Better Makers: YWCA Honors Makers, Creators and Fighters at the YWomen Leadership Awards

YWCA Honors Makers, Creators and Fighters at the YWomen Leadership Awards

Make no small plans. Under the local powerhouse of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, YWomen was born. Since its inception in 2008, 24 inspiring women and seven altruistic organizations have been honored for their work in the areas of women’s empowerment, racial justice, and social change.

On Oct. 13, YWCA Evanston/North Shore celebrated the YWomen Leadership Awards, honoring Gloria Bond Clunie, award-winning playwright, director, and educator; Kelley Cambry, co-founder and CEO of the Paige & Paxton Elementary STEM curriculum; and Victoria Dinges, senior vice president of Corporate Relations at Allstate. Held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 450 supporters gathered to celebrate the influential women in our communities and support the critical work of the YWCA. The celebration raised nearly $300,000 in support of the organization’s domestic violence and women’s empowerment programs.

Salma Martinez-Tamayo, recent graduate of Evanston Township High School, was named the Lorraine H. Morton Young Woman of Promise. The award recognizes a young woman, under the age of 35, who is committed to working toward social change. Former Mayor Lorraine H. Morton passed away in September at the age of 99. Mayor Morton was Evanston’s first African-American mayor and the city’s longest-serving mayor, serving the city for 16 years.

A powerful film by Susan Hope Engel was played, highlighting the passions and drive of each honoree.

Meet the 2018 honorees:

ywca: Gloria Bond ClunieGloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, director, and educator committed to giving voice to the African-American experience through her creative works. Originally from North Carolina, Clunie is a Northwestern University graduate and former drama teacher at Chute Middle School in Evanston, where she now lives.

Clunie is the founder of Evanston’s Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre and a founding member of the Playwrights Ensemble at Chicago’s famed Victory Gardens Theater, where her plays “North Star,” “Living Green,” and “Shoes” premiered.

Her work has been recognized by the NAACPAlpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta sororities; American Alliance for Theatre and Education; and the Vision Keepers.

ywca: Kelley CambryKelley Cambry is a crusader for universally accessible STEM education pipeline programs. Cambry and her mother are the founders of the Evanston-based Paige & Paxton Elementary STEM Curriculum, bringing STEM education to life for students, teachers, and parents across the country. Chicago Public Schools is one of the first major school systems to sign with the curriculum. Cambry is also a founding member of the New York Chapter of Black Girls Code.


ywca: Victoria DingesVictoria Dinges is a champion of the domestic violence movement. Through the Allstate Foundation, Purple Purse is dedicated to ending domestic violence through financial empowerment. Under Purple Purse, 1.3 million survivors have become financially empowered since 2005.

Dinges is also involved in the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The 2018 YWomen Leadership Awards celebration was sponsored by Wintrust, Allstate, Make It Better, Thermoflex, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Hagerty Consulting, Northwestern University, Infrastructure Engineering, and USI.

ywca: Jari White, Kevin White, State Rep. Robyn Gabel, Dave Davis, Tara Davis.
Jari White, Kevin White, State Rep. Robyn Gabel, Dave Davis of Northwestern University, and Tara Davis
ywca: Lisa Altenbernd, Kelley Cambry, Karen Singer
YWomen Co-Chair Lisa Altenbernd, YWomen Honoree Kelley Cambry, and YWCA Evanston/North Shore President/CEO Karen Singer
ywca: Eileen Hogan Heineman, Sarah Malone, Susan Hope Engel, Kaylie Engel, Ahlam Mahmoud
Eileen Hogan Heineman, Manager of Equity Institute Community Outreach at YWCA Evanston/North Shore; YWCA Board Member Sarah Malone; YWomen Filmmaker Susan Hope Engel; Kaylie Engel; and 2011 YWomen Honoree Ahlam Mahmoud
ywca: Susan Noyes
YWomen Co-Chair and Make It Better Founder Susan Noyes
Impact: In 2017, 728 women and their children received domestic violence services from YWCA Evanston/North Shore.


More from Make It Better:

Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.



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