Liberating Funding


Liberating Funding is a collaborative learning program that engages participating Giving Council and Circle (GC/C) members in robust dialogue and reflection around topics such as philanthropy, money and investing, race and identity, liberation and healing. Using a cohort model, the program invites participants to be in relationship with one another and to build from previous conversations in a safe and courageous space.  

While not all GC/C members will participate, the expectation is that those who do bring back learnings, tools and questions to their respective GC/C in order to strengthen the collective’s capacity to practice equity in grantmaking. The program is a compliment the annual grant cycles of the GC/Cs.  



Hold space for participants to explore methods of and take action on practices to equitably distribute funds, influence broader philanthropic and individual anti-racist practices, and deepen the gender and racial equity lens embedded into the Giving Councils and Giving Circles. This program will do this by:  


  • Creating a collaborative learning community of members rooted in community care, and in understanding and dismantling white supremacist funding practices within the Giving Councils and Circles;    

  • Preparing members with the knowledge, the tools and the skills to be ambassadors for gender and racial justice in their respective Giving Council or Giving Circle and in other areas of their lives; 

  • Offering space for self-reflection on the role we play as individuals to influence structural racism  


  • Equitable Funding: $50 of every participant fee is pooled to provide a matching grant to an emerging organization within CFW's portfolio. The grant is for a BIPOC woman or gender expansive leader at the grantee organization to support their leadership development in a way that they choose. 


  • Influence Broader Philanthropic and Individual Anti-Racist Practices: Publish at least one collaborative thought piece related to the training and/or model.  


  • Deepen the Racial Equity Lens Embedded into the GC/Cs: All recordings of the trainings and corresponding materials and resources will be shared with all GC/C membersParticipants of the program will be encouraged to collaborate with the Chairs of their respective GC/C to decide how to share and engage in the learnings with their peers on the GC/C.   

Fri, Jan 14  ♦  by Noon
Application deadline
Open to current GC/C members

Four workshops on various aspects of
equity and structural racism


Funds from cohort fees will go towards
a matching grant to a BIPOC woman or gender
expansive leader of an emerging organization

Monday, Jan 24  ♦  By EOD
Applicants notified of selection
Up to 30 members selected

Apply the learnings to grantmaking practices
through discussions that follow each workshop +
Affinity group conversations (BIPOC, Black, White).

Gather. Connect. Mobilize.
Participant event at end of the program.

Tuesday, Feb 1  ♦  5:30pm - 6:30pm
Revival Food Hall, Bar at Clark entrance
Drop-in to connect & pick up welcome package

Regular communications to all GC/C members
Shared resources & materials


Cultivate a network of ambassadors for
equitable funding by sharing knowledge, tools
and skills with others in the GC/Cs



Understanding Transness: A Comprehensive Trans101 

Thursday, January 27
12:00pm - 2:00pm  ♦  Virtual  

This training is ideal for an organization looking to create a culture of trans affirmation and centered around the unique needs of trans people in service provision, in the workplace, and in everyday life. The workshop breaks down basic ideas about gender, dos and don’ts of interacting with trans people, the difference between sex and gender, and the diversity of trans experience.  


Class, Privilege and Wealth

Thursday, March 10
6:00pm - 8:00pm  ♦  Virtual  

In this training, participants will explore these concepts, and how they impact their everyday experiences and interactions with others. As with all of our trainings, this will include practical guidance on how to manage and utilize class and wealth privilege in ways that reduce bias and inequity. 

This workshop will be recorded and shared with all GC/C members.



Building Black Power: Dismantling Anti-Blackness in Our Institutions and Movement 

Tuesday, April 5
2:30pm - 6:00pm  ♦  Virtual

This webinar for multi-racial participants aims to disrupt the ways anti-Blackness shows up in organizations and communities. The facilitated workshop will involve interactive exercises and an experiential dialogue using historical and contemporary information, self-reflection, institutional analysis, visioning, and collective action planning. A key learning objective of this training is for participants to be more equipped with resources for identifying and undoing anti-Black racism and building pro-Black spaces within teams, organizations and communities. 


Unconscious Bias and Microaggression

Wednesday, May 11
6:00pm - 8:00pm  ♦  Virtual  

Learn how to respectfully engage with others, while reducing prejudice based on factors like gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, and physical and mental ability. This training looks at a range of issues including unconscious bias, microaggressions, and cross-cultural communications, moving beyond tolerance to embracing diverse perspectives.  

This workshop will be recorded and shared with all GC/C members.


Community of Practice
Wednesday, Februrary 9
6:00pm - 7:30pm  ♦  Virtual


Community of Practice
Tuesday, March 29
6:00pm - 7:30pm  ♦  Virtual


Community of Practice
Thursday, April 21
11:30am - 1:00pm  ♦  Virtual


Community of Practice
Thursday, May 26
6:00pm - 7:30pm  ♦  Virtual




Liberating Funding has intentionally been designed as a cohort model to create space for participants to cultivate relationship and trust with one another over time, and to build from learnings and conversations occurring at each gathering. The Program has a participant fee to support in securing high quality trainers and materials, and investments in BIPOC women and/or gender expansive leaders of emerging organizations in the Chicago region.  


If selected, you will be expected to fully participate in the program. Full participation includes attending all trainings and/or completing all course work, attending all discussion sessions and participating in an affinity group. 


Program Fees  ♦  $150 + an optional $120 for the workshop with Equity in the Center*


*There is space for up to 15 members to attend a public workshop hosted by Equity in the Center on Tuesday, April 5. Materials and themes will be shared with other Cohort members and incorporated into the following Community of Practice session.  


We understand that not everyone’s situation allows for this. Thus, on the application, you will indicate which dates you are able to commit to, and indicate if you need financial support to fully participate. There will be a limited number of partial and full scholarships to ensure that all who would like to participate are able to. If you are unavailable for most of the dates, please do not apply at this time.  


The program fee is in addition to your membership gift for the year.




Jessyca DudleyFounder & CEO, Bold VenturesBorn and raised in Chicago, Jessyca has seen first- hand how philanthropy often excludes communities and their perspectives. She’s been on both sides of the system, seeking funding and making grants, and has seen how opaque practices regulate access to funding for BIPOC communities. Before founding Bold Ventures, a strategic advisory firm,  Jessyca began her career in philanthropy as the Gun Violence Prevention program officer for the Joyce Foundation. She has also served as a Director and DEI Specialist at Arabella Advisors where she promoted dialogue, advocated for investment in BIPOC communities, and through her work with Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy has built infrastructure for equitable leadership roles in the social sector. Jessyca earned her BA in Gender Studies at Skidmore and then her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Eli Marsh
Director of Social and Community Impact, CFW
A fierce advocate for human rights and for dismantling racist structures and practices, at CFW Eli harnesses the power of womxn's collective giving to challenge the status quo and advance systems change. Her role is to elevate community decision-making in funding determinations, leverage the power of collective giving, and build capacity to center gender and racial equity in philanthropy. Additionally, she serves on a task force to build an Antiracism Transformation Team at the Foundation, guided by Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (CROAR). Prior to joining CFW, Eli served as the Manager of After-School and Community Outreach Programs at Changing Worlds where she directed arts programming for K-12 grade students. Eli is a Board member of Charter Oak Foundaion, and an Advisory Board member of Honey Pot Performance. Eli received a BA in International Studies and a BA in French from Saint Louis University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude; and graduated with a MA from the American University of Paris and L’Institute Catholique de Paris in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution, and Civil Society; and the Sociology of Conflict respectively.

For more information, contact Eli Marsh
312.577.2825  ♦