Women United in Philanthropy Hosts Awards Celebrating Women Working to Transform Communities


New York, NY – Women United in Philanthropy today hosted the fifth annual Power of Women to Make a Difference awards luncheon honoring women who have made a significant impact on their communities through philanthropic giving, advocacy, and volunteerism.  Susan L. Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of ESSENCE Magazine and Founder & CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, delivered the keynote address.  Proceeds from the charity event benefit the Women United Fund, which supports United Way of New York City’s youth empowerment initiatives.

Women United in Philanthropy is an all-volunteer group that taps into the power, talent and passion of women to transform their communities.  Members are accomplished women leaders who have taken an active role in advancing the work of United Way of New York City (UWNYC).  

Since 2006, Women United has raised $3 million in support of UWNYC’s initiatives aimed at reducing early childhood obesity, improving early grade literacy and helping at-risk youth succeed in high school.

“The women honored here today understand the importance of philanthropic giving and volunteering in improving the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Gordon Campbell, UWNYC President & CEO. “We are truly proud to partner with them and to recognize the powerful impact they have on their communities.”

Bob Catell, Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at SUNY Stony Brook and Chairman, New York State Smart Grid Consortium, announced a personal pledge to match contributions up to $150,000 to the Women United Fund, saying, “Education is the most valuable commodity we can invest in and the only one in this economy that is guaranteed to pay dividends. I challenge those of us who have the means to join me in helping all New York City students succeed, and I challenge our youth to maximize their own potential through education. I will be matching the donations raised by the Women United Fund in support of United Way’s youth empowerment programs.”

“It is no small feat to have succeeded in the professional world as a woman today. It is quite another to have accomplished so much and still find time to empower the community and encourage others to follow in your footsteps,” said Luncheon Co-Chair Anna Patruno. “We are honored to celebrate the women joining us today who have gone above and beyond their peers in lifting up their communities.”

The Women United honorees were Joy A. Collins, General Manager, Essence Communications; Francine Delgado, Senior Vice President, New York City Programs & Technical Assistance, Seedco;  Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, ESPN; Cindy Price Gavin, Partner, PwC; Dr. Karen L. Gould, President, Brooklyn College; Melissa Hall, Senior Vice President, Assurant, Inc.; Renee McClure, Lead Representative, Economic Development & Community Relations, National Grid; Mihal Nahari, Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation; Racquel Oden, Managing Director, Merrill Lynch Bank of America; Shawn R. Outler, GVP of Multicultural Merchandise and Vendor Development, Macy’s, Inc.; Ellen Pinschmidt, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Thomson Reuters; Susan Raymond, Ph.D. Executive Vice President, Changing Our World, Inc.; Dia Simms, EVP, General Manager, Blue Flame Agency; Maryann Watt, Managing Director, BNY Mellon; and Agnes Zakrzewska, Director of Corporate Communications & Employee Giving, Macy’s, Inc.

Women United also honored five “Rising Stars”: Fredericka Conner, Merrill Lynch Bank of America; Stephanie Neches, PwC; Amanda Santos, BNY Mellon; Beatrice Serra, Macy’s, Inc.; and Simone Weems, National Grid.

Presenting sponsors of the event, held at Cipriani Wall Street, were Assurant, Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Thompson Reuters.

For photographs of the event please contact Jennifer Burner at jburner@globalstrategygroup.com or call 212-260-8813.

About United Way of New York City

United Way of New York City (UWNYC) brings together people, resources and ideas to achieve long-lasting systemic changes that improve the education, income stability and health of low-income New Yorkers, and foster a more robust and effective nonprofit sector. We believe that everyone has a role in building a better future for all. We offer diverse opportunities for New Yorkers to give, advocate and volunteer to advance the common good. To learn more about our work and how to get involved, visit www.unitedwaynyc.org.