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Arianna Huffington on investing in women who are changing Chicago — and the world


Arianna Huffington

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One of the core truths of our brave new world of new media is that we have moved from presentation to participation. At The Huffington Post, that means opening our platform to individuals and groups actively working on having a social impact. And that’s the guiding principle behind our global fundraising competition, The RaiseForWomen Challenge, which has raised more than $500,000 from our community to help women-focused nonprofits gain recognition and resources.

The inspiration for The RaiseForWomen Challenge was the JobRaising Challenge, which we launched last summer and which raised more than $1.5 million for nonprofits to create jobs. RaiseForWomen was created by a diverse group of partners with a shared goal. There’s The Skoll Foundation, which has offered $75,000 in prize money for the winning organizations; Jackie and Mike Bezos, who have offered an additional personal gift of $25,000; Crowdrise, the crowdfunding platform co-founded by Edward Norton; and Sheryl WuDunn and Nick Kristof’s Half the Sky Movement, which has identified oppression of women and girls as the defining struggle of the 21st century.

As a group, we’ve carefully selected more than 120 women-focused nonprofits from more than 20 states — including four groups from the Chicago area. The organization that raises the most money by June 6 will receive a portion of the prize money: $40,000 for first place, $20,000 for second and $15,000 for third, with the remainder given out in weekly increments as part of RaiseForWomen’s “bonus challenges.”

The Chicago nonprofits offer a wide range of services to benefit women. Zonta International, headquartered in Chicago since 1928, advocates for women all over the world by increasing access to education, health care and financial resources, and by promoting local laws that protect women from discrimination and violence. GirlForward provides girls from war-torn countries with opportunities in education, mentorship and leadership. YWCA Chicago serves 150,000 women and their families annually through an array of services from child care to STEM-related education. And Heshima Kenya, with its slogan “Rebuilding Communities One Girl At a Time,” provides a lifeline of long-term support to refugee children in Nairobi.

So far, of the more than half a million dollars raised, more than 80 percent has come from donations under $100. And we’ve seen great engagement on social media, with more than 6,000 tweets supporting the Challenge since it began. So please join us in investing in women who change the world by logging on to, spreading the word through social media and sharing the stories of the women and groups changing lives every day.

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