Award-Winning Author Margaret Atwood to Keynote “Unite & Rise” Virtual Celebration to Benefit Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls

Feb 01, 2021

Annual Fundraiser to Highlight New Signature Initiative — the emme coalition — Connecting Women and Girls in Bridgeport with Lifelong Tools for Wellbeing

(Norwalk, CT) – Award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, Margaret Atwood, will be the keynote speaker for the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s (FCCF) annual celebration for its Fund for Women & Girls in April. “Unite & Rise: A Virtual Celebration for the Fund for Women & Girls,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. on April 16th. Individual tickets and sponsorship packages are available for purchase here.

The annual fundraiser will also mark the official introduction of the emme coalition, the Fund for Women & Girls’ new signature initiative in partnership with OPTIMUS Health Care. A research-driven program for girls and women aged 12 to 49 in Bridgeport, the emme coalition will coordinate physical wellness, behavioral health and social services to give women and girls lifelong tools for wellbeing that can be passed along to future generations.

The emme coalition — “emme” stands for empowerment, mindfulness, motivation and education — will provide one-stop virtual and in-person services to girls and women in Bridgeport. emme will take a holistic approach to address barriers that prevent women and girls from receiving quality healthcare and reaching their full potential. By offering program participants a broad range of options and possibilities, it will help them make informed choices as partners in their own care.


“We are thrilled that we will be able to hear from Margaret Atwood, who is known for her distinct and outspoken perspective on feminism and her views on power,” Juanita James, President & CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, said. “Her rich experience and view of the world for women is especially welcome as we launch the emme coalition, a program that will give young women access to lifelong tools for wellbeing.”

“We are pleased to be part of this important initiative for women & girls. Being community based, OPTIMUS has the resources to be supportive and guide career and personal choices. Women are the rocks of any family and their wellbeing pays dividends for all their members.” Ludwig Spinelli, CEO, OPTIMUS Health Care, Inc.

Atwood had been slated to speak at the Fund for Women & Girls annual luncheon in April 2020, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. She has written more than 50 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her most recent, The Testaments, won the 2019 Booker Prize. The Handmaid’s Tale has been the basis of a critically acclaimed television series. Her other works include the Booker Prize-shortlisted Oryx and Crake, Alias Grace, The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye and Booker winner, The Blind Assassin.

The Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls is in its 23rd year and is the largest women’s fund in New England. The Fund’s work has improved the lives of thousands of women and girls in the region with more than $8 million in grants. This year’s virtual evening event comes in place of the Fund’s annual luncheon, which attracts more than 800 enthusiastic supporters each year and has featured speakers such as Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King and Tracee Ellis Ross.

As a partner in the emme coalition, OPTIMUS Health Care will provide holistic services to help young women set life goals and make plans to achieve them through healthy lifestyle choices, self-advocacy, optimizing employment and making sound financial decisions. The emme coalition will serve 100 women and girls through intensive case management, and another 1,000 with less intensive services.