What Matters: Women

April 25, 2018

Nearly 800 (our largest crowd ever!) community leaders joined us for What Matters: Women on Tuesday, April 24th at the Raleigh Convention Center to learn more about how women continue to be disproportionately affected in relation to health, housing, employment, and education. We know that when women are empowered and have access to the resources they need, they thrive against all odds, and we are ready to build a stronger Triangle for everyone, together.

A Snapshot: Highlights from the Event

  • We began the day with three sold-out opening sessions led by issue area experts focused on value setting, empowerment, and activating your network, to ensure that all women can thrive.
  • We watched a short, but powerful video of women in our community sharing data about what women face in the Triangle every day.
  • Our President and CEO, Lori O’Keefe reminded us that unless we talk about the data and use it effectively to tell the story of why the numbers look the way they do, they are only numbers. It is imperative that we start a dialogue about why these numbers matter before we start talking about how to change them.  Because the voices and faces behind them? They really do matter.  The barriers and challenges facing our region’s women and girls are real, just as the strengths, assets, and successes are. 
  • We heard wise words from keynote speaker Dr. Johnnetta Cole about the struggles women have always faced, about how we can overcome by working together, about lifting up our girls so they believe they can FLY, and about listening to those in need before we jump to the solutions we think may work. She left us with this sentiment – “We’ve got work to do to get this world right side up again,” and we are ready to do it.
  • We honored Perry Colwell and Chuck ReCorr with two philanthropic awards for their dedication to the overall health and leadership in our community. Both of our award winners have done extensive work to change the lives, invest in, and champion the leadership of women, and we are better for it.
  • We laughed with Farad Ali and Lori O’Keefe as they concluded the day by sharing with us tangible ways to get involved, rally together around women in our community, and turn our talk into action.


  • Inspired by the Voices of Women video? Watch it, share it, and reach out to the women featured to find out how you can help their cause.
  • Looking for a copy of the Voices of Women flipbook? Print it, share it, and continue the conversation in your daily life. Want a real copy? Contact us and we’ll mail you one!
  • Take a minute to look through a preview of our photos from the day, and stay tuned – we’ll share the rest of them in the coming weeks so you can tag yourself!
  • Read the recap story of the day here.

What’s Next? What can YOU do?

  • Learn about the women’s giving circles at the Foundation, and make sure to visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you’re up-to-date on local events addressing women’s issues.
  • Join us as we explore how the Foundation can work with donors, fundholders, and nonprofits to make a specific difference for women in our community. Text “women” to 444999 to sign up for updates – we’ll be in touch.
  • Serve as a mentor to a woman in your life. Give her a platform, and stand beside her as she realizes her own leadership.
  • If you attended What Matters: Women, take this survey, so that we can continue to improve on this annual event.

We can change the future for women and girls in the Triangle. But we must choose to do that. Let’s make that choice together. Strong women = strong communities.

Thank You

Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Wells Fargo.  We are deeply grateful to you for your support of this event and of the community. We are also grateful for the support of the following sponsors: American Underground, Duke Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Revered, and WUNC. 

Thank you to our host committee, Farad Ali, Carol and Bob Bilbro, Dianne and Bruce Birch, Perry Colwell, Julia and Frank Daniels, Debbie and Sheldon Fox, Ella and Stuart Frantz, Annette and Rick Guirlinger, Fred Hutchison, Mark Kuhn, Easter Maynard, Prue and Peter Meehan, Pat Nathan and Mervyn Groves, Cathy Pascal and Ron Strom, Carol Tresolini, and Dr. Phail Wynn, Jr. 

Thank you to our community investors, American Underground, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, Blue Heron Asset Management, LLC, Bourke Services, LLC, Duke Energy, Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, Duke University Health System, Hamilton Point Advisors, Hutchison PLLC, IBM, The Institute, KDI Capital Partners, LLC, Kuhn Advisors, Inc., Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, PNC, Revered, Schell Bray, Wells Fargo, and WUNC. 

Thank you to our issue area experts for their hard work and support of women in our community. And thank you to our giving circle, Heritage Quilters, for the beautiful and meaningful quilt for Dr. Cole.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for What Matters: 2019 on Wednesday, May 1!  We can’t wait to see you there!