Introducing the 2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award Honoree: Social Justice Champion Emily Tow

Apr 14, 2023

Emily Tow is a tireless champion for social justice.

During a nearly 30-year tenure as President of The Tow Foundation, Tow has led the New Canaan-based organization to become a true regional leader in supporting equity-centered programming in higher education, journalism, community wellness, and other areas.

Later this month, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation will honor Tow’s extraordinary work when it presents her with its 2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award — which recognizes philanthropic visionaries who work to promote women’s economic progress and equity.

Tow will receive the award on April 27 during a special presentation at FCCF’s annual luncheon to support its Fund for Women and Girls.

“I’m incredibly honored that the Fund for Women and Girls selected me as their 2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award honoree,” Tow says. “This award uplifts a cause I wholeheartedly believe in – and aligns with The Tow Foundation’s mission to promote wellness and access to opportunities so that individuals and communities can thrive. I’m grateful for the chance to help empower women and families through our equity-driven work.”

Emily tow,
President of The Tow Foundation
2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award HONOREE

The Anne S. Leonhardt Award honors the life and legacy of Anne Leonhardt, a local philanthropist who helped pave the way toward a better future for women and girls in Fairfield County.

Leonhardt was a steadfast believer in the empowerment of women and children, a belief that guided her life’s work and philanthropy. In 1998, Anne’s seed funding helped launch the Fund for Women and Girls at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, a community impact fund that invests in sustainable solutions to support the safety, health and economic security of women and girls across Fairfield County.

“Anne’s benevolence helped create a brighter and more just future for thousands of women and families across our region,” says Mary Grace Pagaduan, Director for the Fund for Women and Girls. “We’re proud and humbled to honor Anne’s legacy — and recognize visionary leaders like Emily Tow — with this annual award.”

Since its founding, the Fund has partnered with national collations, including Women’s Funding Network and Prosperity Together, to progress issues like closing the gender pay gap and creating greater economic security for women and girls.

Tow’s commitment to equity extends far past her role at The Tow Foundation.

She is also a trustee of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization focused on criminal justice, and serves on the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. Additionally, she formerly served as board chair of Philanthropy New York and as a trustee of Barnard College, where she earned a B.A. in history.

“Emily has been an extraordinary champion for justice and equity,” said Pagaduan. “She envisions a world where all people have a voice in their community and the opportunity to lead their best possible lives — and truly embodies what the Anne S. Leonhardt Award is all about.”

The annual luncheon for the Fund for Women and Girls will be held at the Greenwich Hyatt in Old Greenwich from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 27. The event will also feature keynote speaker Misty Copeland, the first Black principal ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

Join us in person at the Greenwich Hyatt or virtually via our live stream for our Fund for Women & Girls 2023 Luncheon! Get inspired by keynote speaker Misty Copeland, learn about our newest signature initiative, and support women and girls across Fairfield County in achieving their best lives. Learn more and get tickets.