To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Chicago Foundation for Women recently distributed $20,000 checks to 20 organizations serving women and girls throughout metropolitan Chicago.

Among the recipients who serve the West Side is Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM).

CLAIM, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2005, addresses the gap in legal aid and advocates for women prisoners and their families. CLAIM provides a number of services to the West Side, including its “Girl Talk Program” which provides programming for young girls in the Juvenile Detention Temporary Center at 1100 S. Hamilton.

Other grant recipients on include: Lesbian Community Cancer Project, Mujeres Latinas en Accin, Planned Parenthood/ Chicago Area, Rainbow House, Rape Victim

Advocates, South Suburban Family Shelter, Women Employed Institute, Women’s Business Development Center, and YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

These grants are in celebration of organization’s that best illustrated Chicago Foundation for Women’s grant-making priorities during its first 20 years, said Hannah Rosenthal, the foundation’s executive director.

“Like us, many of these organizations have come and gone over the last 20 years, so it was important for us to take time out to celebrate the work of those who have weathered the storm and continue to make a positive impact. This is our way of saying thank you,”

she said.

Members of the foundation’s board and staff made their rounds in what they called a “special delivery” van to deliver checks to selected organizations in December.

“I felt like Ed McMahon and the prize patrol,” said Rosenthal. “These are organizations that have proven their dedication and commitment to women’s issues and deserve the funds to continue to prosper.”

The foundation intentionally distributed the dollars before the end of December, just in time for the close of the fiscal year for several of the awarded organizations. The Chicago Foundation for Women is one of the largest women’s funds in the world.

Each organization the foundation supports is thoroughly researched to be one that the Foundation deems as “stable, accessible for those with disabilities and having a track record of success in dealing with women’s issues in a practically and efficiently.”

“When you get our seal of approval people know you have a splendid record,” said Rosenthal.

The foundation generates its funding through fundraisers and donations from organizations such as Sara Lee, Boeing and Blue-Cross Blue Shield. The organization receives dozens of proposals annually from various non-profit women’s organizations. About 20 percent receive grants from the foundation.

A total of $400,000 worth of grants were given out in December. The group generally donates around $1 million annually to women’s groups.

“There are so many organizations that started before and after us that did not survive,” said Rosenthal. “So we consider ourselves very fortunate.”

For more information on the Chicago Foundation for Women, call 312/836-0126 or visit For more information about CLAIM, located at 220 South State Street, visit or call 312-675-0911.