GoWomen: Thank you, next
December 05 2018

The next chapter


Thank you, next

Between the holidays, cold and snowy weather that keeps us indoors and the end of the calendar year, for many of us December is a time for reflection – both on the last twelve months, and our goals for the new year. As we prepare for a new chapter of leadership at Chicago Foundation for Women next year, it is an extra special time of reflection for me, personally.

In the face of a challenging national climate, our region has repeatedly come together to make clear that we stand on the side of equity and justice for all.

Thanks to the efforts of our community in 2018, Illinois passed legislation establishing a diverse, inclusive Illinois Council on Women and Girls and finally ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Women and men across our region turned out not once, but twice, for a March to the Polls to advocate for policies that protect basic rights and equal opportunities for all women and girls, and made history with a record number of women elected – including the youngest Black woman ever in Congress.

Hundreds of women and men came together to have courageous conversations about sexual harassment, the #MeToo Movement and gender bias as part of CFW’s 2018 Talk It Out initiative.

For the first time, grantmakers from across our region came together to invest in planning for new and promising strategies to prevent domestic violence, investing over $169,000 through the Family and Interpersonal Resilience, Safety and Transformation (FIRST) Fund.

Here at CFW, we celebrated new investments in Black women and girls with the inaugural cohort of the Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative and the launch of the South Side Giving Circle. We grew our team, with a new Community Engagement Officer and Manager of Institutional Relations.

And, we deepened our community investments, announcing our largest-ever annual grantmaking of $2.6 million, dollars now impacting the lives of over 66,000 women and men, girls and boys, transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the Chicago region.

As we prepare for a new year, with new challenges and pursuits, I remain inspired by each and every member of our community and your unwavering commitment to equity for all women and girls. Onward to the next chapter.

With highest hopes,

K. Sujata
Chicago Foundation for Women




Investing in Innovation for #GivingTuesday

Thanks to generous support from our community, including a $10,000 matching gift from CFW staff and members of our Board, this #GivingTuesday CFW raised over $24,000 to invest in innovative strategies to build safe, just and healthy communities for women and girls in the Chicago region. Our community selected Salt & Light Coalition to receive a special $12,000 #GivingTuesday grant to support healing and empowerment for survivors of sex trafficking through a year-long wellness and job training program. Runners-up ArtReach Chicago and Communities United will each receive grants of $3,000 for their innovative investments in women and girls.

Building a Better Illinois for Women + Girls

President/CEO K. Sujata was announced as a member of Governor-elect JB Pritzker’s Committee on Equality, Equity, and Opportunity. We look forward to helping guide and advise the incoming administration on building strong communities for all women and girls. Read the full announcement here.

Apply for Willie’s Warriors Spring Cohort!

The Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative at CFW is creating a pipeline and network of Black women leaders committed to equity and justice in Chicago. Warriors will gain a better sense of themselves as leaders and how best to sustain themselves while moving their communities forward. 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. Potential Warriors should have 10-20 years of relevant or professional experience, including experience leading people, projects or initiatives. Learn more and apply here.



Say it was Domestic Violence

On Monday, November 19, an act of domestic violence ended the lives of four Chicagoans. But you would not know that from the headlines. CFW President/CEO K. Sujata makes the case for explicitly connecting public violence to its roots in domestic violence, if we are to solve either. Read Sujata’s response to coverage of the Mercy Hospital domestic violence shooting here.

Men as Champions of Change

Inside Philanthropy profiled CFW’s Champions of Change initiative as one of the innovative strategies employed by women’s foundations to engage men as active participants in the work of achieving gender equity. CFW’s Champions of Change recruits men who are leaders in the private and public sectors to make gender equity a key priority for their organization, and, with CFW’s help, to set goals and develop a strategy to get there. Read the full piece here.

The Philanthropic Hot List

CS Magazine featured CFW as part of the magazine’s Philanthropy Issue, as one of the ten featured “individuals and organizations dedicated to making the city and the world better places.” Read the feature on CFW and The 100 Percenters here.


Sujata joined Sameena Mustafa and Jim Coogan to discuss the lasting impact of Illinois’ budgets on nonprofits, women and girls – not just during the budget impasse, but beyond. “It’s worth noting that the nonprofit field is a feminized field where the majority of workers are women,” Sujata said. “So cuts to nonprofit funding impact not only the women who are being served but also the service providers themselves.” Listen to the full show here.



Justice Reform & E-Carceration

The New Jim Crow author and civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander listed CFW grantee Chicago Community Bond Fund among the “growing number of advocates… organizing to ensure that important reforms, such as ending cash bail, are not replaced with systems that view poor people and people of color as little more than commodities to be bought, sold, evaluated and managed for profit” through e-carceration or electronic monitoring. Chicago Community Bond Fundoperates a fund for people charged with crimes in Cook County who cannot afford to pay bail, while advocating for the end of the money bail system. The Fund prioritizes assistance for those most likely to experience trauma while incarcerated, including Black women and mothers. Read the full article here.

Space for Bravery

LBTQ Giving Council and CFW grantee Brave Space Alliance was profiled by Next City for the organization’s work “resist[ing] the policies and actions of the Trump Administration against transgendered [sic] and gender nonconforming individuals, and to empower these individuals space to express their authentic selves.” Brave Space Alliance founder and executive director LaSaia Wade told Next City, “We needed something to hold other organizations accountable especially around transgender and nonconforming issues. And Brace Space Alliance has been that wheel throughout Chicago and pushing politics around the life and protection of transgender nonconforming (people).” Read the full profile here.

GirlForward Grows in Texas

Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures for Politico Magazine

The Austin, Texas branch of CFW grantee GirlForward was profiled in Politico Magazine for its work in Texas, where it provides summer camp, mentoring and tutoring to 45 girls from families who have been resettled in the United States. Founded in Chicago in 2011, the organization expanded to Austin in 2015. GirlForward currently serves 54 girls in the Chicago region. GirlForward executive Director Blair Brettschneider published an addition to the article on Medium, calling out the failures of government that make programs like GirlForward necessary: “Supporting GirlForward means recognizing the brokenness that created those challenges in the first place, and demanding — through our activism and votes and continuous participation — that our government do better.”



New Research on Collective Giving

New research from the Collective Giving Research Group exploring the dynamics of giving circles and other forms of collective giving affirms that giving circles offer opportunities for more democratic participation and increased understanding of philanthropy and nonprofits, and as a result members “give more, give more strategically, and give to a wider array and number of organizations… [and are] more engaged in the community and have deeper social connections.” Giving circle members benefit from broader and more diverse social networks, which impacts their investment decisions. Giving circles are also more likely to invest in communities that have been historically marginalized. Read the full report here.

Vote Her In

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington chatted with author and CFW Alumnae Council member Rebecca Sive on Election Day about women’s growing political participation and readiness to see a woman in the White House. “Her book lays out the road map to get there. It’s part education, part inspiration, part hard-knocks advice on how to elect women to all levels of government.” Read the full column here.

Join a Giving Council or Circle

Increase your investments in women and girls and leverage your dollars by contributing them to a collective fund as a member of one of the Giving Councils or Circles of CFW. Giving Council and Circle members have the opportunity to review proposals from local nonprofits working to benefit women and girls in the Chicago region and recommend funding to groups of their choice. Making local investments for over a decade, the Giving Councils and Circles of CFW have invested nearly $900,000 in women and girls in the Chicago region. Bring fresh ideas, unique perspectives and new energy to philanthropic leadership and advocacy, and expand Chicago Foundation for Women’s grantmaking. Learn more about how you can get involved in the Giving Councils and Circles of CFW 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.