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 Giving Back Exchange

The Giving Back Exchange provides CFE members with opportunities to volunteer their time and financial expertise, with a primary focus to help women and girls in our local communities. CFE partners with various community-based organizations to promote financial acumen, leadership, and career-building skills, as well as to assist hardworking families gain access to financial resources.

In addition to helping others, our goals are to build closer relationships among our CFE members and to enhance CFE's reputation in the community.  Want to recommend a partner organization to the Giving Back Exchange?  Submit a Philanthropy Partner Recommendation Form .

Giving Back Exchange Leaders:
Judy Andringa
Aimee Urnikis

Interested in learning more about the Giving Back Exchange? Contact admin@chicagofinanceexchange.org

Philanthropic Partner Panel

The Giving Back Exchange hosted a virtual lunch-n-learn to spotlight CFE's philanthropic partnerships. Representatives from Bright Endeavors/New Moms, Ladder Up, Women's Leadership and Mentoring Alliance (WLMA), and Rock the Street Wall Street (RTSWS) provided an overview of their respective organization and opportunities to support their mission.

Click the image below to view the video.

Philanthropic Partner Contacts and Websites:

New Moms website: https://newmoms.org/

Bright Endeavors: https://brightendeavors.org/

Ladder Up website: https://www.goladderup.org/

Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program (TAP): https://www.goladderup.org/our-services/tax-assistance/

WLMA website: https://www.wlmaconnect.org/  Contact: mentorship@andieandal.com

RTSWS Website: www.rockthestreetwallstreet.com

RTSWS Scholarships/Internships/Jobs: https://rockthestreetwallstreet.com/scholarships-internships-jobs/   Contact: Ashley Leftwich - Ashley.l@rockthestreetwallstreet.com

What We've Been Up to! Support and Volunteer Outreach:


CFE Members Sipped and Shopped for a Good Cause

Thank you to everyone to came out to Maria Pinto's M2057 Studio on April 6. Attendees enjoyed an evening of shopping and socializing. 10% of proceeds from the sales were donated to Ladder Up, one of CFE's Giving Back Exchange philanthropic partners. Ladder Up representatives were in attendance to talk about the important work the organization and their volunteers are doing to support the greater Chicago community.

2023 marked CFE’s eleventh year partnering with Ladder Up in support of their free Tax Assistance Program (TAP). It was another successful volunteer season with impressive results setting a record for returns and money refunded to the community Thank you to our CFE members, family and friends who volunteered.


CFE members participated in a mentoring program through Women’s Leadership & Mentoring Alliance. The WLMA is an invitational mentoring alliance of professional women learning, exchanging and advancing at every stage of their lives and careers. WLMA provides a forum outside the workplace where women can meet other professionals in various industries and at diverse stages of their careers. (Currently virtual.)

For more details:

  • Reach out to CFE member Barbara Best who has participates in multiple cohorts (bbest@capstratig.com)
  • Reach out to program founder Andie Kramer (mentorship@andieandal.com) with questions or to discuss the program and your interest further.

How the program works?

  • Each mentor is assigned to a mentee who work together to identify some specific goals for the formal six-month duration of the program.
  • WLMA offers guidance and some best practice suggestions to help mentors, as well as mentees have an enriching experience.

Time Commitment:

  • 6-month commitment for a minimum of 6 in person (typically preferred) or virtual meetings (especially during pandemic). Up to each pairing to continue are “relationship” beyond the six months.
  • Meeting times are flexible and determined by the mentor and mentee.
  • WLMA offers periodic group gatherings which are optional.
Contact: mentorship@andieandal.com

2021 marked CFE’s ninth year partnering with Ladder Up in support of their free Tax Assistance Program (TAP). Information on the 2022 tax year coming soon!

No tax or finance background is required to get involved!  All necessary training (Basic and Advanced) is provided and can be completed on-line at your own pace, including the certification exam. In-person and remote volunteer opportunities are available:

  • Drop-Off Specialist: Meet in-person with clients to review their tax forms, ask questions to ensure all relevant information is documented, and scan documents so returns can be prepared remotely. Basic Tax Certification required.  
  • Exit Interviewer: Meet with clients virtually or in-person at a site to review completed tax returns with clients to ensure accuracy and understanding. Advanced Tax Certification required.

The initial drop-off site will be at the Ladder Up office in River North, with additional sites pending. Volunteer sessions are held Monday - Saturday.

Ready to volunteer? You can get started by taking the following two steps:

Have questions?  Contact Ladder Up’s Volunteer Engagement Manager at volunteer@goladderup.org or (312) 409-1555 ext. 6; or Judy Andringa, CFE/GBE Co-Chair, judyandringa@gmail.com

2020 Initiatives 

The Giving Back Exchange chose to virtually support three organizations to fulfill their mission and continue CFE’s philanthropic outreach for the remainder of 2020.  The three organizations are Sarah's Circle, New Moms and Rock The Street Wall Street. Current initiatives involving these three organizations are included below.

In 1979, Sarah’s Circle was started as an Illinois nonprofit dedicated to serving single, unaccompanied women in Chicago who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Today, this vision holds true. Through a continuum of services, Sarah’s Circle provides basic necessities in a safe and accepting environment to any woman in need, while focusing on permanent solutions. Each year they serve approximately 800 women and transition approximately 100 women into housing.

Now, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, their services are more vital than ever. For many women in Chicago, Sarah’s Circle is home. Their doors have remained open through the pandemic, and their commitment to women experiencing homelessness continues to be steadfast.

Realizing the economic fallout and effects of COVID-19 will be long term, Sarah’s Circle is currently constructing a second building that will support their Interim Housing program along with 38 new units of Permanent Supportive Housing. This project will be ready for women to move in by the end of 2020. For those 38 women, Sarah’s Circle will be ending their homelessness.

Thank you to everyone who made generous contributions and donations to help fulfill their day-to-day needs as well as equip their new building. 

Learn more about Sarah's Circle

Ladder Up

The Giving Back Exchange closed out another successful volunteer season at Ladder Up with impressive results. We are thrilled to report that CFE volunteers completed 94 returns for a total of $247,739.00.  Thank you to our CFE members, family and friends who volunteered.


Annual Toy Drive to Benefit New Moms
CFE members and guests generously donated new toys to support the Giving Back Exchange's Annual Toy Drive.  The toys were donated to New Moms, an organization that supports young moms (aged 13-24) and their children, who are experiencing poverty and homelessness, with the personal and workforce development tools they need to permanently change their life stories from chronic dependence on society, to economic independence and family stability.

Bright Endeavors Candle Making Event
On October 11 CFE members  Janna Sampson, Deb Armstrong, Dorothy Kalinowski, Mary Lee Corrigan & Judy Andringa spent the morning volunteering at Bright Endeavors, an innovative social enterprise that transforms the lives of young moms by teaching them to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment.  Through their paid job training program, they provide guidance & job skills young moms need to secure quality employment & begin working toward professional success.  Click here to learn more about Bright Endeavors and their collection of soy candles.

Clothing Drive to Benefit Cara

The Giving Back Exchange held their 6th Annual Clothing Drive to support women (and men) who are training to enter the workforce and build a life of self-sustainment. The Cara Program prepares and inspires motivated individuals to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, transform their lives, strengthen our communities, and forge paths to real and lasting success.  Thank you to all CFE members for their generous donations.

New Moms Office Visit at Redbox
As an extension of the Giving Back Exchange's support of the New Moms organization, Redbox hosted ten young ladies and two New Moms career coaches on March 11th for an office tour, mock interviews and roundtable discussions.

The day began with an introduction about Redbox and the various jobs each department performs in order to get a disc from a studio all the way out to the kiosk for rental. Participants engaged in 1:1 mock interviews and resume critique, followed by a tour of the technology and marketing floors. The morning wrapped-up with lunch and table conversations between the New Moms participants and Redbox staff.

 It was a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Special thanks to member Mina Fumagalli for coordinating the visit on behalf of CFE and the Giving Back Exchange.

 Ladder Up

The Giving Back Exchange closed out another successful volunteer season at Ladder Up with impressive results. Over four Saturdays, CFE volunteers completed 112 returns totaling $362,126 in refunds! In addition, many CFE members volunteered time at other locations, and their results are in addition to those listed above.  Special thanks to all CFE members, family and friends to volunteered, and in some cases, continue to volunteer on their own time. 



New Moms 

Through the efforts of the Giving Back Exchange, CFE has partnered with the New Moms organization on volunteer events, toy drives, and candle sales.  CFE was recently acknowledged as an in-kind donor for this partnership.  Click here to view the Annual Report.


Giving Back Exchange Hosts Candle Making Volunteer Event at Bright Endeavors
 On October 18, 2018, CFE members  Janna Sampson, Janice Lucchesi, Mary Lee Corrigan, Karen Latham, Jo Jackson & Judy Andringa spent the morning volunteering with 12 young ladies from the Bright Endeavors program.  Bright Endeavors is an innovative social enterprise that transforms the lives of young moms by teaching them to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment.  Through their paid job training program, they provide guidance & job skills young moms need to secure quality employment & begin working toward professional success.

We assisted the team during their busy, upcoming holiday season in creating premium soy candles and bath salts for distribution to companies like:  CB2, Whole Foods, Ben & Jerry’s and Teak & Twine.  With strong support & direction from the BE women, management team Kathy, Sam & Logan, we created and poured over 260 Pumpkin Chai and Lavender Sprig candles; and measured and mixed salt & fragrance that will become hundreds of bath salt decanters (after it dries).  We also labored to BE’s exacting standard for labeling on several dozen jars previously bottled.  Afterwards, the CFE volunteers enjoyed lunch at nearby “Inspiration Kitchen”, where low income & homeless Chicagoans are trained for careers in the food service industry, giving people an opportunity to exit poverty


Chicago Finance Exchange
332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032 - #C232
Chicago, IL  60604 - 4434
Contact us by email: admin@chicagofinanceexchange.org

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