Skip to main content

Chicago mayor proclaims March 31 to April 4 as Women’s Philanthropy Week



INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proclaiming March 31 to April 4 “Women’s Philanthropy Week in Chicago.”

The mayor’s proclamation recognizes “the visionary women who commit to the important work that strengthens our greater society” and the partnership of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at IUPUI, the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions in convening the #WomenLeading Philanthropy national symposium April 2 and 3 in Chicago.

“The indelible impact of the distinguished role of women in the City of Chicago has often been associated with key issues in the realms of activism and advocacy, service and uplift, and charity and philanthropy,” the proclamation notes. “The enduring work and legacy of esteemed Chicagoans such as Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells among a great many others bear the influence of involved philanthropy and its power to spur change, improve lives and empower generations.”

A broad cross section of philanthropists, activists and entrepreneurs in philanthropy will gather for the symposium, which will highlight the impact of women as leaders in philanthropy. The event will be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water St., Chicago. The presenting sponsor is JPMorgan Chase.

“This will be a multifaceted conversation about women, leadership, philanthropy and impact, exploring the powerful and diverse ways women make a difference,” said Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, part of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “We are delighted that Mayor Emanuel has chosen to recognize the importance of women’s philanthropy in strengthening society with this inspiring proclamation.”

Conference topics include:

  • How the philanthropic landscape has changed as a result of women’s increased involvement.
  • The impact of women’s collective action.
  • Fostering women’s philanthropic leadership in the 21st century.

Leaders featured during the symposium are founding enterprises to aid victims of sexual abuse in Sri Lanka; fighting global health problems; serving as angel investors for social enterprises; and advocating on behalf of life-changing causes.

More than 25 dynamic speakers from across the nation will add their voices and insights to the conversation, including:

  • Kimberly Bryant, creator, Black Girls Code
  • Cheryl Dorsey, president, Echoing Green
  • Barbara Lucas, regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association
  • Winsome McIntosh, founder, Rachel’s Network
  • Harriet Olson, general secretary and CEO, United Methodist Women
  • Julie Robertson, national director, Go RED for Women, American Heart Association
  • Trisa Thompson, vice president of corporate responsibility, Dell
  • Alia Whitney-Johnson, founder, Emerge Global

Chicago-based speakers include:

  • Lori Beaman, assistant professor of economics and faculty fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
  • Nicholas Brunick, attorney, Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen; board member, Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Doris Christopher, founder, interim CEO and chairman, The Pampered Chef
  • Julie Christopher, volunteer and philanthropist
  • Fran Edwardson, CEO, American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region
  • Elizabeth Evans, founding CEO, New Voice Strategies
  • Tracie Haas, president, AbbVie Foundation
  • Joan Johnson, author, co-founder and co-director, Newberry Seminar on Women and Gender, Newberry Library
  • Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
  • Margot Pritzker, founder, WomenOnCall
  • Alice Young Sabl, chair, University of Chicago’s Women’s Board
  • Julie Smolyansky, CEO and director, Lifeway Foods
  • K. Sujata, president and CEO, Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Glenn F. Tilton, chairman of the Midwest, JPMorgan Chase
  • Courtney E. VanLonkhuyzen, lead procurement counsel and foundation executive director, Motorola Mobility LLC

The two-day symposium combines panel discussions, personal interviews and short talks.   

About the Women’s Philanthropy Institute

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The institute increases understanding of women’s philanthropy through rigorous research and education, interpreting and sharing these insights broadly to improve philanthropy. Follow the institute on Twitter @WPIinsights and “Like” the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s Facebook page.