Women’s Leadership Development Initiative

Developing Women as Leaders Matters

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.

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. Learn More

Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative

Elevates the leadership of Black women across the Chicago region, 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 develop skills related to systems change, economic empowerment, communications, and strategic alliances while building a network among Black women leaders from diverse sectors and industries. Willie’s Warriors will honor and continue the legacy of the late Reverend Willie Taplin Barrow, with support from Rev. Barrow’s estate in partnership with African American Legacy (AAL) at the Chicago Community Trust. Learn More

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. Applications are now open for the 2020 – 2021 cohort. Learn More

Black Women-led Organization Capacity Building Program (BLOC)

Capacity building grants to support the Black Women leaders to build and implement systematic care structures that include comprehensive benefits packages for organizations and their staff. Learn More

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.

Media Training

Prepares nonprofit staff to be effective spokespeople for their organizations, and communicate their work to the public and media through compelling storytelling and messaging. Participants will learn best practices for developing your message, working with media, and using social media to amplify your message. CFW partners with Public Narrative to provide this six-week training intended for executive directors and communication specialists.