New York Women’s Foundation Breakfast

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This past week I went to the New York Women’s Foundation breakfast.  Jessamyn W. Rodriguez, who is the entrepreneurial visionary behind Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that I chair, was honored.

This foundation gave out over $5.5 million to New York City women-led organizations in 2014.  Very impressive.  Two women came out and spoke to the crowd about their trials and tribulations.  Both of these women’s stories are so incredible that it left the audience agape.  One of them was booted out of her house at 17 because she came out as a lesbian.  She found a place for teens that was supportive and quite frankly saved her life.  In the next few days she will have a masters degree in her hand.  Another woman came from an abusive family and then an abusive husband.  She picked up her four kids, moved to NYC, lived in a shelter and ended up getting a job helping other abused women.  Then decided to start her own construction company.  Eight employees later and her son as part of her team she has made a totally new life for herself and her family.  The stories are more layered than what I am writing but impressive does not even describe how these women were able to move on in their lives.

Gloria Steinem was the honoree.  She is just awesome.  At 80 years old she still has the swagger of a 30 year old.  Some of her quotes were so good.  “Women are becoming the men that they wanted to marry” and my favorite was “Women have proven that they can do what men can do but men have not proven that they can do what women can do”.  

Judy Collins closed the breakfast with a song and she engaged the entire audience of 2200 women to participate.  There were a few men there but I’d say 95% women.  The impact that this foundation has made over the past 27 years helped almost 6 million women achieve greater economic security for themselves and their families.  Speechless.

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