Chicago Foundation for Women is a non-profit organization with more than 30 years of existence. It helps women and girls with different problems in the Chicago metropolitan area. The organization focuses its efforts on three pillars: work and economic security, freedom from violence and access to health. Chicago Foundation for Women works based on these three categories investing resources in creating better social conditions. Donors at the organization are well informed about the company’s labors, which involve educating and advocating for women, meaning that the organization teaches, defends and gives the support they need in different situations. Members of the Foundation are leaders preparing women for social changes.
For the foundation, to invest in women and their relatives generates more stability in families, improves community living, increases work opportunities, among other benefits. Investing in women problems and needs helps future generations getting better living environments, safe conditions, and easier social services access.
The foundation has been supported by multiples organizations with different grants, from $500.000 dollars to over $5 million dollars. Besides these grants, the organization also promotes creative solutions for women and girls problems and stimulates their allies to generate new ideas and inspire innovation processes that could have a positive impact on its members. The Chicago Foundation for Women receives contributions from its partners from $15.000 dollars to $150.000 dollars.
In 1984, Marjorie Craig Benton, Sunny Fischer, Iris J. Krieg and Lucia Woods Lindley started to work on different initiatives which became what is known today as the Chicago Foundation for Women. With this organization, they wanted to help women living under difficult circumstances associated with domestic violence, the lack of economic resources, poor access to health services and other issues that affect lots of women and their families every day. Back in the 80’s, only 3 percent of all the philanthropic grants were destined to solve issues affecting women in need, for this reason, the ladies in charge of creating the Chicago Foundation for Women merged their knowledge and skills to get more funds for needed women and girls in the city.
The foundation has five principles to lever up their mission which is “To invest in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all”. These principles are:
- Equality as a universal human right.
- Empowerment as the right that people have to take their own choices.
- Diversity as an element to merge ideas from different communities.
- Collaboration to join efforts from different communities and families.
- Integrity to support ethically all the initiatives and activities.
Chicago Foundation for Women in the Metropolitan area
As mentioned above, the principal focus area of the grants given to the Foundation is the Chicago Metropolitan area, however, contributions that are received by its partners are extended to other localities near Chicago, which means that the recollected funds are not going only to women and girls of the metropolitan area but to families and communities from the Chicago suburbs.
Currently, the foundation has worked with more than 2.000 givers and allies, also the organization has promoted more than 150 projects that include more than 50.000 women. The foundation not only helps women’s needs and personal problems, it also stimulates the creation of new concepts and enterprises for these women and for the community through seed money and counseling. With these funds, the organization pursues the creation of innovative ideas that can generate employees for the community and solve diverse issues for the Chicago people.
The foundation initiatives
One of the most important goals of the foundation is the women’s leadership initiative. With this, the organization pursues the creation and development of volunteer leaders to promote social changes and the engagement of these women with community labors. Besides, with this initiative women get empowered to do things for their families and for other women in Chicago.
Another important initiative of the foundation is the board members boot camp. With this, the organization wants to increase the participation of women in non-profit organizations boards, to develop new projects in Chicago and help the community.
On the other hand, there is an advocacy academy, where women can learn different concepts about philanthropy and public policy. Furthermore, they develop skills to benefit the community and promote new enterprises to serve other needed women and support other nonprofit organizations.
Chicago Foundation for Women staff and allies
The foundation’s current CEO is K. Sujata. At this time the organization has 26 board members and 14 staff members. Through years, the foundation has joined labors with other non-profit organizations like Alphawood Foundation or Polk Bros. Foundation to get funds for multiple activities that will benefit needed Chicago women and their families. Also, these allies bring new points of view and involve people of other social groups like LGBT members or women of color. This diversity helps to solve new unconsidered issues and brings new valuable ideas.
The Chicago Foundation for Women is a great ally in the city, due to the unconditional support that it gives not only to women and girls but to their families, improving their quality of life, teaching how to work with the community and funding initiatives increasing their work opportunities.