GoWomen: The Ultimate Caregivers
May 06 2020


The Ultimate Caregivers

I hope you are staying healthy and safe, practicing the recommended physical distancing guidelines, using face masks as you go outdoors, and continuing to wash your hands. On the bright side, the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the ways we care. Phrases like these are, now, part of our new normal. In the hopes of keeping ourselves and each other healthy, we have become each other’s caregivers.

Not only is this crisis showing us the need to work collectively against a common threat, but it is also highlighting what I’ve known all along: women are the ultimate caregivers. On a distant vacation, I once visited a fortune teller. No judgment please; it was something fun to do on vacation, but I digress. She told me that I had a lot of grandmothers. There really was no way for her to know that, but she wasn’t wrong. As a young girl, I was very fortunate to have many women, some related to me by blood, but most were not, who took on a grandmother-like role in my life. I suspect you’ve experienced the same. The early message to me was – we women look out for and take care of each other.

Did you know that women ages 40-55 are being referred to as the “sandwich generation”? CNN recently reported that long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Generation X women were already exhausted; it’s no wonder. Even as our partners are starting to share more home and care responsibilities, women still carry the burden of additional unpaid care work, often neglecting themselves. Studies show that 65 percent of older people rely on family and friends for care, and 66 percent of those caregivers are women. Not only are more women caring for their aging parents or family members, but as we all continue to shelter-in-place to reduce the virus’ spread, women are also caring for their children without external child care support. Without a doubt, women are simultaneously shouldering the wellbeing of their families and our communities.

At CFW, the reduction of unpaid care work is one of the key outcomes we seek to achieve in order to reach gender equity in our lifetimes. We’re advocating for policies that ensure paid sick and family leave, so individuals can take time off of work to care for their loved ones. We’re supporting comprehensive health care so women can receive the physical and mental health services they need to be there for those who need them most. We support efforts to provide universal early education and quality childcare so that women do not have to choose between work and family.

We have been connecting with our grantee partners and know a deep need is engulfing communities. We stand together as we weather this storm few were prepared for. What we know for sure is that the immediate, emergency phase of this crisis will give way to long-term needs and sustainability. In response, we are creating a Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund. More to come later. For now, let’s continue to look out for ourselves and each other and strive to make a difference, wherever we are. Now more than ever, our communities need us. We’re stronger together.

We are our sisters’ keepers,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women



Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund

With your support, Chicago Foundation for Women will address the long-term impact of COVID-19 through the Response, Recovery, and Resilience Fund for Chicago’s Women and Girls. The Fund will invest in women and their families as they emerge from the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, and serve as a key resource for the Chicago nonprofit sector serving women and girls as they too take stock, recalibrate, and rebuild. With CFW’s close partnership, these organizations will rebuild upon an even-stronger foundation, one that centers gender equity and racial justice in everything they do. Find out how to join us HERE.

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.

Intern Spotlight

Carly Murray (she/her)
Graduate Student Intern

Nine months ago, I nervously approached the offices of CFW to begin my new internship. Even on that first day, I quickly felt at home in a new community of brilliant minds and big hearts. My days have been filled with meaning, building connections with women, girls, and gender non-binary folks across the city as we strategize for equitable change. Grantmaking, grantee convenings, research, professional development—no two days were the same. I leave inspired, full of gratitude, and certain that our paths will cross again. Thank you to everyone who made my time so memorable!

Aisha Naseem (they/them)
Graduate Student Intern

It has been a pleasure working at CFW this year. I am currently finishing my graduate degree at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, and joined CFW with the intention to learn more about foundation work.

CFW is unique because as a community foundation it creates avenues for people at all levels of the Chicago community to participate in crafting and funding gender equity work. During my time at CFW, I have learned a lot about the role giving circles and councils have played in supporting local organizations all around Chicago. Giving circles and councils are a wonderful way for anyone regardless of their experience to become involved in philanthropy.

As a funder, CFW holds quarterly gatherings for its grantees to network and connect about the work they are doing to put gender equity in practice. Additionally, CFW has been holding gender equity convenings to help understand the way our grantees see their work with a gender lens.

My favorite in-house programs have been Willie’s Warriors and Cultivate. Both programs aim to create camaraderie, opportunities for networking, and skill-building that center women of color and for Willie’s Warriors, Black women in particular. I’m ending my time at CFW working on Board Boot Camp, a program offered to folks who are interested in serving on a board or are new to boards. As a young professional who serves on two boards currently, I can honestly say this program is a game-changer. We need more trans, gender non conforming people and women on boards. I look forward to seeing the ways CFW continues to work in the community to foster connections and uplift incredible organizations that are doing race and gender equity work.



Opinion: A Solution to the Economic Turmoil of COVID-19: Gender parity

Felicia Davis, President and CEO of CFW, penned an op-ed for Crain’s Chicago Business sharing thoughts about how COVID-19 is impacting women, and why, as we begin to emerge from this immediate crisis, now’s the time to focus on gender parity. Read the article HERE.

Stronger Girls, Stronger Women, Stronger Community

Felicia Davis, President and CEO of CFW, joined Beth Swanson, CEO of A Better Chicago, and Tom Alexander, Co-Founder and CEO of Holistic, in a virtual panel discussion about how best to support girls in Chicago today. Watch the panel HERE.

Resources for Nonprofits: Virtual Town Hall

Felicia Davis, President and CEO of CFW, co-hosted in a town hall along with Commissioner Bridget Gainer sharing and discussing resources available for nonprofits as part of the COVID-19 relief act. You can find the recap HERE.



Giving Councils and Circles Rapid Response Fund

CFW’s Giving Councils and Circles have created a Rapid Response Fund to address the immediate needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic of current and past grantees serving the South and West Sides of Chicago. The Fund, which plans to invest more than $10,000 this month, consists of existing fundraising dollars reallocated and pooled together to support emerging critical needs.

Young Women’s Giving Council Honor a SHEro Campaign

The Young Women’s Giving Council launched a two-week campaign to support its general grant cycle giving. The campaign offered donors the opportunity to make a donation in the name of a SHEro that was then spotlighted on the Council’s social media channels and raised $1,684 through April 30. Visit the YWGC Facebook or the YWGC Instagram to see the SHEros spotlighted during the campaign.

South Side Giving Circle is Now Accepting New Members!

The South Side Giving Circle is accepting new members for 2020. Learn more about the Giving Circle HERE, and find the member form HERE.


We join the Women’s Funding Network in spreading awareness and addressing the increased incidents of domestic and gender-based violence. Isolation can increase the risk of violence at home. If this is the case for you, use this discreet signal during a video chat to show you need help. If you see someone give this signal, visit WFN’s website to learn how to check in safely and how to find support resources in your community. Learn more 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.

Remote Work Opportunities

Laid off during COVID-19, or looking for a second stream of income? Do you have stable internet access? View a list of employers who are hiring for remote positions HERE.

Resources Regarding Sexual Assault 

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we’re sharing some resources from our community regarding sexual violence and sex trafficking.

Regis College, The Global, National and State Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Duquesne University, Guide to Identifying and Reporting Sexual Violence

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.