A year ago, a powerhouse of women stood in the same room. They came together to reconnect with old classmates, support the newest generation of Fordham women, and talk about the power of women in philanthropy. Together, they raised almost half a million dollars.

And next month, it’s happening again.

Fordham’s second annual Women’s Philanthropy Summit will be held on Oct. 24. It’s an all-day affair at the Lincoln Center campus, starting at 7:30 a.m. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, will welcome guests at 8:15 a.m.; he’ll be followed by a scholarship student and the first keynote speaker. There will be three keynotes over the course of the day: Harriet Edelman, GABELLI ’80, vice chair of Emigrant Savings Bank; Kirsten Swinth, Ph.D., an associate history professor at Fordham and author of the forthcoming Feminism’s Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family; and Anne Williams-Isom, FCLC ’86, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone and a staunch advocate for quality education in communities of color. Drawing on their own success, they will be sharing personal stories and advice on how women can use their time, talent, and money to make a difference.

In between keynotes, attendees can attend panel discussions that deal with women in the workplace and in philanthropy. They’ll hear success stories from accomplished women, figure out how to balance work and life from their early twenties to retirement, become comfortable with speaking freely about finances, understand how to make philanthropy meaningful, and learn how to be leaders.

“Part of what’s important for women and women’s development,” said Edelman, “is leadership, not only in terms of your professional life, but your full life.”

And for young women, Edelman said, self-assuredness is key.

“I’m so impressed with this generation,” she said. “Sometimes they tell me the situation, and I just ask what they think they should do next, and they’ve got it. They just need to hear themselves speak it.”

At its core, the summit revolves around three concepts: control, confidence, and courage. It’s about women taking ownership of their lives, their money, and their charity; building leadership skills; and questioning the old way of doing things.

“Women want to trust, to form a relationship, to have a conversation, to really understand the story and the purpose and the outcome of what their giving is for,” said Mary Lou Quinlan, GABELLI ’82, a keynote speaker at last year’s summit. “It’s about being part of a community and understanding how we, uniquely and collaboratively, can have a real effect.”  

The summit ends around 5:30 p.m. with a networking reception. Visit the event webpage to learn more and register.


Taylor is a visual storytelling strategist in Fordham University's marketing and communications department, where she documents University life through photography and video. Since joining Fordham in 2018, she has served as a writer, photographer, videographer, and social media manager, dividing her time between University Marketing and Communications and the Office of the President. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Stony Brook University's School of Communication and Journalism and her master's degree in public media from Fordham University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared on NPR, NBC New York, and amNewYork METRO.