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Empowerment Council members

WFCO’s Emerging Philanthropists

// August 28, 2018

Empowerment Council A Space at WFCO for Emerging Philanthropists and Young Professional Women

Building community is something that takes time. It’s about showing up, digging in, and helping out. When Kelley Duke, now a WFCO trustee, learned about The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) in 2007, she saw the opportunity to expand The Foundation’s community of giving to include emerging philanthropists and young professionals. She called it the Empowerment Council (EC).

Career mentorship, networking opportunities, philanthropy

Over the last 10 years, Kelly’s idea has grown EC into a thriving group of 70 who seek career mentorship, networking opportunities, and a space to support each other while making a difference in the lives of Colorado women.

“The Empowerment Council has a little bit of everything. As a member, you’re supporting a really great organization, and our programming is about women supporting women,” said Carly Wendt, a financial advisor and current member of the Empowerment Council as well as PEP and WFCO’s investment committee.

Empowerment Council members contribute $500 per year – paid on a monthly, quarterly, or annual schedule – to support The Women’s Foundation’s work for Colorado women and their families. Members create and host events each month, sharing their expertise with one another and tapping into WFCO’s networks, research, and resources.

Member-created events held monthly

Last year, a national expert on leadership led Empowerment Council members through a discussion about how to express their unique value proposition. At another event, EC member and then-Denver Director of Elections Amber McReynolds led a tour of the Denver Elections Division where members received a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s award-winning ballot tracking technology.

This summer, Carly organized a Women and Wealth event for the Empowerment Council. Attended by approximately 40 guests, the event featured a panel of experts discussing how women, who often aren’t taught how to plan for their financial futures, can prepare for retirement, and meet their financial goals.

“Many members work in male-dominated fields and even women’s networking events can feel like simply exchanging business cards,” said Camisha Lashbrook, WFCO’s donor relations and communications manager. “The Empowerment Council is a space just for women who are seeking experiences and perspectives they don’t necessarily get at work or in their current social networks.”

The Empowerment Council is a space just for women who are seeking experiences and perspectives they don’t necessarily get at work or in their current social networks.

“I began supporting WFCO because the idea of catalyzing and accelerating change was really exciting to me,” said EC member Kelly Hall. “I wanted the experience of connecting with other women who feel the same way I do about moving the needle for other women.”

The Empowerment Council continues to create exciting events as unique as the women who conceive of them. This fall, they will host an intimate gathering with WFCO President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel. Join EC today to attend this and other special events.

For more information about the Empowerment Council, visit or contact Camisha Lashbrook at

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