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Celebrating Women Breakfast

In 1987, a small group of visionary women from diverse backgrounds joined forces to found The New York Women’s Foundation. Their goal was to identify and fund community organizations in New York City run by and for women whose programs assisted low-income women and girls in need of critical services and economic independence. The next spring, The Foundation held its first Celebrating Women Breakfast in a crowded church hall where $50,000 was awarded to our first 4 grantee partners.

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Today, the New York Women’s Foundation’s annual Breakfast is the premiere fundraising event for women of consciousness with 2,400 attendees standing with women and girls in New York City.

However, as anyone who has ever been at a Breakfast will tell you it is not about the numbers. The Breakfast is about honoring the strength and courageof our grantee partners, who find groundbreaking solutions to seemingly intractable problems. The Breakfast is about honoring the visionary women who serve as role models, leaders and philanthropists. And last, but certainly not least, the Breakfast is about honoring our Board, Alumnae and volunteerswhose courage and fierce determination sustain and inspire us to keep moving forward.


The Awards

Celebrating Women Award: Given to a woman whose significant achievements have influenced the lives of – and provided a role model for – women and girls.

Vision Award: Given to a strategic philanthropist whose contributions are directed towards women and girls.

Century Award: Honors a woman leader whose social activism, strategic philanthropy and work on behalf of low-income women spans many decades


The Walking Staff Award

“I am proud to have this fabulous walking stick – (laughter) – which I will try to put to good use – either leaning on it or wielding it for whatever is the better purpose.” Hillary Rodham Clinton on receiving her CWB Walking Stick Award.

The idea for the walking staff came from Youth Empowerment Mission, Inc. (YEM)*, one of our grantee partners, who suggested we give the women we honor this classic symbol of wisdom, strength and forward motion. Since 2007, young women in YEM’s Blossom Program for Girls have used their talent and ingenuity to decorate each staff with words, symbols and pictures that signify the contribution made by the woman being honored. The staffs, made from locally harvested wood, symbolize the trailblazing role of the women whom we honor, as well as the energy, creativity and enterprise of our grantee partners.

*Founded in 1995, YEM is a community-based organization serving the critical needs of young people living in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the surrounding communities of Central Brooklyn.

2021 Award Recipients

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    Celebrating Women Award

    Jordan Casteel
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    Celebrating Women Award

    New York Anchor Women: Pillars of Courage
    Journalists Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Jeanine Ramirez, Kristen Shaughnessy & Roma Torre
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    Celebrating Women Award

    Mónica Ramírez, Co-Founder
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    Vision Award

    Sheri Sandler
    Activist & Philanthropist

2019 Award Recipients

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    Century Award

    Abigail E. Disney
    Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Activist
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    Celebrating Women Award

    dream hampton
    Filmmaker, Writer, and Organizer
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    Vision Award

    Cyndi Lauper
    Co-Founder of True Colors United and Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning Artist
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    Vision Award

    Rhonda Joy McLean
    Attorney, Author, and Philanthropist. Former Board Co-Chair, The New York Women’s Foundation
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    Celebrating Women Award

    Sarinya Srisakul
    First Asian-American Woman Firefighter of the FDNY and President of the United Women Firefighters Association of NYC
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    Celebrating Women Award

    Dr. Marta Moreno Vega
    President of the Creative Justice Initiative and Founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

2018 Award Recipients

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    Celebrating Women Award

    Tarana Burke
    Founder and Leader of #MeToo Movement, Senior Director, Girls for Gender Equity
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    Celebrating Women Award

    Kimberlé Crenshaw
    Co-Founder and Executive Director, African American Policy Forum Professor of Law
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    Vision Award

    The New York Community Trust and their President Lorie A. Slutsky
    Lorie A. Slutsky, President, The New York Community Trust

Previous Award Recipients

The Century Award
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Soffiyah Elijah
  • Leymah Gbowee
  • Dolores C. Huerta
  • Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai
  • Gloria W. Milliken
  • Jessamyn W. Rodriguez
The Vision Award
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Tina Brown
  • Jennifer Buffett
  • Anne E. Delaney
  • Abigail E. Disney
  • Barbara Dobkin
  • Stephanie Schwartz Ferdman
  • Barbara Denning Finberg
  • Eileen Fisher
  • Agnes Gund
  • Polly W. Guth
  • Helen LaKelly Hunt
  • Swanee Hunt
  • Sheila C. Johnson
  • Billie Jean King
  • The New York Community Trust and President Lorie A. Slutsky
  • Edith Blakeslee Phelps
  • Barbara Scott Prieskel
  • Sara Lee Schupf
  • The Women of Meeting Point International, Uganda
  • The Young Women’s Initiative (YWI)
  • Joan Melber Warburg
  • Joan H. Wei
The Celebrating Women Award
  • Jan Abernathy
  • Madeleine K. Albright
  • Christiane Amanpour
  • Ana Maria Archila
  • Brenda Berkman
  • Christine Beshar
  • Amalia Betanzos
  • Diana Brooks
  • Gretchen Buchenholz
  • Tory Burch
  • Tarana Burke
  • Alice Cardona
  • Kimberlé Crenshaw
  • Irene Diamond
  • Marley Dias
  • Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Eve Ensler
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • Dr. Dorothy Height
  • Maria Hinojosa
  • Judith Jamison
  • Cristina Jiménez
  • Judith Kehoe
  • Angelique Kidjo
  • Geraldine Laybourne
  • Lilly Ledbetter
  • Donna Lieberman
  • Rachel Lloyd
  • Vivian Denise Nixon
  • Dr. Muriel Petioni
  • Karen A. Phillips
  • Ai-jen Poo
  • Queen Latifah
  • Lisa Quiroz
  • Merble Reagon
  • Cecile Richards
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Ann R. Roberts
  • Kathy Rodgers
  • Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias
  • Celina Romany
  • Rosita M. Romero
  • Margarita Rosa
  • Elizabeth A. Sackler
  • Linda Sarsour
  • Hildy Simmons
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Isabel Carter Stewart
  • Marie C. Wilson