Blog & News 

Annual Luncheon Special Guest

// April 10, 2018

Billie Jean King, Sports Icon and Equal Pay Activist, to Serve Up Inspiration

WFCO announced on Equal Pay Day that Billie Jean King will be our Annual Luncheon special guest in 2018. King is a sports icon, humanitarian, and crusader for social justice and equality.

Our Annual Luncheon is the state’s largest fundraiser for the economic advancement of Colorado women and their families. The October 10th event is expected to draw a sell-out crowd of nearly 3,000 guests.

Billie Jean King’s victories on and off the court

King is a gamechanger on and off the court. She won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. In 1973, she famously defeated Bobby Riggs in a historic match that became known as the Battle of the Sexes. In 2017, a film about the match starred Academy Award® winner Emma Stone as King.

King’s other major victories include:

  • Securing equal prize money at the U.S. Open in 1973, the first of the four major tournaments to achieve pay equity. All four Grand Slam tennis tournaments now offer equal prize money.
  • Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her social justice work and accomplishments in sports.
  • Founding the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974. It has awarded more than $50 million in educational and cash grants to advance participation, research, and leadership in sports and physical activity for girls and women.
  • Founding the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. BJKLI addresses the critical issues required to achieve inclusive leadership in companies and organizations across the globe.

The status of equal pay in Colorado

In late March, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released a new report on the economic status of women in Colorado, sponsored by WFCO. It showed progress in closing the gender pay gap, but only for some Colorado women.

“The gender pay gap remains a persistent barrier to Colorado women and families reaching economic security, especially women of color.” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. “It’s exciting that the iconic Billie Jean King will share her insights and ideas with us as we work to achieve equal pay and economic security for all women regardless of their background, identity, or industry.”

Annual Luncheon raises critical funds for WAGES

WFCO’s Annual Luncheon, which began in 1990, raises critical funds for WAGES (Women Achieving Greater Economic Security), The Foundation’s programmatic body of work. WAGES employs research, public policy advocacy, and grantmaking to help Colorado women earn livable wages.

Past Annual Luncheon special guests and keynote speakers include Octavia Spencer, Misty Copeland, Lisa Ling, America Ferrera, and Jane Fonda, to name a few.

Individual tickets are priced at $150 and can be purchased starting Wednesday, May 9. Sponsorships begin at $2,500 and can be purchased now.

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