Celebrating Leadership, Innovation, and Inspiration

Dear Colleagues,

For centuries, Black women have been relying on themselves and one another — using giving circles and other forms of collective giving as a form of social insurance to help each other through tough times and build collective power.

That legacy continues today through the inspiring and innovative Black women leading women’s funds and foundations across the globe. We are honored, proud and fortunate to work alongside and learn from the examples of The African Women’s Development Fund, CEO Françoise Moudouthe; the Canadian Women’s Foundation President and CEO Paulette Senior; ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten; WFN board member and Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa Younger, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado President and CEO Lauren Casteel, and Global Fund for Women President Latanya Mapp Frett – just to name a few.

Paulette is leading her organization as a part of a $2.5 million multi-sector initiative recently announced  designed to combat gender-based violence (GBV) against Black women and girls. An equal pay law is now in effect in Colorado thanks to the leadership of Lauren and her team. At the start of the pandemic last year, Ruby Bright, president and CEO of Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, quickly pivoted her team to host a COVID-19 Response Project that featured a socially-distance event where more than 500 families received over 1,000 household products, food, hygiene kits, and community resource packets stuffed with information on the virus, testing locations, financial literacy, domestic violence, health and wellness, and employment opportunities.

In the U.S. Congress, we have many examples, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who is working to expand reproductive freedom and overturn the Hyde Amendment as chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Task Force. Then there’s Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Barbara Lee, who honored Former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate the late Shirley Chisholm on Inauguration Day and carries on Chisholm’s legacy through her work in Congress. 

While we know that celebrating the achievements and contributions of the Black community should never be confined to one single month per year, there is much to honor and celebrate as we begin Black History Month in the U.S. by lifting up Black women’s transformative leadership.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating the wisdom and ingenuity of Black women’s leadership, work and sacrifices. 

Yours for equity and justice,

Elizabeth Signature

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

Letters from Elizabeth