TCW Foundation

The TCW Foundation, celebrating 25 years in 2014, is a foundation inspired by Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine.

May 30, 1989, the Today’s Chicago Woman (TCW) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, was founded by the staff of TCW when they learned that less than 3 percent of all funding was earmarked for organizations that help women and children. The TCW Foundation fulfills a need by helping Chicago-area under-funded organizations with operating budgets of less than $1 million provide essential programs and services. For the TCW Foundation, women and children are not a secondary beneficiary of programming…they are our only purpose.

Since its inception, the TCW Foundation has awarded funding to more than 100 organizations. Funds are given to support special projects and for general operating expenses. Shelters for homeless and battered women, rape crisis centers, AIDS awareness, job training and substance abuse programs are some of the services that have received financial support through our grants. The TCW Foundation is an all-volunteer organization, so donors can be assured that 100 percent of their money is going toward helping local non-profits serving women and children in need.

How You Can Help

• Consider a tax deductible donation
• Inquire about matching employee donation programs at your workplace
• Attend a TCW Foundation fundraising event
• Volunteer to serve on a committee
• Donate in-kind services or goods
• Donate an old cell phone
• Consider leaving a donation to the TCW Foundation in your will


Please consider mailing a donation to…
TCW Foundation
150 E. Huron, #1101
Chicago, IL 60611

Please make checks payable to the TCW Foundation.


If you’d like your organization considered for a grant from TCW Foundation, please contact Sherren Leigh or Executive Director Carrie Williams.

Facts and Figures

Why do women and children deserve extra attention from Chicago’s philanthropic community? Here’s why:

• When Sherren Leigh founded TCWF in 1989, less than 3 percent of funding was earmarked for organizations benefiting women and girls. Today that number is 7.5 percent—and has been for about 15 years.

• Women and children are more likely to live in poverty  than men across all racial and ethnic groups. In 2007, 13.8 percent of females were poor compared to 11.1 percent of men.

• A quarter of all adult women (age 18 and older) with incomes below the poverty line are single mothers.

• Elderly women are far more likely to be poor than elderly men (13 percent of women over 75 years old are poor compared to six percent of men).

• About 39 percent of the nation’s children—nearly 29 million in 2007—live in families with incomes below twice the official poverty level (for 2009, about $44,000 for a family of four).

• Why are women more likely to live in poverty? Women are paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and work the same hours. Women who work full time earn only 77 percent of what men make. In 2007, full time, year-round female workers aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree were paid 14 percent less than men. (Even in high earning jobs, women make 83.7% of what men make, according to Forbes magazine. This is true even when variables like experience, seniority, education, number of years in the workforce, time off and weekly hours are controlled. Just think how this truism applies when trickled down through all levels of the workforce.)

• Women are segregated into low paying occupations, and occupations dominated by women are low paid. Women are tracked into “pink-collar” jobs such as teaching, child care, nursing, cleaning, and waitressing, which typically pay less than jobs in industries that are male-dominated. In 2007, nearly half – 43 percent – of the 29.6 million employed women in the United States were clustered in just 20 occupational categories, of which the average annual median earnings were $27,383.

• Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men. Women are more likely than men to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. 69 percent of unpaid caregivers to older adults in the home are women. Women are more likely to work part time or take time out of the workforce to care for family.

• Women are more likely to bear the costs of raising children. When parents are not living together, women are more likely to take on the economic costs of raising children. 80 percent of custodial parents are women, and custodial mothers are twice as likely to be poor than custodial fathers.

• Pregnancy affects women’s work and educational opportunities more than men’s. The economic costs associated with pregnancy are more significant for women than for men. Unplanned and mistimed pregnancies in particular can result in the termination of education and keep women from getting and sustaining solid employment.

• Women are more likely than men to live below the poverty line after a divorce. Three months after divorce, 45.2 percent of custodial mothers not receiving child support were living below the poverty line, as were 38.0 percent of those receiving child support; non-custodial fathers, in contrast, exhibited poverty rates of 9.5 percent before paying child support and 10.5 percent after making those payments.**

• **Domestic violence against women breeds poverty.** Victims of intimate partner violence collectively lose almost 8 million days of paid work each year because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or for-mer husbands, boyfriends, or dates. Half of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.

• The Center for Disease Control says 23.6 percent of women (and 11.5 percent of men) reported being a victim of what it called “intimate partner violence” at some time in their lives.

• Slightly more than half of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under age 12. It’s estimated that anywhere between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.***

**”Child Support and Postdivorce Economic Well-Being of Mothers, Fathers, and Children” Bartfeld, Judi. Demography Vol. 37, Number 2. May, 2000. Page(s) 203-213.

***Sharmila Lawrence, National Center for Children in Poverty, Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being 5 (2002).

Contact Us

TCW Foundation
150 E Huron, #1001
Chicago, IL 60611
p: 312.951.7600 ext 105