Fairfield County Donors Raise Critical Funds to Support Local Women and Girls

May 03, 2023

Misty Copeland Joined Fairfield County’s Community Foundation in Support of the Largest Fund for Women and Girls in New England

NORWALK, CT. (April 28, 2023) – Fairfield County’s Community Foundation celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Fund for Women & Girls yesterday, as donors came together to raise more than $400,000 in support of women and girls across the region.

The event was highlighted by powerful remarks from history-making ballet dancer and philanthropist Misty Copeland on how women can help propel each other forward to break down systemic barriers, which played on the event’s theme of Change in Motion.

“The Fund for Women & Girls has been a cornerstone of the work of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for the past 25 years and has always embodied our mission of creating a Fairfield County where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive,” said Mendi Blue Paca, CEO and president of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “Women-led entities like the Fund for Women & Girls and the Misty Copeland Foundation are working to make the road a little easier to travel, so all girls are afforded the opportunity to realize their greatest potential.”

In recognition of Copeland being an alumna and an ambassador of her local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club, the Wakeman Cheer team gave a special performance in celebration of the luncheon’s silver anniversary.

“The beautiful dance performance by the Wakeman Cheer team, from the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, is not only an homage to Misty’s incredible craft, but moreso, an opportunity to highlight Misty’s own Change in Motion,” said Mary Grace Pagaduan, director of the Fund for Women & Girls. “Misty is now starting a new chapter in her career as she focuses on bringing the next generation into the arts through the Misty Copeland Foundation, just as the Boys and Girls Club did for her so many years ago.”

The luncheon also included the presentation of the 2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award to Emily Tow, president of The Tow Foundation.

“As a long-time supporter of the Fund for Women & Girls, I am truly honored to receive the 2023 Anne S. Leonhardt Award,” said Tow. “Anne’s generosity and lifelong support for advancing women’s equity launched the Fund for Women & Girls, and she would be so proud to see the impact it’s having today. I celebrate Anne’s spirit and all of the incredible work that The Fund has achieved over the past 25 years.”

The Fund for Women & Girls is the largest women’s fund in New England and has improved the lives of tens of thousands of women and girls in the region with more than $9 million in grants.

The popular luncheon annually attracts more than 700 supporters and has featured prominent speakers such as Dr. Anita Hill, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King and Tracee Ellis Ross. Serving as the flagship fundraiser for supporting the Fund’s work, the luncheon also spotlighted its newest signature initiative, the emme coalition — an innovative program that works at the intersection of physical wellness, behavioral health and case management to connect women and girls with lifelong tools for wellbeing that can be passed along to future generations.

“As I reflect on the past 25 years of the Fund for Women & Girls, I’m reminded of just how far we’ve come — and how far we still must go to realize this vision of gender and racial equity in Fairfield County,” said Blue Paca. “I’m humbled by those whose sacrifices and contributions set the stage so that one day future generations would be able to put real, equitable Change into Motion.”

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is partnering with our community to create a county where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive. We work closely with community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and philanthropists to address challenges and identify opportunities to create a stronger, more vibrant community. Informed by three decades of partnering with and serving our community, we have awarded more than $390 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media questions may be directed to:
Lauren Stewart | lauren@turn-two.co | (804) 690-9966