, Talk It Out is back to continue the conversation and engage the Chicagoland community is a discussion of how we can end gender bias, and achieve gender equity, by 2030.

If you are interested in hosting a conversation with your network or would like to learn more, email us at 100percent@cfw.org.


Chicago Tribune Examines Impact of Violence on Women & Girls

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. Brianna Lawrence, 24, Fenger Academy High School valedictorian and Demoiselle 2 Femme participant, is now a graduate of the School of Social Work at the University of Chicago.

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. Brianna Lawrence, 24, Fenger Academy High School valedictorian and Demoiselle 2 Femme participant, is now a graduate of the School of Social Work at the University of Chicago.

10 percent of victims of Chicago’s rising gun violence are women, and hundreds more are victims of a variety of violent crimes. However, these statistics don’t fully reflect the reality of women and girls in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where girls are exposed to traumatic violence at a young age. These girls often go on to become involved in gangs and the juvenile justice system, which lacks the research and resources to meet the needs of women and girls. The Chicago Tribune provides an in-depth look at how young women are impacted by Chicago’s gun violence and what the justice system and nonprofits can do to address girls unique needs.

The Tribune highlighted CFW grantee Demoiselle 2 Femme, which provides programming for young women on Chicago’s South Side to give them the support and skills to achieve their goals and become leaders in their communities.

The Viola Project – Creating Hope for 2017

Viola Summer camp

The Chicago Tribune’s Heidi Stevens highlighted Skyler Schrempp, artistic director of CFW grantee the Viola Project, as one of 10 people giving her hope for 2017. Schrempp and the Viola Project use the power of Shakespeare to empower young women to find and use their voice to advocate on behalf of themselves and others

Brave Initiatives Thanks #GivingTuesday Donors



Brave Initiatives empowers girls to explore futures in STEM by hosting BraveCamps, which give girls the opportunity to learn web development and computer programming and design their own web-based project while being mentored by women in STEM. Brave Initiatives was recently selected as part of CFW’s #GivingTuesday to receive a $2,500 grant to support BraveCamps and other educational programming. A big thanks to everyone who donated and supported Brave Initiatives!


Illinois Budget Stalemate Putting Domestic Violence Services at Risk

Service providers for victims of domestic violence are wondering how they’ll make it through 2017 if Illinois continues to operate without a budget. Domestic violence organizations have already gone six months without State funding, after being left out of the June 2016 stopgap bill, and worry that they will not be able to continue to operate much longer without state funding. Funding for a variety of services through the stopgap bill expired at midnight on December 31, 2016, leaving Illinois once again without any form of budget.

You can take action by joining the Responsible Budget Coalition and LOLIllinois in asking Illinois’ elected officials to do their job and pass a responsible, balanced budget.

Women’s March on Chicago

On January 21, 2017, women from across the United States and around the world will gather to march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, to make our voices heard and show our support for women’s rights, civil liberties, and our shared values of diversity, equality and inclusion. The Women’s March on Chicago will kick off Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park. The route and contact information for the March, as well as downloadable flyers, can be found here. Register for the march through Eventbrite for updates. You can find more information about sister marches at www.womensmarchonamerica.org.

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

Save the date for the LBTQ Giving Council’s annual International Women’s Day Dance on Saturday, March 4, 2017! The event will be held at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.