Pro-Health, Anti-Violence: Where a Chicago Women’s Funder Is Giving

     AJR_photo /shutterstock

 AJR_photo/shutterstock

It’s been a little while since we’ve caught up with the Chicago Foundation for Women, a local grantmaker with a history that dates back to the early 1980s.

Economic security, violence prevention, and access to health care have been this funder’s top three causes for a while now. And that hasn’t changed. But the bulk of CFW’s money has been going towards economic development issues over the past few years. These days, this topic has its very own funding cycle at CFW in the fall. Meanwhile, the spring funding cycle is split between pro-health and anti-violence groups. Since these are the smaller two funding areas that sometimes get less attention than the economic security grants, let’s take a closer look at where the money has been going.

CFW recently announced a total of 68 new grants totaling $913,550, mostly in support of access to women’s healthcare and freedom from violence. Thirty-four of these grants totaling $569,000 were part of the funder’s spring grant cycle. There was a big push for anti-violence support this round, with 25 of those 34 grants going to the cause. This is a significant shift in light of the funder’s past giving in previous cycles.

But another thing that makes this foundation really interesting is that a significant amount of its support also comes from separate-but-affiliated giving circles and councils each year. Those councils and circles have made at least $128,000 of their own grants so far in 2017. The largest one of these groups is the North Shore Giving Circle, which gave six grants totaling $62,100 for the spring of 2017. Other groups in the mix are the Fay Clayton Advised Fund, Western Suburbs Giving Circle, LBTQ Giving Council, Women United Giving Council, Young Women Giving Council, and the Polk Bros. Foundation Fund for Emerging Organization.

On top of that, new CFW grants were also made as part of its Englewood Women’s Giving Initiative. This Englewood program addresses a pressing need to equip low-income women in this Southside neighborhood with the tools they need to find good jobs and long-term stability.

Rosalind More, the director of programs for Teamwork Englewood, made the following statement about ongoing opportunities here:

Initiatives that support advancement of the Englewood Quality of Life Plan are welcome. Recognizing that single women are at the nucleus or head of many Englewood families, we especially welcome programs such as the Englewood Women’s Initiative that move women toward economic security and that support the community-based organizations that provide women with needed services.

Diversity and equality have been major themes in 2017 grantmaking nationwide, and CFW has kept up with this trend as well. Recent blog posts on its blog, like "Catalyzing Giving in Communities of Color"and "Learning from Diverse Voices," really drive this point home. CFW has also been yet another making rapid response grants since Trump's election, and awarded 29 of those from its 100 Day Fund.

You can learn more about applying for a CFW grant in an upcoming cycle here. The fall round of economic security grants is up next.

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