Awarded to outstanding risk-takers and innovators in the philanthropic community whose leadership has resulted in increased funding for programs that promote gender equity and diversity, this year's LEAD Award recognized NYWF, which launched the first Young Women's Initiative in partnership with the New York City Council, and seven other women's foundations that launched similar efforts across the country. The leaders accepting the award on behalf of their foundations are Ana Oliveira, NYWF; Jeanne Jackson, Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham; Surina Khan, Women's Foundation of California; Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women's Foundation; Ruby Bright, Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis; Lee Roper Batker, Women's Foundation of Minnesota; Irma Gonzales (CEO) and Elizabeth Barajas Roman (former CEO), Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts; and Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, Washington Area Women's Foundation.
"This year, we are presenting the award to each of the eight women's foundations that have pioneered Young Women's Initiatives," said Women's Funding Network CEO Cynthia Nimmo, "because the presidents of these foundations have shown ingenuity and fortitude in their vision of young women and focus on young women of color as advocates, and spokespeople with direct access to legislators and other decision makers."
"We are proud that New York lead the way in creating the nation's first-ever Young Women's Initiative, and I am honored to receive this recognition with seven colleagues who have launched similar programs," said Oliveira. "Young Women's Initiatives leverage new resources as well as expertise, to ensure that girls, young women, and gender-fluid youth have every opportunity to reach their full leadership potential. They are exactly the kind of initiatives that needs to grow right and we look forward to welcoming additional locales to the effort in the coming year."