We are thrilled to have honored Cecile Richards and Cecilia Guthrie Boone, Rabbi Sharon Brous, and the Rev. Kanyere Eaton at our 16th annual Lives of Commitment. Read about these inspiring leaders below.
Cecile Richards & Cecilia Guthrie Boone
Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, PPFA's advocacy and political arm.
She is a leader in national progressive politics with more than 20 years of experience working on behalf of reproductive freedom and social justice. Ms. Richards was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2011.
Prior to joining PPFA, Ms. Richards served as founder and president of America Votes, a coalition of more than 30 national organizations, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. America Votes was created to maximize voter registration, education, and mobilization among grassroots organizations.
Directly before serving as president of America Votes, Ms. Richards worked as deputy chief of staff for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, where she played a key role in the Congress member's election as the first woman Democratic leader of the House of Representatives.
Ms. Richards began her career organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, health care, and janitorial industries throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas.
The daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Ms. Richards was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. She worked side by side with her mother on her very first campaign — the election to the state legislature of Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.
"Together, women and their allies are going to make their voices heard, so that they do not become second-class citizens in a newly reformed health care system in the United States."
Cecilia Guthrie Boone is the chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). In 2010, Cecilia was honored as one of 21 Leaders of the 21st Century.
Ms. Boone is the past chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation (where she led a successful $30 million campaign), Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund, and Annie’s List, a PAC that recruits, trains, and funds progressive women candidates running for statewide office in Texas.
Additionally, she serves on the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Leadership Board, the Women’s Funding Network board, and also serves several local organizations.
Ms. Boone is the chair of the Boone Family Foundation. An active donor and fundraiser, she has focused both her volunteer work and philanthropy on issues that affect women and girls and the role of public policy advocacy in achieving social justice. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Born in Kentucky, Ms. Boone worked for IBM in Indiana, Ohio, and Texas. In Texas she met and married her husband, Garrett; they have three adult children. With other partners, they began their fledgling business, The Container Store, in 1978.
"[Philanthropy has] been a totally liberating experience on both sides, giving and receiving."
Rabbi Sharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR, a vibrant Jewish Spiritual Community in Los Angeles dedicated to the integration of spiritual and religious practice and the pursuit of social justice. She was included in the Forward's annual list of the 50 most influential members of the American Jewish community for three years in a row, and was recently noted in Newsweek as one of the leading rabbis in the country.
In 2008, she was the inaugural recipient of the Jewish Community Foundation's Inspired Leadership Award, recognizing inspired leadership, vision and impact in the Los Angeles Jewish community.
In 2001 Rabbi Brous was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and she received a Master's Degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, where she also received her Bachelor's Degree in History. After ordination, she served as a Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City (BJ). For the past seven years, Rabbi Brous has served on the faculty of REBOOT and on the regional council of Progressive Jewish Alliance. She serves as adjunct faculty at Hebrew Union College and sits on the rabbinic advisory boards of American Jewish World Service and Hebrew College. Rabbi Brous is married to David Light, a comedy writer, and they have two daughters.
"The religious life ... is about praying, singing, crying, and working with all our hearts to bring holiness into our world. It is about seeing every person, in every generation, as a potential agent of transformation."
Rev. Kanyere Eaton is Pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, an Evangelical church in the Bronx. Prior to becoming a congregational pastor, Kanyere served as Executive Director of The Sister Fund, a small, private foundation dedicated to the economic, social, political and spiritual empowerment of women and girls. With the express purpose of bringing women to voice, with her leadership, The Sister Fund has sponsored programs specifically designed for African American female executives, feminist theologians and women whose non-profit work supports fullness of life for women and girls.
In 2005, her contributions as a grantmaker were recognized by the Women’s Funding Network, from which she received the Changing the Face of Philanthropy award. In the same month, the Association of Black Foundation Executives presented her with the Emerging Leader in Philanthropy award. On April 30, 2008, she was recognized by the North Star Fund for her outstanding commitment to social change toward the furtherance of equality, economic justice and peace.
Kanyere has worked in both the public and private sectors as a social service professional, with backgrounds in early childhood education, substance abuse, direct service management and hunger prevention. As a minister and social worker, she emphasizes the inextricable correlation between the transformation of our communities and the holistic well-being of each member.
Embracing the important work of helping to build meaningful linkages between theology and community, she previously served as Director of Social Services at The Riverside Church in New York City. There, she assisted with the development and implementation of numerous programs designed to meet the needs of Riverside’s economically disadvantaged neighbors.
Reverend Eaton holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Science and Social Work degree from Columbia University. Ordained in 1991, she is the founder of Making It Plain Ministries, Inc.
"Our work is consuming and demanding because we labor for populations who are female and old and young and poor and unemployed and underemployed and sick and trafficked and objectified."