Each day, more than 300,000 women in our community struggle to put food on the table, to keep themselves and their children safe and healthy, and to lift themselves up from poverty and lack of opportunity.

We are about them.

Chicago Foundation for Women envisions a world in which all women and girls have the opportunity to thrive in safe, just and healthy communities.




We evaluate the needs of women and girls who are living at the margins of success in our society.


We seek out and bring together women who have the power to make a difference and organizations that offer proven or innovative solutions.


We raise money to fund those solutions, and we develop women's capacity to drive change at every level, both within those organizations and beyond them.


Chicago Foundation for Women invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all.


We value - in ourselves and in every organization we support -  the core principles of equality, empowerment, diversity, collaboration, and integrity.


We believe that equality is a universal human right, and we uphold respect and dignity as guiding principles in all our work.


We believe in the right of individuals to make choices and have control over their minds, bodies and spirits


We value the strength and wisdom that come from all voices and embrace the complexities of communities.


We affirm the transformative power of collective efforts and the importance of having women and girls engaged in issues that affect their lives.


We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and level of accountability.


In 1984, four leaders of Chicago’s philanthropic community - Marjorie Craig Benton, Sunny Fischer, Iris J. Krieg, and Lucia Woods Lindley - launched a series of planning groups that laid the financial and programmatic groundwork for what would become Chicago Foundation for Women.

From left to right: Iris J. Krieg, Lucia Woods Lindley, Sunny Fischer, Marjorie Craig Benton

The four women shared a vision. They knew that lack of economic opportunity, poor access to reproductive and other health services, domestic violence, and a host of other issues daily threatened the well-being of thousands of women in Chicago, and, by extension, thousands of families. They realized that only a tiny percentage of philanthropic dollars - just 3 percent in 1984 - were being spent to address women's real and specific needs. And they knew that women were underrepresented in philanthropy, unaccustomed to wielding the power to decide what issues were important and direct funding to where it could do the most good.

Working their social and business networks, tapping their own experience, they reached out to women who, like them, wanted to transform society and their own place in it.

By the end of that first year, these women had incorporated the Foundation, had elected its first board of directors, and had begun fundraising. And by spring of 1986, the Foundation made its first grants, totaling $50,000.

The principles that guided the development of the Foundation still guide its operations today.


We believe that when women and girls are secure, whole communities are made better.


  • Kelly Smith Haley

  • Patricia Costello Slovak
    Past Chair

  • Silvia Rivera

  • Michael Narciso

  • Jim Alexander

  • Carmin Awadzi

  • Joan Trueheart Bacon

  • Adela Cepeda

  • Allison B. Clark

  • Deborah B. Cole

  • Valerie Colletti

  • Regina Cross

  • Harlene Ellin

  • Sarah Hurwit Gomel

  • Georgina Heard-Labonne

  • Keri Holleb Hotaling

  • Susie Kurowski

  • Tina Manikas

  • Kathleen McDonald

  • Anita Mital

  • Marie Osadjan

  • Munira Patel

  • Jessica Sohl

  • Gretchen Wolf

  • Ann Marie Wright

  • Kelly Smith Haley
  • Patricia Costello Slovak
    Past Chair
  • Silvia Rivera
  • Michael Narciso
  • Jim Alexander
  • Carmin Awadzi
  • Joan Trueheart Bacon
  • Adela Cepeda
  • Allison B. Clark
  • Deborah B. Cole
  • Valerie Colletti
  • Regina Cross
  • Harlene Ellin
  • Sarah Hurwit Gomel
  • Georgina Heard-Labonne
  • Keri Holleb Hotaling
  • Susie Kurowski
  • Tina Manikas
  • Kathleen McDonald
  • Anita Mital
  • Marie Osadjan
  • Munira Patel
  • Jessica Sohl
  • Gretchen Wolf
  • Ann Marie Wright


  • Felicia Davis
    President and CEO

  • Shannon Buckley
    Manager of Donor Data and Stewardship

  • Christina Córdova-Herrera
    Director of Communications

  • Emily Dreke
    Chief Development Officer

  • Ilda Lagunas
    Manager of Special Events

  • Eli Marsh
    Director of Community & Social Impact

  • Jessi Moon
    Individual Giving and Campaign Manager

  • Linda Wagner
    Chief Operating Officer

  • Yazmín Wheelock
    Development Associate

  • Bernadine Wims
    Board Secretary and Operations Coordinator

  • Lora York
    Senior Program Officer

  • Felicia Davis
    President and CEO
  • Shannon Buckley
    Manager of Donor Data and Stewardship
  • Christina Córdova-Herrera
    Director of Communications
  • Emily Dreke
    Chief Development Officer
  • Ilda Lagunas
    Manager of Special Events
  • Eli Marsh
    Director of Community & Social Impact
  • Jessi Moon
    Individual Giving and Campaign Manager
  • Linda Wagner
    Chief Operating Officer
  • Yazmín Wheelock
    Development Associate
  • Bernadine Wims
    Board Secretary and Operations Coordinator
  • Lora York
    Senior Program Officer


Since 1985, CFW has awarded more than 4,000 grants, totaling over $36 million, so that Chicago-area women and girls are healthy, safe and economically secure.


The official airline of Chicago Foundation for Women

Giving Councils

Giving Councils bring fresh ideas, unique concerns and perspectives, and new energy to philanthropic leadership and advocacy. The councils provide a basic infrastructure that enables women to

  • focus on an underserved constituency,
  • identify the issues that matter,
  • develop a plan of action to raise awareness and funds, and
  • target those funds to programs that can move the needle.

Giving Councils break barriers, within the Foundation and for the women and girls they represent. They also break ground: according to the Women’s Funding Network, the Foundation’s Giving Councils are the very first of such groups of diverse community members raising funds and investing back in their community at any women's fund in the United States.

LBTQ Giving Council
Lauren Birchlove, Chair

Women United Giving Council
Adoley Jordan, Chair

Young Women's Giving Council
Michele Grim, Co-chair
Amber Kirchoff, Co-chair
Ida Kuruvilla, Co-chair
Adriana Viteri, Co-chair

North Shore Giving Circle
Joan Trueheart Bacon, Chair

South Side Giving Circle
Jessyca Dudley, Co-chair
Phaedra M. Leslie, Co-chair
Melody M. Miller, Co-chair

Western Suburbs Giving Circle
Tanya Davis, Co-chair
Sonal Gupta, Co-chair
Andrea Sidorow, Co-chair


Alumnae Council

Through their participation in the Alumnae Council, former members of the Foundation’s board of directors continue to influence the lives of women and girls and contribute to the Foundation’s success. Council members’ knowledge and experience are an invaluable resource to current board and staff; their ongoing affiliation with Chicago Foundation for Women is an honor.

Council membership is limited to those who have served as Foundation directors.

* Founders of Chicago Foundation for Women


Ellen Benjamin
Juju Lien


Enriqueta Rodriguez Bauer

María C. Bechily

Deborah E. Bennett

Marjorie Craig Benton*

Allegra E. Biery

Saundra Bishop

Catherine Braendel

Betsy Brill

Nick Brunick

Dee Clancy

Fay Clayton

Vickii Coffey

Gwen Gilbert Cohen

Judith S. Cottle

Susan Crown

Barbara Dillard

Jann Drogovich-Stulberg

Harlene Ellin

Isa Ellis

Barbara Engel

Edith H. Falk

Sunny Fischer*

Polly A. Flinn

Trina M. Fresco

Judy Gold

Radhika Sharma Gordon

Cheryl Grace

Marguerite H. Griffin

Marjorie Halperin

Susan Hassan

Millicent Holmes

Suzanne Musikantow Holster

Ginny Holt

Mae P. Hong

Kathy Hurley

Alejandra L. Ibañez

Nancy Juda

Polly B. Kawalek

Kathryn G. Kennedy

Barbara Levy Kipper

Sally Meyer Kovler

Rachel E. Kraft

Andrea S. Kramer

Iris J. Krieg*

Leslie Landis

Robin Letchinger

Lois J. Lipton

Marcena W. Love

Gail Ludewig

Bertha G. Magaña

Wendy Manning

Susan Graf Marineau

Patricia McMillen

Dana M. Mikstay

Jo Moore

Patricia McDermott Moore

Susan E. Morrison

Mary F. Morten

Grace Allen Newton

Darlene M. Oliver

Nancy Olson

Diana Palomar

Audrey Rone Peeples

Celene Peurye-Hissong

Marianne Philbin

Jamie Phillippe

Jean Pogge

Kathleen Johnson Pope

Gaye Preston

Carmen Prieto

Carol Prins

Susan Pritzker

Sylvia Puente

Hedy Ratner

Beth E. Richie

Amalia Rioja

Nicole R. Robinson

Janice E. Rodgers

Leora Rosen

Sheli Z. Rosenberg

Jane M. Saks

Juanita Salvador-Burris

Edna J. Schade

Margot Levin Schiff

Carleen Schreder

Lisa T. Scruggs

Mita D. Shah

Gabrielle Sigel

Anita Sinha

Rebecca Sive

Patricia Costello Slovak

Deirdre Joy Smith

Jennifer Steans

Barbara Stewart

Donna M. Stone

Tina Tchen

Sharmila Rao Thakkar

Donna J. Thompson

Aylice Toohey

Laura Tucker

Susana Vasquez

Vanessa J. Weathersby

M. Blair Wellensiek

Courtney Welton

Wendy White Eagle

Patricia Yuzawa-Rubin

Nannette Zander

Frances K. Zemans


Professional Advisory Council

Our work would not be possible without the advice and assistance of the lawyers, accountants, financial and insurance planners, brokers and money managers, and other estate planners who comprise the Chicago Foundation for Women Professional Advisory Council.

For more information on the Professional Advisory Council, please contact Emily Dreke, Vice President of Development and Communications, at edreke@cfw.org or 312.577.2842.

Members as of February 2020:


Jeanine Meola
Fairpointe Capital

Chad A. Tischer
CFP, DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C.


Karim HK Ahamed
CFA, HPM Partners LLC
Leigh Harter
Schwartz Insurance Solutions
Laura Parish
Plante Moran
Erin Ankin
Shannon L. Hartzler
Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered
Jodi Pellettiere Patt
Quarles & Brady LLP
Ashley E. Bebeau
Strategic Wealth Partners, LLC
Dianne Hively
Hobson Advisors LLC
Celene Peurye
Focused Philanthropy
Patricia H. Besser
US Trust, Bank of America Private
Wealth Management
Tiffany Irving
US Trust
Shari Greco Reiches
Rappaport Reiches Capital
Management, LLC
Betsy Brill
Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd.
Christine Jordan
Rappaport Reiches Capital
Management, LLC
Jeff Rode
Segall Bryant & Hamill
Terri L. Cable
PNC Bank
Dannyel Kafer
Proven Business Systems
Janice E. Rodgers
Quarles & Brady LLP
Meridith G. Cannon
Clark Hill PLC
Kim Kamin
Gresham Partners
Brittney B. Saks
PriceWaterhouse Coopers LLP
Laura J. Clark
CFA, Oxford Financial Group, Ltd.
Kathryn G. Kennedy
HPM Partners
Tom Schroeder
Prather Ebner
Regina Cross
Goldman Sachs & Co.
James F. Kinoshita, CFA
PNC Wealth Management
Christine Sibrava
Whitnell & Co.
Shauntel Dalton-Leeson
JP Morgan Securities, LLC
H. Debra Levin
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Vicki Sinar
US Trust
Beth Engel
Wells Fargo Private Bank
Kathleen McDonald
Northwestern Mutual Financial
Paul A. Svoboda
Sidley Austin LLP
Marlene C. Franke
Marlene Atelier
Tina Davis Milligan
BMO Financial Group
Stephanie Szymanski
Sawdust Investment Management Corp.
Asha Goldstein
Cedar Hill Wealth Management
Deborah Moline
Highland Capital Brokerage
Sally L. Venverloh
US Trust
Clare Golla
Bernstein Global Wealth
Donna E. Morgan
Mayer Brown LLP
Melanie L. Witt
The Law Offices of Melanie Witt
Gina Forgianni Gray
Northern Trust Company
Abosede Odunsi
Infinity Strategic Group
Deborah Lust Zaluda, J.D.
The Bensman Group
Marguerite H. Griffin
Northern Trust Company
Kerry O'Hare
Oxford Capital Group


Alphawood Foundation

Domestic violence collaboration


Chicago Area Donors to End Domestic Violence (CADEDV) Chicago Council on Global Affairs

State of the World’s Mothers


Crossroads Fund, Woods Fund Chicago, Chicago Community Trust

Cultivate, a joint project to develop a cadre of energized, well-connected women of color, leaders from across the social and economic justice movements, whose collective voice and power can be leveraged to brighten the region’s future.

Groundswell Fund

The Catalyst Fund: Resources for Women of Color in Reproductive Justice

Mujeres Latinas en Acción and the Illinois Women for Compassionate Immigration Reform



Pierce Family Foundation

Skill Share Program, encouraging peer sharing among nonprofit organizations.


Polk Bros. Foundation

Polk Brothers Fund for Emerging Organizations

Women’s Foundation of California, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Women’s Funding Network 

Women’s Economic Security Campaign (WESC)


Chicago Foundation for Women
140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60603

312.577.2801 t
312.577.2802 f
312.577.2803 tty
email: info@cfw.org


Media inquiries
Christina Córdova-Herrera, Director of Communications

Questions about giving or getting involved
Emily Dreke, Chief Development Officer

Questions about applying for a grant
Lora York, Senior Program Officer

Get informed, get involved
Find out what's happening to women in the Chicago region. Sign up to receive GoWomen, our monthly newsletter, and updates about events. Or step up and make some new connections while you make a difference.