GoWomen: We Are More Than Enough
August 07 2019

It's never too late to be what you might have been.


We Are More Than Enough

It’s never too late to be what YOU might have been.

This quote, which is commonly attributed to George Eliot (the pen name for Mary Ann Evans, who died in 1880), is one of my all-time favorites. I love how this statement celebrates the untapped potential and possibility within each of us.

I am often reminded of this potential when I meet the many, amazing young women and girls working alongside Chicago Foundation for Women’s grantees. Young girls have an unbridled confidence and an appetite for risk taking. They energize me and give me hope for the future.

But, I also know that all too often, this confidence does not last. As young girls navigate the early years of adulthood, they begin to hear a conflicting message:

You are not enough.

“For generations, women have been made to feel like we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough — in my case not black enough, not white enough — too old, too young, too loud, too quiet,” says Elaine Welteroth, award-winning journalist, writer and keynote speaker at this year’s CFW Annual Luncheon.

When preparing to write her recent, best-selling book, More Than Enough; Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), Welteroth learned that young girls’ confidence peaks at age 9. Upon learning this, she was startled, but as she reflected on her own trajectory and the trajectory of so many women she knew, she realized it made perfect sense.

“I mean, there are so many messages that are threatening to keep us small,” shares Welteroth.

Studies have shown that adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers. This erasure of their childhood has far-reaching implications related to how young Black girls are socialized and treated by adults in educational and other settings.

Young girls of color are listening. What they hear is that they are not deserving of nurturing or comforting.

We know that young girls who are interested in STEM at age 11 will lose interest quickly, by age 15. Whether driven by societal expectations, rigid gender roles or the lack of role models, girls internalize that there are certain skills and talents needed to succeed in STEM, and that they don’t have what it takes.

They hear, “You are not enough.”

If we are to create a new Chicago, one where all that young girls dream of can become a reality, we have to change this. We must flip the script and tell a new story to our girls. With your continued support and partnership, that is what Chicago Foundation for Women is able to do each day. From our investments in job skills training so women can compete in traditionally male-dominated fields, to our programs building a new and resilient network of diverse women leaders committed to racial and gender equity, to our steadfast support of reproductive justice advocacy work, CFW is here to change the narrative of what is possible for women and girls in Chicago.

We are more than enough. They are more than enough. But, we cannot do this without you.

On October 15, please join me and over 2,000 guests at Chicago Foundation for Women’s 34th Annual Luncheon featuring Elaine Welteroth as we celebrate progress and prepare for the work ahead.

Let’s get to work,

Felicia Davis
President and CEO
Chicago Foundation for Women

P.S. Want to learn more about Elaine?

Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista (NY Times)

Former ‘Teen Vogue’ Editor Shares Her Memoir — And Her Manifesto (NPR) 



Luncheon Tickets: Now on Sale!

Individual tickets for Chicago Foundation for Women’s 34th Annual Luncheon are now available online. Last year’s event sold out, so don’t wait to register!

The Whole Story: The Status of Chicago’s Women and Girls – AT CAPACITY

Thank you to the hundreds of people who have registered to attend The Whole Story next week on Wednesday, August 14! Both the event and the waitlist have reached capacity, and registration for this event is now closed. If you registered but no longer plan to attend, please contact Nancy Garcia at ngarcia@cfw.org so that we can invite someone on the waitlist to attend.

Be sure to follow us on social media, where we will be sharing updates and a copy of Chicago Foundation for Women’s 2019 Report on the Status of Chicago’s Women and Girls using #TheWholeStory #StatusofChiWomen #SWAG.

Willie’s Warriors – Applications Close September 9

Applications are now open for the next cohort of the Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative at Chicago Foundation for Women. Willie’s Warriors focuses on building skills around systems change, economic empowerment, communications and building alliances. Created in honor of the Reverend Willie “The Little Warrior” Barrow, Willie’s Warriors continues Rev. Barrow’s legacy of bringing women together to support and learn from each other. Willie’s Warriors is open to women who identify as Black from all sectors and industries interested in nurturing their leadership and building deep relationships with other Black women leaders in the Chicago region. Applications are due Monday, September 9 – learn more and apply here today. Know someone who should apply? Be sure to send this opportunity their way.

Meet Stacey Brown!

We are excited to share that Stacey Brown has joined the Englewood Women’s Initiative as the Participant Liaison. Stacey is a lifelong Englewood resident committed to giving back, volunteering and supporting her community, a value instilled in her by her parents.

“My role is to bring residents together for networking, resources, to connect you to different organizations – domestic violence help, clothes, food, shelter, or even local businesses that might be able to assist you,” Stacey says. She is excited to be part of building connections among organizations and residents through the Englewood Women’s Initiative (EWI) – her own daughter has benefited from involvement with EWI partner Demoiselle 2 Femme.

“My biggest hope for Englewood is to bring it back to a place where it is family and neighborhood orientated,” Stacey says. “To try to change the attitude of individuals, to bring back some care and compassion for your fellow neighbor.”

Save the Date: Upcoming Info Sessions for Western Suburbs Giving Circle & Young Women’s Giving Council

Interested in learning more about joining a Giving Council or Giving Circle of CFW? Prospective members are invited to attend information sessions for the Young Women’s Giving Council on August 21 and for the Western Suburbs Giving Circle on September 26. For more information, please fill out a member interest form: Young Women’s Giving Council and Western Suburbs Giving Circle.



Felicia Davis Joins AXIOS Roundtable on Health Care

Photo credit: Chris Dilts for Axios

Axios’ Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Chicago in July, digging into the state of health care access and affordability in Illinois. Local leaders, health tech innovators and advocates discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable, high-quality care.

How to measure the impact of effective care was a significant topic of conversation. Felicia Davis, President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women, unpacked the importance of measuring health outcomes versus outputs: “For example, if we give a girl a backpack, does her attendance improve? While saying we donated one thousand backpacks is measuring the output, we want to be measuring outcomes.” Read more here.

WPI Report: Donors to Women’s Foundations are Exceptional Philanthropists

All In for Women and Girls, a new report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, explores the characteristics of women’s fund and foundation donors – the vast majority of whom are women. The report found that donors to women’s funds and foundations stand out in a number of ways, such as they give more to charity and are more likely to give at capacity to women’s and girls’ causes.

“WPI’s latest research underscores a reality that I am inspired by daily: simply put, donors to women’s funds and foundations are THE best,” says CFW President and CEO Felicia Davis in a recent LinkedIn article posted by Interim Director at WPI, Andrea Pactor.

“What drives thousands of people to give to CFW each year is unique and sacred to each person. However, when these individuals come together in community, they share a level of engagement, deep commitment to justice, and a zeal for learning that is distinct from other donor communities.”

Read the full report here.



Illinois takes a key step toward closing the Gender Wage Gap

Thanks to years of steadfast organizing and advocacy of CFW grantees, including Women Employed and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, on July 31 Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a measure that prohibits employers from asking job applicants for past wages during the hiring process. “Salary history questions are a major contributing factor in both racial and gender wage gaps. And this is exacerbated for women of color, who, because of the realities of intersectionality, often face both,” writes Women Employed CEO Cherita Ellens and Wendy Pollack, Director of the Women’s Law & Policy Initiative at Shriver, in Crain’s Chicago Business.

So What’s Next for Equal Pay?

Photo credit: Women Employed

While the No Salary History Law is a significant step forward in getting to equal pay, Women Employed shares in a recent Medium.com article that there are still a number of impactful actions that employers can do to ensure an equitable workplace when it comes to compensation. Read more here.

Janelle Monáe honors A Long Walk Home

From left to right: Silvia Rivera, CFW Board Member and Managing Director of Vocalo; Felicia Davis, CFW President and CEO; Scheherazade Tillet, Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home; Janelle Monáe; and Salamishah Tillet, Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home.

Chicago Foundation for Women was proud to join award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and activist Janelle Monáe at the exclusive #ABeautifulFuture event at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art on August 1. At the event, Ms. Monáe honored four local leaders for creating a more beautiful future for women and systematically marginalized voices. Among them was Scheherazade Tillet and her organization, A Long Walk Home (a CFW Women United Giving Council grantee). Congratulations to Scheherazade and A Long Walk Home for being honored for their amazing work using art to educate, inspire and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women.

Healing to Action Organizers Demand CPS Address Sexual Education Shortcomings

Photo credit: Chicago Reader

By its own measure, CPS is falling short on implementation of its sexual education curriculum. With support from CFW, Healing to Action: A Worker-Led Movement is organizing concerned parents and workers in a campaign to address this implementation gap. Among their demands are to “make sure that sex ed is taught in all Chicago schools, funding for equal access to sex ed, regardless of zip code, and support for parents to understand sex ed and teach kids about healthy relationships at home.” Learn more in the Chicago Reader.

Mayor Announces Plan To Stop Suspending Driver’s Licenses For Parking Tickets

In 2018, CFW grantee Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) issued a report, “Stopping the Debt Spiral,” that found City fines and fees were keeping families from employment and stuck in debt. COFI recommended limiting driver’s license suspensions and fees. Last month, Mayor Lightfoot announced proposed reforms to the City’s practices around fines and fees, including an end to suspensions for non-moving violations and limits on the frequency of ticketing.

Thank you for your advocacy for low-income families in Chicago, COFI!



County Invests Half a Million Dollars to Support Pregnant Women and Moms in County Jail

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved two grants totaling $500,000 to provide comprehensive services to pregnant and postpartum women in jail and their very young children. “Punishment without any rehabilitation leads to more crime after people leave prison,” said Esther Franco-Payne, executive director of CFW grantee Cabrini Green Legal Aid. “We have to invest in preventing people who have been arrested from committing more crimes. The services provided with this new grant funding will ensure women are treated with care after giving birth in the jails and offered wraparound support to reduce recidivism.” Read more here.

Ms. Magazine: How Female Philanthropists are Turning Giving Circles into a Movement

Be sure to check out this recent article on the power of giving circles in Ms. Magazine. “Since the beginning of time, women have come together in circles to make magic, support our communities and heal one another,” Marcia Quinones of the East Bay Latina Giving Circle said. “Giving circles are our modern day solution to the challenges all women are experiencing today in our communities—isolation, a feeling of helplessness and a lack of opportunity to lead and voice our own visions. When we come together, we are unstoppable.”

Impact Awards Nominations Open

Do you know someone making a difference in the lives of women and girls? Nominate them for a 2020 Impact Award! Nominations are open to individuals of all identities and backgrounds working to build a safe, healthy and just Chicago for all women and girls. Nominations close September 30, 2019. Nominate someone in your community today.

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.