June 06 2018

Announcing a new fund at CFW




For many of us, telling the truth about ourselves and our lives is a true act of daring. Telling the truth about who we love, our ambitions or painful experiences of abuse.

Feminist consciousness-raising groups in the 1960s believed that women sharing the details of their daily lives served as the foundation for collective action and liberation. These conversations contributed to an understanding of violence and discrimination against women as systemic, rather than individual, problems.

Consciousness raising is still a critical organizing tool today, in a new form via social media. #MeToo began as women telling their truths and has grown into an international reckoning with our culture and norms around sexual harassment and abuse.

CFW’s 33rd Annual Luncheon speaker Aly Raisman is one of the young athletes with the courage to tell the truth about abuse she experienced at the hands of a team doctor. Aly is using her truth as a springboard to end the stigma around survivors of abuse, and daring to demand greater protections for young athletes to prevent abuse.

Each of us has the opportunity to tell the truth every day, to face the truth rather than choosing to live in blissful ignorance. To dare to stand up for what is fair and just: standing up for the woman harassed on the train; speaking out against a joke by a colleague that reinforces bias; pointing out when someone is ignoring the facts.

We cannot take the truth for granted. The Trump Administration has proposed changes to the Title X family planning program that would strip funding from health care providers that even mention abortion and remove a guarantee that health care providers tell women the truth about all of their options, including abortion care.

The truth is, one in four women will access abortion care by the age 45. We must tell the truth that abortion is women’s health care. We must dare to protect abortion access.

CFW joined a coalition of organizations speaking out against the Trump Administration’s domestics gag rule – you can join us by submitting a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services opposing this new rule through the federal government’s online comment platform.

I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate those daring to be truth-tellers at CFW’s 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium, TRUTH+DARE, on September 18, 2018The Annual Luncheon regularly sells out – reserve your spot with a sponsorship, signing up to be a table captain or with a Patron Ticket today. 

With highest hopes,

K. Sujata
Chicago Foundation for Women



Ann Marie Wright_00931Ann Marie Wright, U.S. Chief Auditor, BMO Financial Group

Ann Marie Wright is U.S. Chief Auditor for BMO Financial Group. She began her career at BMO 15 years ago and has progressed through roles of increasing responsibility, most recently that of Chief Operating Officer for the North American Commercial Bank. Wright is a board member of Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois and Chicago Foundation for Women.

CFW: Why is investing in women and girls a priority for you personally?

AMW: My father died when I was eight years old, and my mother was a social worker who worked two jobs most of my childhood to provide opportunities for me and my sister. It was through her sacrifice that I was given opportunities that have shaped my life today. It is extremely important to me that women and girls are provided the opportunities to change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their families. That’s why supporting Chicago Foundation for Women means so much to me – because of the work they do to invest in organizations that empower women and girls.

CFW: Why has BMO Harris Bank focused on supporting organizations that empower women and girls?

AMW: I’m proud to work at a company that invests in women. BMO Harris Bank recognizes the power of diversity and inclusion and is deeply committed to empowering women at all levels of our organization. Several years ago, BMO launched a multi-year strategy to increase female representation in our senior leadership ranks, in our talent pipeline and across the entire bank. In 2016, BMO met its goal of 40% women’s representation among senior leaders, and we continue to increase representation for women of color and visible minorities in all areas of our business. We’re also focusing on supporting women through programs that empower female employees and invest in our female clients and other successful female entrepreneurs, philanthropists and activists in the communities that we serve.

CFW: What is your favorite part of CFW’s Annual Luncheon? What are you most looking forward to at the 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium? 

AMW: I love being in the room with thousands of people that are energized around the same goal – supporting an organization dedicated to ensuring a world in which all women and girls have the opportunity to thrive. Giving back in this way is important to me, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity.

Deborah L. DeHaas, Vice Chairman, Deloitte

Deb DeHaas is responsible for Deloitte’s boardroom programs that support corporate boards and directors in fulfilling their governance-related responsibilities. She previously served on the Deloitte LLP Board of Directors, represented the US Firms on the Deloitte Canada Board of Directors, was a member of the Deloitte US Executive Committee, and was Deloitte’s managing partner for the central region. She recently completed a six-year term as the Chief Inclusion Officer for Deloitte US, where she drove Deloitte’s strategy to recruit, develop and promote a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive environment where leaders thrive.

CFW: Why is investing in women and girls a priority for you personally, and Deloitte more broadly?

DD: A diverse and inclusive culture is critical to our business and essential to who we are. Investing in women has been a key priority for me personally and for Deloitte since 1993, when we became the first professional services organization to establish a Women’s Initiative.

We are proud of what we have accomplished: Deloitte is recognized as a leader in women’s advancement; the former Deloitte LLP Chairman of the Board, current CEO, and current consulting CEO were the first women in those roles of Big Four professional services organizations. We remain both visible and steadfast in our commitment to diverse talent including forging new ground with organizations like Girls Who Code, Chicago Foundation for Women, our CEO Cathy Engelbert’s role as chair of the Catalyst Board of Directors, and our Board Ready Women programs.

While we are proud of the progress that has been made, we do see Inclusion as an ongoing journey, and we are continuously challenging ourselves to innovate our approach to meet the needs and expectations of an evolving workforce. The more inclusive a team is, the more diverse the thoughts, perspectives and ideas are, which inevitably can lead to more success.

Businesses and organizations that have invested in these efforts know that greater inclusion is closely correlated to better business results — according to Fortune, companies run by women had a 25% annualized return, which is more than double the 11% the MSCI World Index delivered in the same time frame. Additionally, organizations focused on greater inclusion are also more likely to be a sought-after employer — 80% of employees reported that inclusion is important when choosing an employer, according to Deloitte’s inclusion pulse survey.

Now is the time for organizations to take bold steps in challenging bias and committing to fostering an inclusive culture that embodies the traits of inclusive leadership — not just for greater inclusion based on gender, but based on all aspects of diversity. When people feel empowered to bring their best to work every day, they want to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves, and the goals set at their organization.

CFW: What is your favorite Annual Luncheon memory? What are you most looking forward to at the 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium?

DD: I have always loved attending the CFW Annual Luncheon and have walked away incredibly inspired by the amazing women who have been keynote speakers and who have been recognized for extraordinary efforts to advance women. The 2014 luncheon is one that stands out for me when iconic leader Billie Jean King served as the keynote speaker. As a young woman who grew up seeing Billie change the course for women in both sports and leadership, it was incredibly powerful to hear her share her journey with women of all generations and challenge the audience to continue the important work required to achieve fair and equal opportunities for all women.

I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve as a co-chair of the Host Committee for this year’s CFW luncheon and to hear from keynote speaker Aly Raisman. Her courage in speaking out as a strong advocate for survivors of sexual abuse make her uniquely positioned to discuss one of today’s most important issues.

CFW: What was your most recent “act of daring”?

DD: At Deloitte, we have been focused on further developing what we call our Culture of Courage. This means being willing to hold what are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable conversations about important topics that impact our employees today, including issues that are outside our control in the workplace. I have personally found these conversations, while challenging, to be incredibly enlightening and have hopefully made me more impactful as a leader as I strive to “walk in the shoes” of those I am engaging with.

On a more fun note, another recent “act of daring” was welcoming a new mini Goldendoodle puppy into our family in early April. We love our beautiful puppy Bella, but had forgotten how much time and attention a new dog takes and how mischievous they can be! Her 5 AM wake-up barks have definitely disrupted our family’s sleep patterns, but it has been absolutely worth it!

Jessica Sohl, President, HC Technologies

Jessica Sohl is President of HC Technologies and oversees the firm’s global operations. She is also a partner in the firm’s emerging private equities business, HC Private Investments. Sohl represents HC Technologies as a board member of both Align Income Share Funding and the Foreign Exchange Professionals Association. Sohl is committed to increasing the number of women in the tech industry. As such, she arranged a partnership between HC Technologies and Brave Initiatives, to empower young women to develop technology.

CFW: Why is investing in women and girls a priority for HC Technologies?

JS: Our firm operates at the cross-section of financial services (trading) and technology; unfortunately, there is a lack of women in both of those sectors. In order for women to be active participants in this space, we need to teach girls that they can be successful in STEM. That confidence will enable girls to become women who are successful in both trading and technology. A greater female presence in both fields will lead to further innovation and success in the industry.

CFW: What is your favorite part of the Annual Luncheon, and what are you most looking forward to at the 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium?

JS: My favorite part of the luncheon is hearing women talk about how their lives have changed as a result of CFW investments. It’s always so moving and inspirational! I’m looking forward to hearing more stories of change this year.

CFW: What was your most recent “act of daring?”

JS: My most recent “act of daring” is taking the position of President at our firm – it’s both an honor and a challenge. The gravity of knowing that the well-being of our employees and their families are my responsibility can be very heavy at times, but its also an incredible opportunity.  As Robert Kennedy said, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”



Calling All Warriors

Rev. Barrow

Applications for Willie’s Warriors are now open! Created in honor of the Reverend Willie “The Little Warrior” Barrow, Willie’s Warriors will continue Rev. Barrow’s legacy of bringing women together to support and learn from each other, creating a pipeline and network of Black women leaders committed to equity and justice in Chicago. Willie’s Warriors is open to women who identify as Black, from all sectors and industries, who are interested to learn about systems change, economic empowerment, communications and building alliances. Applications for the inaugural cohort of Willie’s Warriors are due Monday, July 2, at 8 a.m. CDT.Learn more and apply here.

 Dare to Create

lib photo 2

What role do art and storytelling play in creating safe, just and healthy communities for women and girls?

As writers, actors, artists and creators, women and girls are sharing their stories of survival, resistance and healing like never before. Through social media movements like #MeToo and #GirlslikeUs, women and girls are leveraging their stories to advocate for change and daring to create a better world for all women and girls.

Join Chicago Foundation for Women on Thursday, July 19 for an evening of performances as local artists share their stories of resistance, healing and social change. This event is free and open to the public. Reserve your spot by registering online today.

Reserve your spot at the Annual Luncheon

Aly Raisman photo from speaker bureau

Chicago Foundation for Women is honored to welcome Aly Raisman in conversation with Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens at the 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. A leader on and off the floor, Raisman has become a vocal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, using her voice to end the stigma silencing survivors and to advocate for widespread change to prevent abuse.

Heidi StevensIn her “Balancing Act” column, Stevens covers the everyday – parenting, sex and healthy relationships – and makes the personal political (and vice versa) with a feminist’s sharp eye. You won’t want to miss this thought-provoking conversation.The Annual Luncheon regularly sells out – reserve your spot with a sponsorship, signing up to be a table captain or with a Patron Ticket today.


Join the CFW Team!


Want to learn about nonprofit organizations from the ground up? Chicago Foundation for Women is seeking a Foundation Assistant to work with our Administrative, Finance, and Program teams. Join our team, and help us reach our goal of achieving gender equity! Learn more, including how to apply, here.

Save the Date: Fall Board Member Boot Camp

Applications for the Fall Board Member Boot Camp open on July 2! Board Member Boot Camp is a comprehensive, interactive, two-and-a-half day training and evening networking event for individuals interested in nonprofit board service. Participants gain skills in nonprofit financials, fulfilling board responsibilities and fundraising basics through workshops, activities and panel discussions with current nonprofit board members. Learn more and apply online.

CFW Receives Four Star Rating


Chicago Foundation for Women has once again received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, for the fifth year in a row. This means CFW is accountable, transparent and financially healthy. Visit CFW’s profile on Charity Navigator to learn more about what our rating means for our donors.



Immigrant Rights are Women’s Rights

Image courtesy of Anay Sanchez, Latino Union

In light of increased policing by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), CFW grantees, including Mujeres Latinas en AccionLatino Union and PASO – West Suburban Action Project, have organized rallies protesting deportations and supporting immigrants. Latino Union, PASO and supporters gathered to protest racial profiling and civil rights violations targeting day laborers, while Mujeres Latinas en Accion and the Campaign for A Welcoming Illinois organized a phone bank with PASO to support the Illinois Voices Act to protect the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Noticias en español aquí.

#MeToo, #MuteRKelly and Black Women

Vox breaks down the history of Black women’s anti-sexual violence activism and organizing, and how it has led to the #MeToo movement and our current moment of reckoning. Knowing the history of movements like #MeToo and the contemporary work being led by organizations like A Long Walk Home is critical to acknowledging the ways in which Black women are impacted by sexual violence, and centering “the experiences of women of color while providing tools and strategies for ending sexual violence against all people.” Read the full article here.

A Fair Tax for Illinois

Tasha Green Cruzat, President of CFW grantee Voices for Illinois Children, published an OpEd in Crain’s Chicago Business making the case for a progressive income tax in Illinois. Green Cruzat writes, “Under the current state and local tax system, the poorest 20 percent of households pay nearly twice as much of their income as the wealthiest 1 percent of households. This structure places a disproportionate burden on low- and moderate-income households working to meet daily living expenses. It also presents racial equity questions, as African-American and Hispanic households in Illinois have a lower median household income than white households.” Read the full piece here



Who’s Who: The LBTQ Giving Council of CFW


Current LBTQ Giving Council Chair Danya Rosen, right, pictured with past chair Joy Messinger.

Current LBTQ Giving Council Chair Danya Rosen, right, pictured with past chair Joy Messinger.

June means Pride! As part of the month-long celebration of Chicago’s LGBTQ community, we are proud to highlight the LBTQ Giving Council of CFW, which invests in organizations and programs benefiting lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning women and girls in the Chicago region. Through its Lavender Fund, the LBTQ Giving Council was the first grantmaking entity in the city of Chicago to provide grants exclusively to lesbian communities. CFW sat down with Council Chair Danya Rosen to talk about the council’s work.

CFW: Why did you decide to give your time, energy and resources to leading the LBTQ Giving Council?

DR: I first joined the Council to build relationships and community with queer-identified and trans women in Chicago. As a nonprofit professional, I saw a gap in spaces for LBTQ women and gender non-conforming folks across multiple sectors to convene, network and engage in the broader community building. I’ve remained committed because ultimately, I believe the most transformational change happens when communities can speak by and for themselves – and I’m invested in cultivating the next generation of LBTQ philanthropists. I’m honored to serve in this leadership role and work collaboratively to invest in and empower Chicago’s LBTQ community.

CFW: Why do you believe it is important to invest your resources in the LGBTQ community?

DR: Such a nominal amount of philanthropic funding is dedicated to the LGBTQ community – and even less goes towards organizations working with trans and gender non-conforming folks. The LBTQ Giving Council was originally founded as the Lesbian Outreach Task Force in 1998 and was the first affinity group in Chicago formed to provide grants to organizations and programs benefiting the lesbian community. Through the years, we’ve grown to serve the bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning communities in the Chicago region and have given over $160,000 in grants to organizations and programs benefiting the community.

We have a lot of work to do to address racism, ageism, transphobia, femmephobia, biphobia and other forms of oppression. The Council intentionally invests in and supports organizations with an intersectional framework to elevate the voices of youth, queer and trans people of color, and smaller, grassroots organizations that are filling critical gaps.

CFW: What project or initiative funded by the LBTQ Giving Council are you most proud of?

DR: I am particularly proud of our grantmaking that’s focused on youth-led, grassroots organizations and groups in Chicago – like Black Youth Project 100, whose activism centers around a Black queer feminist lens.

The LBTQ Giving Council also hosts an annual International Women’s Day Dance to raise funding for our grantmaking, while also bringing together members of our community and allies. It’s been an honor to host the dance for four years running.

CFW: What are you looking forward to for the LBTQ Council of CFW?

DR: Continuing to build and grow our Council and increase our visibility across Chicago! If you’re interested in learning more or joining, please reach out – I love meeting new people over coffee!

Illinois Votes to Ratify ERA


46 years after its initial introduction, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in a bipartisan vote last week. This leaves the movement to add a statement of gender equality to the U.S. Constitution just one state shy of the required 38. The successful movement to revive the ERA in Illinois was the result of organizing and lobbying by a coalition of women across our state. Learn more about the history of the ERA and what’s next here.

Honoring Ida B. Wells

IdaBWells_University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf108648r, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08648, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

CFW is one of over 30 civic organizations signing on in support of efforts to name a street in honor of Ida B. Wells, a journalist, suffragist, civil rights and anti-lynching advocate, and founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Association of Colored Women. Wells’ great-granddaughter remains in Chicago and has spearheaded efforts to honor her.

Investing in Black Women + Girls on Chicago’s South Side

SSGC Launch_VirginiaLiles-Dudley_JessycaDudley_PhotoByNicoleReed

Jessyca Dudley, right, at the South Side Giving Circle launch with her mother Virginia Liles-Dudley. Photo by Nicole Reed.

South Side Giving Circle of CFW member Jessyca Dudley is featured in the latest issue of Social Innovations Journal, delving into the history of giving within the African American community and highlighting the value of giving circles “for the monetary investment that they provide but equally important for their value as catalysts for building capacity and increasing the visibility of the community organizations they support.” Read her full piece here.

Chicago’s Gen Z


2017 Impact Award honoree Eva Lewis pictured with co-honorees Maxine Wint and Natalie Braye (left to right)


2017 Impact Award honoree Eva Lewis is featured in Nylon Magazine’s Roll Call issue shining a light on the members of Gen Z who are changing the world. After co-organizing a youth sit-in against police violence and founding two nonprofit organizations, Youth for Black Lives and The I Project, Lewis is getting ready to start her second year of college and is hard at work “creating the scaffold for an equitable Chicago.” Read the full feature 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.