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4W Collaborative Directorship furthers vision of gender equity and global well-being

While the vision of 4W Women & Wellbeing in Wisconsin and the World Initiative is straightforward — make life better for women, make the world better for all —the work itself can be quite complex. Now, thanks to 10 generous donors who share 4W’s vision for a more just and equitable tomorrow, this work will be supported and elevated by dedicated leadership for decades to come.

On October 27, the School of Human Ecology celebrated the creation of the 4W Collaborative Directorship for Women and Wellbeing in Wisconsin and the World, the result of a collaborative fundraising campaign.

Headshot of Dean Soyeon Shim.“This bright new chapter of the 4W Initiative was made possible by the commitment of dedicated alumni and friends who came together to make this transformational collaborative campaign a reality,” says Dean Soyeon Shim. “The collective power of many made this Collaborative Directorship possible and, under the dynamic leadership of Lori DiPrete Brown, we will continue to strengthen and sustain our mission. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the generous donors who share our vision.”

Lori DiPrete Brown is the founding director of 4W and a champion for the health and well-being of women and children locally and globally. “I’m very proud to lead this campus-wide effort from the School of Human Ecology,” she says. “There couldn’t be a more appropriate home for the work; 4W is relevant to all the departments in the school, and the overall discipline of human ecology provides grounding frameworks related to wellbeing and the social-ecological model.”

The 4W initiative launched in 2015, a campus-wide effort convened by the School of Human Ecology, Global Health Institute, and Department of Gender & Women’s Studies to leverage the power of UW-Madison to address systemic challenges.

Since then, it’s grown to include a varied suite of 14 projects engaged with social services, community health, and the arts, and has awarded over 40 catalytic grants that advance the work of campus innovators. 4W’s Leadership Circle — a collective of leaders representing schools and colleges across the university —have developed bonds over the shared work and shared values and are ready to do more.

Portrait of Lori DiPrete Brown, a smiling woman with dark hair, brown eyes and light skin, sits by the 100 Women Wall.

“The Initiative started with a small group of scholars who wanted to put their research into practice to foster gender equity and wellbeing, both in Wisconsin and around the world,” DiPrete Brown says. “Because of our commitment to collective leadership and collaboration, and thanks to the visionary leadership of Dean Shim and the support of a forward-thinking group of philanthropists, we have continued to succeed and grow over the past six years. Now, with the endowed Directorship, we feel emboldened. When we think about the future of UW, we know we will be there, responding to the challenges of the day in ways that make life better for women and make the world better for everyone.”

The $1 million endowment was made possible in part by a matching contribution made available by John and Tashia Morgridge.

4W Collaborative Directorship Donors:

Nancy and David Borghesi
Diane Endres Ballweg
Marlene Hartzman
Phyllis Lovrien
Jill and Peter Lundberg
Dorothy O’Brien
Kathryn Richardson
Judy Schwartzbaum
Margaret Shields
Louise Silberman