Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. CFW funds organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence, and lack of access to health care and information. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources and develop solutions. Since its founding in 1985, CFW has invested nearly $39 million in organizations supporting women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary people across the Chicago metropolitan region.
Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) was established in 1985 by four Chicago-area women seeking to improve the lives of Chicago-area women and girls. At that time, less than 3% of institutional, philanthropic dollars went to support the issues that impact women and girls - issues that matter to all of us – equity in education, jobs, access to healthcare and freedom from gender-based violence.
Since its inception in 1985, CFW has been a leading voice in the effort to achieve basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. Today - 35 years later - CFW has grown significantly to be a critical partner in the global women’s funding movement. CFW recognizes that few community problems can be resolved without programs and strategies that intentionally address the needs of women and girls. To date, the Foundation has awarded over 4,000 grants to hundreds of organizations totaling over $39 million. In addition, CFW’s investments in coalitions and advocacy, as well as our own work building the leadership of advocates have helped to support the passage of 31 pieces of pro-women-and-girls legislation over the past four years. This has included the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois, the No Salary History law that strengthens the Illinois Equal Pay Act, the Illinois Reproductive Health Act and a statewide sexual harassment law. Thanks to the past, sustained support of these movements and their infrastructure, even in times of more intense political opposition, CFW and our partners have been able to harness the opportunity of the current political climate to drive progressive change. As a result, Illinois is increasingly becoming a bastion for women’s rights in a nationally polarizing and oppressive sociopolitical context.
However, a great deal of work still needs to be done to address continuing gender inequalities. COVID-19 has made plain the preexisting, structural gender inequities facing our region and our country. For 35 years, CFW has been at the frontlines alongside our grantee partners, fighting against this inequity that is now top of mind for our society. As this virus rages on, women are disproportionately represented on the front lines of this fight and in industries crippled by the economic fallout – leaving them, many of whom are the primary breadwinner for their families, with reduced or no income and oftentimes, no health, sick leave or childcare benefits at all. It is the unfortunate reality that women, particularly Women of Color, are quite literally carrying the burden of this pandemic on their backs.
Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. CFW funds organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence, and lack of…