February 24, 2021 – Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) is proud to announce the 2021 Impact Awards honoring local leaders for their efforts to create safe, just, and healthy communities for all. CFW will present the 2021 Impact Awards on Thursday, March 18, 2021, virtually.
“The Impact Awards is a celebration of individuals and organizations working to make a better future for women and girls in our region a reality,” Felicia Davis, CFW President and CEO, said. “It’s an honor for Chicago Foundation for Women to recognize five incredible leaders and one outstanding corporation who are making an impact in our communities every day. Through advocacy and innovative approaches, they are ensuring our communities have the support and tools they need to thrive during these uncertain and challenging times.”
The Impact Awards recognize leaders working to improve women and girls’ lives by expanding economic security, ensuring freedom from violence, or enhancing access to health services. This year, CFW will honor:
Rosazlia Grillier, Co-President of POWER-PAC IL, the policy arm of Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), will receive the 2021 Founders Award. This award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievements, which have made significant contributions toward the advancement of women and girls for 30 years or more. Rosazlia is a dedicated community organizer fighting for issues impacting families who began her leadership and community activism journey through COFI’s training programs. She was instrumental in advocating for mandatory recess in Chicago Public Schools in 2011 for children’s health and well-being across the City. Today, she is a nationally recognized grassroots leader and sits on the board of COFI. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named a Chicago Hero by Allstate and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s family. Rosazlia is one of the founding governing council members for the United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN). She is a visionary leader determined to encourage collaborations that empower positive change worldwide.
Michelle Rashad, Executive Director of Imagine Englewood If, will receive the 2021 Pioneer Award, honoring a young leader under the age of 30, whose work is already impacting women and girls, showing great promise for the future. Michelle was born and raised in Englewood and returned to the South Side community after earning her bachelor’s degree from Howard University. Through her passionate dedication to community organizing and hard work, Michelle works to ensure the Englewood community continues to thrive. Through Michelle’s leadership, Imagine Englewood If fosters the leadership of young people through innovative approaches to teaching healthy living, environmental awareness, and positive communication.
Jacqueleen Crittle, Founder of the Midwest College Project, will receive a 2021 Impact Award. Jacqueleen is a cultural architect, passionate leader, and change catalyst leveraging her years of training, coaching, and partnerships to drive organizational excellence and youth empowerment. Through the Midwest College Project, she has provided career and college planning, mentorship, internship, and college touring to over 1,000 students, predominantly women. Jacqueleen’s stories unfold in her book, “Raising a Winner: The Grow and Go Theory,” and she is best described by Chicago Sun-Times columnist and ABC 7 Chicago political analyst Laura Washington: “with wit and charm, Jacqueleen Crittle shares perceptive, ground-up lessons on growing children who will not only survive but thrive.”
Neusa Gaytan, Senior VP of Programs at Mujeres Latinas en Acción, will receive a 2021 Impact Award. A proud Latina immigrant from Brazil, Neusa is passionate about supporting and empowering women, especially Latinas. She has been part of Mujeres since 1987, where she has served as a case manager, supervisor of programs, director, and interim President & CEO. In her current role, Neusa provides oversight to all of Mujeres’ programs and serves as a part of its management team, collaborating with the President & CEO in establishing priorities for policy and advocacy advancement. She is a respected voice among coalitions advocating on behalf of Latina survivors. Neusa is the agency delegate for Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA), has served on the board of the Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional Board (ICDVP), and is currently on the Board of Directors of LIDERAMOS, a national nonprofit lifting the leadership of Latinx immigrants and their children.
Ashley Marine, Deputy Director of GirlForward, will receive a 2021 Impact Award. Ashley is a proud social worker whose passion is rooted in building community with young people, whose lived experiences and work in multicultural spaces fuel her work today. Ashley was the first formal hire for GirlForward, brought on to turn a collection of ideas into action and results for refugee girls displaced by conflict and persecution. As Deputy Director, she has been instrumental in numerous initiatives, including expanding into Austin, Texas, creating a girl advisory board, and transitioning to virtual programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her passion for community extends outside of her work, as Ashley also spends time fostering creativity with youth as a dance teacher at All About Dance and facilitating workshops with Northwestern’s Civic Education Project.
In addition to the individuals being honored, Comcast will receive the 2021 Outstanding Corporate Citizen Impact Award recognizing its commitment to building a stronger, more equitable Chicago for all of us. Chicago’s recovery from COVID-19 will require addressing systemic inequities that were years in the making. Specifically, the current pandemic, and the subsequent, accelerated need for remote school and work, makes closing the digital divide more urgent than ever. Comcast understands the importance of digital equity, and the critical role it plays in achieving gender equity and breaking down systems of oppression for Chicago’s Black and Brown communities. Since 2011, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has connected 8 million people from low-income families to the internet at home, 90% of whom were not connected prior to signing up.
An eight-member volunteer committee selected the 2021 individual honorees from among dozens of nominations:
- Andrea Saenz (Committee Chair), Chief Operating Officer, The Chicago Community Trust
- Tom Alexander, CEO & Co-Founder, Holistic
- Michele G. Cober, Director – External Affairs, Verizon
- Deborah B. Cole, Attorney/Partner, Hoogendoorn and Talbot LLP
- Neha Gill, Executive Director, Apna Ghar, Inc.
- Sara Guderyahn, Vice President, Community/Executive Director, Chicago Blackhawks Foundation
- Nicole Johnson-Scales, Senior Vice President, Fifth Third Bank
- Diana Palomar, Vice President of Community Engagement, ABC 7
Additional information, including sponsorship and ticket information, is available at www.cfw.org/impact.
About Chicago Foundation for Women
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. Since its founding, CFW has invested nearly $41 million in hundreds of organizations, leveraging the generosity of more than 2,700 donors, impacting over 89,000 women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary individuals in our region. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources, and develop solutions. Learn more at www.cfw.org.