Women’s Fund


Join us! The Women’s Fund endowment supports projects that strengthen families and communities by empowering women and girls.

As women grow in influence and financial strength, so does their ability to give back. You can change the lives of women and children in central Illinois by contributing to the Women’s Fund endowment.

Why? Because when women prosper, communities thrive; and when communities thrive, the world becomes a better place for everyone.

A Million Dollar Goal

The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois was founded in 1993 from an idea shared by Pat Barton, a CFCI Board Member at the time.  Pat worked with Donna Haerr, then executive director, Deb Ritschel and Jay Goldberg to create the fund as a way to inspire female philanthropy.  “Power does come from money, and women do control much of the money in this country,” Haerr told the Journal Star when the establishment of the Women’s Fund was announced.

Our goal for the Women’s Fund is to find 1,000 women who will donate $1,000 in order to create a million-dollar endowment. Our fund is half way there! For the first time in the history of the Women’s Fund, our endowment is over $500,000, and we are committed to reaching our million-dollar goal in the next ten years with your help!

This level of giving to the Women’s Fund creates a legacy that will live on beyond all of us. With a million-dollar endowment, the Women’s Fund would be able to provide $40,000 a year to deserving programs.

Today, we are inviting you to a new level of giving – to elevate women and girls to the top of your philanthropic list and to invest in them with even greater commitment.


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"As the Women's Fund Advisory Board wraps up our 25th year, we celebrate reaching a milestone of having over $500,000 in our endowment fund.  In the coming year we will bring a greater awareness ot the support we provide to programs that empower women and girls.  We no longer want to be the best kept secret in central Illinois."

Lea Ann Miller, Advisory Board Chair
The Women's Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois

Lea Ann Miller

Women’s fund Advisory board

Lea Anne Miller – Chair
Kristal Roop – Vice Chair / Marketing Committee Chair
Lori Nevells – Success Grants Committee Chair
Leslie Babcock – Treasurer & Secretary
Kristen Berchtold – Leader Luncheon Committee Chair
Betsy Bladel
Erynn Dykstra
Michelle Nielsen Ott
Myra Peitzmeier
Michelle Sanders
Kathy Schaeffer
Eileen Ruby-Setti – Development Committee Chair

Women to Women Leader Luncheon

Last year, more than 430 women gathered in celebration of the Women to Women Leader Luncheon hosted by the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois.  The Luncheon was started by the YWCA of Peoria over 40 years ago to recognize local women who best exemplify excellence in their chosen profession and commitment to the success of other women.  The Women’s Fund assumed ownership of the Leader Luncheon in 2013 and has remained committed to its growth, success and excellence over the years.

2019 Women to Women Leader Luncheon Award Nomination Form

1978-2018 Leader Luncheon Past Award Winners

The 2019 Women to Women Leader Luncheon will take place on May 14th at the Par-A-Dice Hotel.  Funds raised from the event benefit the Women’s Fund Endowment and annual Success Grants initiative.  For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sarah Fletcher at sarah@communityfoundationci.org or call (309) 674-8730.