Her Heart Is In This Work
Growing up in Ferndale in a working-class neighborhood, Judith Cawhorn remembers her mom-a union organizer at the Highland Park Ford Motor Company plant-as an intelligent and hard-working woman dedicated to women's rights in the workplace. Judith remembers her mother hosting meetings of women from the plant in their home, and she would listen. Judith recalls conversations about sexual harassment in the plant and the women's ensuing plans for self-defense.
Judith's passion for women's rights grew out of that experience and today it's one of the causes that she supports with her time, talent and treasure.
Judith is one of Flint's biggest advocates. "I love being here and contributing to a community that is the heart and soul of what Michigan is all about," she says.
A dedicated community volunteer, Judith leverages her time between two communities-Flint and Ann Arbor where she lives. With a core belief in giving back, Judith is a wonderful example of volunteering, community spirit and philanthropic giving.
She supports many causes including the Flint Women and Girls Fund (FWGF). A former chair of the FWGF Advisory Committee, Judith led the group through a proactive grantmaking process that resulted in support for a financial literacy program for area girls.
"I feel we are obligated as human beings to find a way to be a part of the collective good," Judith says. "Part of that is giving time to issues and causes that matter."
She believes in the philosophy that "women hold up half the sky" but is realistic about the status of women and girls today. When it comes to leadership and power, the statistics show we haven't leveled the playing field, notes Judith. Gender bias, equality in pay, and domestic violence issues weigh on her mind.
Judith says, "Violence against women is a huge issue here-but it's a silent one that keeps women oppressed and keeps them from being their full self. Women need skill sets to make independent choices."
"We must find ways to get at the systemic issues to get women fully participating in society," she continued. "The initiatives that are funded by the Flint Women and Girls Fund are addressing these underlying issues."
Philanthropy and giving through the Flint Women and Girls Fund allows you to be a part of the solution, not just talk about the problem, she notes.
"When you give, you get a payback. You can look around and see where you've had an impact," says Judith. "It makes you feel like you are part of the solution."