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(EM)POWER HOUR: Renee Ferrufino, The Women's Foundation of Colorado Vice President of Development


As part of the Denver Broncos' Empowerment Summit Digital Learning Series — a key pillar in the club's Inspire Change program — the team announced a series of $5,000 donations to female-serving foundations and social enterprises in the Denver Metro Area in honor of International Women's Day (March 8). The selected organizations are dedicated to serving girls and women in the community while emphasizing entrepreneurship, social enterprise, cultural and historical education, and the advancement of economic security for women of color.

The Women's Foundation of Colorado's Women & Girls of Color Fund was one of the selected beneficiaries, and Vice President of Development Renee Ferrufino shared more about the work she and her organization are doing to serve girls and women in our community.

Could you please provide a brief overview of what your organization does to serve women in our community?

Founded in 1987, The Women's Foundation of Colorado is the only community foundation in the state focused on women's economic security. We use the power of our community and philanthropy to drive meaningful change for women and their families. Donors who support us are supporting our research on opportunities and barriers for Colorado women, public policy advocacy and grant-making to organizations throughout the state offering women job training, education, child care and other essentials on their paths.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

International Women's Day is an important holiday that recognizes the immeasurable contributions women make to society, while also recognizing that women across the globe still face so many barriers to equal opportunity. This year is no exception — the global pandemic disproportionately impacted women and their ability to provide for their families. Yet, women made up the majority of essential workers and caretakers. By using this moment in time to create awareness on behalf of women, we are inspiring others to take action.

What happens when we lift up women in our community and why is it so important to dedicate resources to women?

Lifting up women creates an undeniable ripple effect that impacts their children, families, communities and the economy. In fact, in Colorado, more than 46 percent of women are the sole or co-breadwinners in their families. Ensuring that they have access to equal pay, affordable high-quality child care, job training and education, and other essential resources is a win-win situation for everyone. A clear example that WFCO and the Institute for Women's Policy Research found in 2014 is that if women had access to equal pay, more than $9.2 billion would have been added to Colorado's economy. Even with this evidence, programs benefitting women and girls make up only 1.6 percent of all philanthropic giving. And programs benefitting women and girls of color make up only 0.5 percent of all Foundation giving in the U.S.

What would your advice be to the young women participating in the Empowerment Summit Digital Learning Series?

As our president and CEO, Lauren Y. Casteel, recently shared in a speech:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

People may think this is a cliché, but in fact, it's the truth. This quote by Margaret Mead is incredibly popular because it so accurately captures the power that we as women have to create the change we want to see in our world. At The Women's Foundation, we believe in creating change by voting, contacting our legislators, giving to the causes we care about, having civil conversations and more. On International Women's Day, never forget the value of your voice!

To learn more about The Women's Foundation of Colorado, please

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