GoWomen: Listen, Learn, Lead
February 05 2020


Listen, Learn, Lead

Chicago Foundation for Women has been advocating for women and girls for the last 35 years. So much of our work on gender equity requires listening, learning, and leading to advance policy and support advocacy. As we look toward the future of our gender equity work, it’s essential to recognize that these efforts are not done in a vacuum or alone. Our grantees and partners are, in many ways, leading these efforts. We listen to the stories from the front lines. We learn and offer thought partnership; we lead and provide crucial funding to support their efforts and proudly work alongside them.

Our legislators are also listening and learning alongside us. When other states are regressing in their policies, Illinois is leading. We’ve made significant progress in working to become a national leader in gender equity. On January 1, 2020, several new laws that specifically address issues women and girls face each day became effective. Many of these new regulations address sex education, workplace safety, and health care. New legislation supports comprehensive curriculum around sex education in grades 6 through 12, including age-appropriate discussions on the meaning of consent. This legislation will support establishing the understanding of consent for girls and boys. Studies have shown that teaching about consent can help reduce sexual coercion, harassment, and even assault.

In a bold move toward health care access, Illinois also passed several laws that protect women’s health care rights and the rights of pregnant women. Our hearts break when we see the disturbing statistics of Black infants being more than twice as likely to die than their white counterparts and Black women in Illinois being six times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Medical and health care facility staff are now required to participate in annual training addressing the pregnant and postpartum care of Black women and their infants. The Illinois Department of Public Health is also tasked with creating training to address implicit bias in the health care system.

These steps are getting us closer to ensuring all Illinois women and girls feel safe at home, school, and work. Let’s take pride that we are making our voices heard. When we center the most disenfranchised communities in our advocacy, we all thrive. For our part, we will continue to listen, learn, and lead. Read more about the recent legislation here.

Let’s get to work,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women



2020 Impact Awards

Join us for the 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. Help us celebrate their incredible work on Wednesday, March 18, at the Chicago History Museum.

Learn more about this year’s honorees and register here. Consider sponsoring in honor of one or all of our remarkable honorees, and you will have the opportunity to write a message to them that will be included in the program.

Willie’s Warriors 2020 Cohort

Chicago Foundation for Women is proud to announce the 2020 Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative cohort. The 22 Warriors represent a cross-section of Black women leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries.

Learn more about the Warriors here.

Request for Qualifications

Chicago Foundation for Women wants to work with you! CFW’s mission is grounded in our work toward gender equity. To achieve this work, CFW offers capacity building and leadership training to its grantees through our Core Concepts Coaching and Board Member Bootcamp, as well as unique programming to support Black women leaders through the Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative, and women of color leaders through Cultivate.

To help advance this work, we are looking to contract with vendors, consultants, coaches, instructors, and facilitators that are women- and/or minority-owned. Much of our work requires cultural competency and understanding, especially for instructors and facilitators. If you, or someone you know, would like to have the opportunity to work with us, please complete this Request for Qualifications.

Responses to this RFQ will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis.  Responses received by February 28, 2020, will be given priority review and consideration for immediate needs.

Our 2019 Annual Report: With Us, For Us is Available Online at withus.cfw.org

As a community-based funder, we are only as strong, innovative, and effective as our community. And, the CFW community rocks!

Our sincerest thanks to everyone who supported CFW’s 2019 investments in 117 organizations working to improve the lives of over 70,000 women, girls, trans, and gender nonconforming people in our region.

Together, we are building a stronger, more equitable Chicago region. For women. For girls. For all of us. Read more in CFW’s 2019 Annual Report: With Us, For Us, and share your thoughts with us by using #CFWWithUsForUs.

Staff Update: Meet Yazmín Wheelock, Development Associate

Chicago Foundation for Women welcomed Yazmín Wheelock in January as our newest staff member. As Development Associate, Yazmín provides general administrative support to the Development and Communications Department at Chicago Foundation for Women. She is also responsible for project-specific support in the areas of special events and donor relations.

Yazmín managed the Women’s Resource Center in the Santos Manuel Student Union at California State University, San Bernardino, where she coordinated events raising awareness on women’s issues and empowerment. This role got her interested in pursuing a minor in gender and sexuality studies while obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English with a creative writing track.

After moving to Chicago, Yazmín obtained a Grant Writing Certificate during her time at the Society of Surgical Oncology. Serving as the primary contact to the Society’s membership, she managed the database, streamlined processes, and assisted with social media and communications as needed before joining CFW in January of 2020.

Yazmín spent over thirteen years editing and proofreading academic manuscripts, including dissertations and theses. She has written creative copy and is published in literary journals. Currently, she is pursuing a Social Media Marketing Certificate at DePaul University.

January 21, 2020: National Day of Racial Healing

Caption: Melanie Conway, Foundation Assistant, joined the Pierce Family Foundation and participated in a healing circle.

Several staff participated in observances of the National Day of Racial Healing gatherings that took place to focus on sharing honest experiences in support of each other in the journey toward healing. Find out more here.



Englewood Women’s Initiative on WCPT 820 AM

Felicia Davis, President and CEO of CFW, and Stacey Brown, participant liaison for Englewood Women’s Initiative, joined guest host Marj Halperin and Sr. Donna Liette, from the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, to talk about programs supporting women in innovative ways.

Listen to the segment here (segment starts at minute 89:00).


Lora York, Senior Program Officer at CFW, has joined the Asset Funders Network Board. The Asset Funders Network engages philanthropy to advance economic opportunity and prosperity for low and moderate-income people. Lora is also part of the Steering Committee of the Chicago AFN Regional Chapter.

Read the announcement here.



One cancer is almost 100% preventable. And Chicago is making a move to eradicate it.

Angela Williams drives a CTA bus Jan. 15, 2020, in Chicago. Williams is a three-time cancer survivor. (Photo credit: John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune)

January is cervical cancer awareness month, and Angela Williams is just one of many women whom the new initiative Equal Hope (formerly known as the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force) aims to help. Created in 2008, the health equity nonprofit network of health care providers, community leaders, and advocates led efforts to reduce breast cancer deaths for the city’s African American female population (down from a 62 percent death gap to a 39 percent gap over the past decade). The group is now setting its sights on eliminating cervical cancer disparities and ultimately eradicating the disease in Chicagoland, according to Anne Marie Murphy, executive director of Equal Hope. Read more here.

Report: Chicago Police Prioritize Arrests of Sex Sellers Over Buyers, Traffickers

The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), a CFW grantee, spent 18 months examining how institutions, including the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County state’s attorney, and the mayor’s office, respond to commercial sexual exploitation. Read more here.

NoVo Foundation Awards $10 Million to Help End Sexual Exploitation

Part of a three-year commitment launched in 2019, Life Story Grants awarded by NoVo Foundation, a New York City-based foundation, are designed to support systems change at thirteen turning points that can determine whether girls and women enter the sex trade — and whether they are able to find ways to leave it — as described in The Life Story: Moments of Change, an online platform created to elevate the voices of survivors. Mujeres Latinas en Acción, a CFW grantee, received support for their Latinas Empowerment and Advancement Project (LEAP). Read more here.

Stop Illinois’ Parental Notification of Abortion

Forced parental notice of abortion can and does put Illinois young people in harm’s way. Safe, affirmed, and healthy youth means access to health care, support, and resources – not judges, barriers, and delays. Join us in saying: Trust Youth.

Learn more here.



Young Women’s Giving Council: Beyond Quotas

Join the Young Women’s Giving Council for a night of conversation and networking with local professionals from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds for a discussion about prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at work. Find more information here.

LBTQ Giving Council: International Women’s Day Dance

Join the LBTQ Giving Council for the 6th Annual International Women’s Day Dance! Music, light bites, and two drink tickets are included with each ticket purchase. Find more information here.

Young Women’s Giving Council: Feminism on Tap

Black Chicago Aspires for Residential Security: Battling the Restrictive Covenant, 1927-1948

In 1940, a “Colored Restriction Agreement” went into effect prohibiting “any person found to have 1/8 part or more negro blood” from residing in a large portion of what is now the South Loop. On Sunday, February 23, Glessner House will host a talk about the impact of these restrictive covenants. The presentation will be given by Dr. Christopher R. Reed, professor emeritus of history at Roosevelt University, and recognized as the “Dean of Black Chicago History” for his numerous publications and work within the Black Chicago History Forum. Following the presentation, a panel discussion will address issues facing African Americans and other minorities in the real estate arena, both locally and nationally.

Free admission, reservations not required. Find details here.


Maximize the Benefits of your IRA for CFW!

Giving to charitable organizations through your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-efficient way to support the most pressing needs of women and girls in Chicago.

If you are over 70 ½, consider using your required minimum distribution to make tax-free donations (up to $100,000) to Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) this year. It’s as simple as directing your IRA administrator to make a distribution. To discuss how you can maximize the benefits of your IRA and support CFW, contact Katy Thomas at 312.577.2836 or kthomas@cfw.org. Or, learn more about the many, easy ways you can include CFW in your estate plans here.