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Mission Driven: Letter from Lauren

Letter From Lauren: Maintaining Our Tenacity Requires Your Support

// April 28, 2022

Dear Beloved Community,

Recently, I accompanied my dear friend and honorary trustee, Katherine Archuleta, to her induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. I marveled at the diverse and enduring contributions of the 10 women who made up the 2020 class of inductees. Their ceremony might have been postponed for more than two years due to COVID-19, but their persistence never faltered. From civil rights activism and journalism for communities of color to environmental conservation and breastfeeding advocacy, they moved women forward in myriad ways using all their available resources.

What were those resources? Time, Talent, Treasure, Testimony, and Ties – otherwise known as the “five Ts of philanthropy.” It’s a philosophy that conveys philanthropy doesn’t have to look one way. The time spent volunteering, supporting extended family, and leveraging personal networks are as important as the money one gives to a cause. Listening to each of the women speak their truths from the stage, another “T” crystallized for me. Tenacity was equally present in each of their stories.

Could tenacity be the sixth “T” of philanthropy?

Without Tenacity, which requires a collective effort, movements derail and momentum stalls. Look at voting rights and abortion care. The Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, yet voter suppression in all its cloaked forms looms large over the 2022 mid-term elections. Roe v. Wade, which has given federal protection to abortion since 1973, is at great risk of being dismantled by the Supreme Court this summer.

Why should you give to The Women’s Foundation of Colorado?

From philanthropy to policy to patterns in venture capital, investments in women and girls remain astonishingly inadequate. As the only statewide community foundation in the state focused on gender, racial, and economic equity, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and our generous donors have an imperative to increase this giving threshold. Within the pages of this newsletter, you will read how your money creates meaningful change in systems, our communities, and individual lives. Look for these stories:

  • Bills that The Women’s Foundation, our public policy grantees, and several partner organizations support in the 2022 legislative session will modernize Colorado statute to protect abortion rights from federal threat, make work work for women and families, and increase women’s access to basic needs. WFCO will again share our Womanifesto voter guide this fall to support voters in the 2022 election.
  • Women & Girls of Color Fund grantee, Kaizen Food Rescue, is making access to fresh and nutritionally dense food a reality for neighborhoods throughout Metro Denver.
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work Act to Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance: We are ensuring that legislation we helped to pass is implemented equitably.
  • By December 2023, 100% of our investable assets will meet The Foundation’s gender-lens investment strategies, including an explicit diverse investment manager commitment.
  • Allyson Felix, the most decorated track & field U.S. Olympian, will bring inspiration and celebration to our 2022 Annual Luncheon. She’s faster, stronger, greater and a case study in using her resources to bring all women across the finish line with her.

Your steady funding streams and unrestricted donations drive our work

Your steady funding streams and unrestricted donations drive our work on behalf of all 2.85 million women and girls who live here. We are grateful for every dollar. Read how you can join a community of giving to sustain the work of The Foundation and our impact for the long haul. Our masks may have come off, but the economic aftershocks of the pandemic are still reverberating for low-income workers who are disproportionately women. Your Time, Talent, Treasure, Testimony, Ties – and Tenacity – are essential
to WFCO and the women and girls in Colorado. A great place to start your journey with The Women’s Foundation is to join us at our Annual Luncheon on October 14.

It’s true, the work to disrupt systems can take years or even decades. Percentage points and policies don’t ever seem to change quickly enough. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities know this all too well. But by employing the “six Ts of philanthropy” together, we will arrive at a future where women and girls of every background and identity thrive.

I recall the words of one of the 2020 Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductees, Lupe Briseño. She was a labor leader who led the Kitayama Carnation Strike in the 1960s to bring better wages and treatment to the Mexican women who worked there. The strike didn’t result in all of the outcomes she wanted, but she certainly illuminated a path for women in Colorado who want to support the advancement of other women.

Standing at the podium of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, she confirmed her Tenacity was all worth it.

“I did what I had to do then. If I had to do it all again, I would, ” Lupe Briseño said.

In gratitude,

Lauren Y. Casteel, President & CEO

Please note: WFCO staff misidentified Faye Tate, 2022-23 chair of the board of trustees, as The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s first Black board chair. That distinction belongs to Marilyn Taylor, who was president of the board in 1993. We apologize for our error.

Read the Rest of our Mission Driven Spring 2022 Newsletter

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