Developing women as leaders matters

Women’s Leadership Development Initiative

Better outcomes depend on better leaders. Yet skill-building, coaching, and mentoring are rarely on the agenda for those at the top, particularly at resource-strapped organizations.

With major funding from the Polk Bros. Foundation and additional support from other valued partners, the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative at CFW is developing a new generation of nonprofit leaders. And by bringing those leaders together, the initiative also makes possible the kind of long-term partnerships and collective engagements that produce successful advocacy and social change.

The Advocacy Academy trains key staff members of nonprofit organizations that serve women and girls in the essential knowledge and skills required to effectively engage in the public policy debate in support of our shared values.

Core Concepts Coaching provides individualized instruction to grow the core concepts necessary for every nonprofit to master in order to sustain and grow: financial management, board development, communications and fundraising. Each year, CFW creates a learning community of 15 agencies who are provided with personal coaches and consultants who works directly with each organization’s staff to build new skills, talent and knowledge.

CULTIVATE: Women of Color Leadership Initiative builds and sustains a cadre of energized women leaders of color who are well connected across movements. Developed in partnership with the Crossroads Fund, the Woods Fund of Chicago, and the Chicago Community Trust, the collaborative aims to strengthen the sustainability of women-of-color-led organizations and to encourage new models of leadership development and community organizing.

Board Member Boot Camp increases the number and effectiveness of women serving on nonprofit boards throughout the Chicago area. Participants include board members of CFW grantee organizations and community members who have less than five years’ experience serving on boards; intensive sessions
are offered on-site at corporations. The Boot Camp also includes a networking opportunity with local nonprofits in search of board members.