Over the next few months, we will be highlighting 25 people who have been key to the success Women’s Fund in honor of our 25th anniversary. Meet Tavonna Harris Askew, OPTIONS Alumna and Vice Chair of the Board for Women’s Fund.

How did you get involved with Women’s Fund?

I was introduced to Women’s Fund by my SKL Facilitator, Martha Lamkin. Martha was one of the founding mothers of Women’s Fund as the group of women who started the organization are affectionately known. After that introduction, I had the incredible opportunity to become a part of the Women’s Fund family by being a member of OPTIONS Class 13. In OPTIONS I learned how to be more intentional about my personal philanthropy journey and met a group of wonderful women who I now call friends.

What has been your favorite memory of working with us?

My favorite memory is having the opportunity to bring the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, to Indianapolis. “A Conversation with Michelle Obama” was an inspirational evening bringing people from all walks of life together to positively impact our community in words and dollars. Together we raised over a million dollars that has been used to increase the impact of women and girl serving organizations. We also used the dollars to create mental health programming for girls in order to give them the tools they need to survive life’s demands.

How have you seen Women’s Fund positively impact the central Indiana community?

Millions of dollars in grants have been given to non-profits for the last 25 years. The dollars have changed the trajectory of many women, girls, and families in central Indiana. We have seen women who benefited from our grants go on to positively impact our community. Through our work in OPTIONS, we have graduated hundreds of women who have become intentional in their personal philanthropic goals and have gone on to support non-profits in a variety of ways. We have also connected many women leaders who have become the voice of progress in our community.

What do you look forward to as Women’s Fund moves into the future?

I am looking forward to Women’s Fund being a catalyst for change as it begins to forge its path forward for the next 25 years. I am excited about us developing more women leaders who will be intentional in their giving and who will serve the many life-changing non-profits we have in our community as volunteers. I am looking forward to Women’s Fund working alongside business leaders to create seats at the table for women leaders to advance their careers and strengthen our business community. I am looking forward to our continued engagement of women of all walks of life, political backgrounds and color coming together to raise money to continue making Indianapolis a place for every women and girl to be successful.

How will you use your influence to help Women’s Fund in their efforts to make central Indiana more equitable for Black and Brown women?

In January 2022, I will become the first African American Board Chair of Women’s Fund. I will work alongside our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee to implement initiatives that will positively impact the lives of black and brown women. Our focus will be on education and action to ensure we are doing more than simply talking about change but that we are being change makers. Our organization is full of talented women who are not afraid to raise their voices and their dollars to ensure equity is a primary focus. Together we will ensure black and brown women are heard, seen, respected, and afforded influential professional opportunities that allow them to be the change agents our community needs.