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Chicago Foundation For Women

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: Chicago foundation for women is a grantmaking organization dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for women and girls in the greater chicago area. Our work is rooted in three areas of women's rights - economic security, freedom from violence, and access to health care services and information. To support our philanthropy, the foundation promotes increased investment in women and girls, raises awareness about their issues and potential, and develops them as leaders and philanthropists. When you invest in women and girls, you invest in stronger, more stable families and communities. You develop capable workers, people who produce more, save more, and spend more, right now and 30 years from now. You raise a generation of healthier kids and brighter futures, and you lower the cost of everything from public safety to social services to healthcare. Invest in women and girls, and you invest in a society that works - for everyone!

Programs: Grantmaking: since its inception in 1985, chicago foundation for women has awarded $33 million in grants to nearly 4,000 nonprofit organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence, and lack of access to healthcare and information. In fiscal year 2018, the foundation awarded a total of $2,613,750 in grants to 111 agencies advancing health, economic security and freedom from violence for chicago-area women and girls. This represents the largest, total annual grantmaking since cfw's inception. Cfw funded over 160 projects in 4 counties serving 94,129 people.

leadership development: the foundation hosts three affinity groups: women united, lbtq, and young women giving councils, which promote and cultivate women's philanthropy and leadership across diverse communities. Women engaged with these councils are prepared to become active leaders through training, public education, networking and philanthropic activities. In addition, the foundation hosts the north shore giving circle, which invests in women and girls in the northern suburbs, the western suburbs giving circle, and the newly formed south side giving circle, thus expanding cfw's reach and introducing new organizations to the foundation's capacity building initiatives. In all, the giving councils and the giving circles awarded $131,700 this fiscal year to organizations serving women and girls in their respective communities. Cfw continues to offer the board member boot camp, including a training offered to board members of our grantee organizations and community members who have 5 years or less experience serving on boards. The board boot camp program also collaborates with corporate affinity groups in order to grow the pool of diverse participants and trained board prospects from the corporate community. 141 women and men participated in boot camp during this fiscal year. Launched in fy 2017, cfw continued the englewood women's initiative (ewi) in fy 2018. Through this program, a strategic alliance of eight agencies is collectively working to strengthen and sustain the economic security of low-income working women and entrepreneurs and their children living in englewood. The goal of this initiative is to grow the financial security of 60 female-headed households by putting them on a path to sustainable income, defined as more than $40,000 per year.

public policy and advocacy: chicago foundation for women emphasizes the value and necessity of analyzing economic and social issues through a "gender lens. " a key component of our long-term vision for increasing our impact includes expanding our role as a leader and convener of diverse groups of organizations and stakeholders around issues of critical importance to the lives of women and girls, which in turn, informs stakeholders and helps build opportunities to advance public policies and other advocacy efforts. As a result, the cfw community has won over 30 legislative victories. Through the 100% project, cfw identifies opportunities for programmatic, philanthropic, and collaborative solutions to advance gender equity in various sectors including those of priority to cfw: ending violence against women, economic security, and access to comprehensive, affordable, and respectful health care. It's an all-out, all-in effort to eliminate gender bias in metropolitan chicago within a generation. During fy 2018 the foundation continued its partnership with the catalyst fund for reproductive justice to support local reproductive justice advocacy organizations led by women of color. Cfw has helped to accelerate the advocacy goals of this cohort by using its own voice -through the media as well as cfw's website and e-newsletter-to frame the issues of key importance to reproductive justice for women and girls in the chicago region.

grantee education & support: in addition to grants, cfw provides a range of no cost educational opportunities designed to equip grantees with the essential skills and knowledge to be effective and resilient leaders, particularly in the nonprofit sector, and powerful advocates for gender equity. Our programming enables small organizations with limited budgets to learn from some of the leading trainers in the region to help strengthen their leadership and organizational sustainability. To date, approximately 290 leaders from over 40 organizations were impacted by our capacity building programming. The core concepts coaching program provides individualized instruction on topics such as financial management, board development, communications, and fundraising. In addition, cfw continued its advocacy training through its media relations training, which increases nonprofit leaders' effectiveness around media messaging, storytelling, social media and acting as a spokesperson for their organization to help advance their mission. Cultivate, the women of color collaborative provides a space for women of color to discuss and develop alternative methods of leadership development, organization building and community organizing. New this year, in partnership with the willie taplin barrow leadership institute and museum and african american legacy and an initiative of the chicago community trust, cfw will build a new network and pipeline of black women leaders committed to advancing issues of equity in chicago through the willie's warriors program.

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