annual report 2019

a letter from the president

Growing up, I watched my mother struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads. She found strength in the people around us, the women who encouraged her, and a community that wrapped around us as my mother went back to school to complete her education.

I see myself in the faces and the stories of the women and girls we impact at Chicago Foundation for Women.

I would bet you recognize pieces of your own family’s story in some aspect of CFW’s work. That is part of what makes CFW such a powerful community: giving rooted in the belief that the challenges facing women and girls affect all of us, and that each of us holds a piece of the solution; that by working together, we can build a healthy, safe and just Chicago region, for all of us.

CFW is here to bring together our individual contributions and direct them to where they can make the greatest impact. To do that, we rely on the input, expertise, and partnership of communities, coalition members and grantees working with us to make Chicago the best place in the country for women and girls.

Effective, responsive grantmaking starts and ends with community voice. CFW is here to listen, to learn, and to put resources and expertise to work for women and girls. Over the past year, the impact of CFW’s deep partnership with community has taken a number of forms: passing new legislation in response to fears about the future of choice; creating vehicles for inspired women to reinvest in their communities; making strategic investments based on the latest research; or iterating new programs to best meet the needs of the community.

We’ve seen, time and time again, that when the voices of women and girls are put front and center, and heard, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. This year, Chicago Foundation for Women made its largest-ever investments of more than $2.8 million in 117 organizations, impacting the lives of over 70,000 women, girls, trans, and gender nonconforming people in our region.

This impact is only made possible with the support of our donors, the partnership of our vendors, the trust of grantees, and with the leadership of women and our allies across our region. Together, we are building a stronger, more equitable Chicago region. For women. For girls. For all of us.

Thank you for being with us.

Let’s get to work,

Felicia Davis

President and CEO, Chicago Foundation for Women

With you, we invested
(the highest annual grantmaking in CFW history)
for economic security
(56 grants)
for freedom from violence
(78 grants)
for access to healthcare and information
(32 grants)
people impacted
women and girls
men and boys
trans / nonconforming people
giving council and circle members
in giving council and circle grants

with us

removing barriers

protecting choice

building networks

changing the narrative

building community

mobilizing resources

Englewood Women's Initiative

The challenges facing Englewood are significant, but so is the opportunity

CFW assembled an alliance of eight organizations to create wraparound services - from job training to domestic violence services - to put 60 women on the path to economic security.

Reproductive Health and Access Coalition

Across the country, reproductive choice is under attack. But thanks to a coalition of organizations funded in part by CFW, Illinois is ready.

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade became a question of not if, but when.

Willie's Warriors

With five leadership development programs, CFW brings together women from all walks of life to learn alongside and from one another how to build a more just, equitable Chicago region for all of us.

South Side Giving Circle

Communities know what they need to thrive.

The South Side Giving Circle is a group of women connecting need, knowledge, and resources to invest in Black women and girls on Chicago’s South Side.

Young Women’s Giving Council

Individually, our impact is limited. Together, the Giving Councils of CFW are pooling their resources to make meaningful investments in women and girls.

“We don’t often think of young people or young professionals as philanthropists,” says Adriana Viteri, co-chair of the Young Women’s Giving Council of Chicago Foundation for Women.

Syrian Community Network

CFW is a community of donors committed to going the extra mile for women and girls.

When an office fire threatened to disrupt a grantee’s work supporting refugee resettlement, a group of donors rallied to keep the doors open.


our investments

CFW invests in community-led solutions to the most pressing challenges facing women and girls.

Investing in economic security, access to health, and freedom from violence for all women and girls, and in stronger communities, for all of us.


our documentation

CFW invests with intention, for results.

We rely on the community, and in return, the community counts on us to invest for the greatest possible impact. To ensure our grantmaking is effective and efficient, CFW invests in building a strong and resilient nonprofit sector.


our support

Our donors come from every walk of life and across the Chicago region.

Some give time, others talent, treasure or testimony. They share a commitment to equal opportunity and basic rights for women and girls, to investing in our communities, and they trust CFW to do it.


our spending

CFW strives to make every dollar count for equity, whether through our grantmaking or where we buy office supplies. This year, CFW is sharing a breakdown of our spending with women and minority-owned businesses.


our team

For women and girls, by women and our allies.


  • Marjorie Craig Benton
  • Sunny Fischer
  • Iris J. Krieg
  • Lucia Woods Lindley

fiscal year 2019

as of june 2019
  • Felicia Davis
  • Shannon Buckley
  • Melanie Conway
  • Emily Dreke
  • Nancy Garcia
  • Natosha Johnson
  • Ilda Lagunas
  • Eli Marsh
  • Agnes Meneses
  • Maleia Scuefield-Ransom
  • Kyle Ann Sebastian
  • Katy Thomas
  • Linda Wagner
  • Bernadine Wims
  • Lora York

fiscal year 2019 board of directors

as of june 2019
  • Patricia C. Slovakchair
  • Kelly Smith Haleyincoming chair
  • Silvia Riverasecretary
  • M. Blair Wellensiektreasurer
  • James L. Alexander
  • Carmin Awadzi
  • Joan Trueheart Bacon
  • Adela Cepeda
  • Allison B. Clark
  • Valerie Colletti
  • Regina Cross
  • Harlene Ellin
  • Sarah Hurwit Gomel
  • Georgina Heard-Labonne
  • Keri Holleb Hotaling
  • Susie Kurowski
  • Robin Letchinger
  • Tina Manikas
  • Kathleen McDonald
  • Michael Narcisco
  • Marie Osadjan
  • Munira Patel
  • Gretchen M. Wolf
  • Ann Marie Wright