As part of its mission to support women and girls across the state, Michigan Women Forward (MWF), formerly Michigan Women’s Foundation, will host its second annual Lights, Courage, Action! Women of Achievement and Courage Awards in Kalamazoo on June 6 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel.
This year’s awards will honor three women who have dedicated their lives and livelihoods to improving our community. La June Montgomery Tabron heads the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the nation and the largest in Michigan. Tabron earned the top spot after a lifetime of dedication to the organization and its mission to help the country’s most vulnerable children. Not one to rest on her laurels, Tabron immediately dove into restructuring the board’s oversight of grants and operations, allowing staff to focus without being micromanaged.
Honoree Janice Brown has worked a full spectrum of careers in the education field. Currently director emeritus of the Kalamazoo Promise, she has worked to forward its goal of affordable college education for students in the Kalamazoo Public School system since the fund’s creation. Brown champions full community engagement to achieve students’ success.
As a teacher in the Kalamazoo Public School system, Elizabeth (Betty) Upjohn Mason has given her time, passion and personal fortune to better the education, enrichment and wellbeing of Kalamazoo students. Upjohn Mason has been a philanthropic linchpin in the Kalamazoo area for decades.
In addition to honoring these amazing women, this event helps raise funds for programs and scholarships that directly benefit women and girls in our community. Microloans provided by MWF are already helping women-owned businesses in Kalamazoo like Kaleamazoo Chips; Julie Fox of Free Love Bakery, and Remy Herrington of Tegany Vegany Soulbelly Foods, LLC. Their educational programs like the Entrepreneur You Conference and mentoring networks provide resources for women starting or growing their businesses. To learn more about these programs or other MWF initiatives, visit miwf.org. You can register to attend Lights, Courage, Action! on June 6 at the Radisson here.