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.
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.
Since 1985, CFW has awarded more than 4,000 grants, totaling over $42 million, so that Chicago-area women, girls, trans, and gender nonbinary individuals are healthy, safe, and economically secure.
The official airline of Chicago Foundation for Women
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
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.
ABOUT THE COUNCILS
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
María C. Bechily
Deborah E. Bennett
Marjorie Craig Benton*
Allegra E. Biery
Gwen Gilbert Cohen
Judith S. Cottle
Edith H. Falk
Polly A. Flinn
Trina M. Fresco
Radhika Sharma Gordon
Marguerite H. Griffin
Suzanne Musikantow Holster
Mae P. Hong
Alejandra L. Ibañez
Kathryn G. Kennedy
Barbara Levy Kipper
Sally Meyer Kovler
Rachel E. Kraft
Andrea S. Kramer
Iris J. Krieg*
Lois J. Lipton
Marcena W. Love
Bertha G. Magaña
Susan Graf Marineau
Dana M. Mikstay
Patricia McDermott Moore
Susan E. Morrison
Mary F. Morten
Grace Allen Newton
Darlene M. Oliver
Audrey Rone Peeples
Kathleen Johnson Pope
Nicole R. Robinson
Janice E. Rodgers
Sheli Z. Rosenberg
Jane M. Saks
Edna J. Schade
Margot Levin Schiff
Lisa T. Scruggs
Mita D. Shah
Patricia Costello Slovak
Deirdre Joy Smith
Donna M. Stone
Sharmila Rao Thakkar
Donna J. Thompson
Vanessa J. Weathersby
M. Blair Wellensiek
Wendy White Eagle
Frances K. Zemans
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.
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
Christina Córdova-Herrera, Director of Communications
Questions about giving or getting involved
Jessi Moon, Senior Director of Development
Questions about applying for a grant
Lora York, Senior Program Officer
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Chicago Foundation for Women is a leading convener of women in Chicago. Check out our upcoming events below. All of our events, including those hosted by our Giving Councils, are open to the public unless otherwise specified.
To read about meetings and events we've held, visit our entire Events Schedule. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.