06/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Getting Inspired by the Women's Foundation of California

In the spirit of optimism, three hundred women gathered at the Women's Foundation of California Momentum Awards on Friday May 8th to honor 6 influential women who have trail blazed their way to become extraordinary pioneers in their communities. These women have in their unique way stood forward to make a difference not only in other women's lives, but in all of our lives.

Women from four generations came together to get inspired for a common cause. One of the honorees quoted Madeline Albright "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." But also we think there's a special place in heaven for women who stand up and support other women. The women honored at the luncheon have some special thrones reserved for them.

Among the women honored was Novelist Isabel Allende, whose powerful words "write what should not be forgotten" were repeated throughout the event. Isabel Allende has written about love, heartache, generosity, and life. Her magical realism has touched so many and she will be the first to tell you that life is full of ups and downs:

Among the other honorees were:

The Honorable Karen Bass, who made history a year ago to become the First African American woman to serve as the 67th Speaker of the California State Assembly.

Belinda Smith Walker, who co-founded the Los Angeles Women's Foundation and the Women's Foundation of California -- creating hundreds of nonprofits and supporting thousands of women statewide.

Carla Christofferson and Kathy Goodman -- two women whose love for the game of basketball empowered them to own the Los Angeles Sparks, becoming the second team in the WNBA to be owned by women.

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers and spent her life fighting for women's rights, farmer's rights, and civil rights -- "Si se puede."

So what does the Women's Foundation of California do? Former board member Kathleen Brown advised that "The Women's Foundation is a grant maker. It funds organizations led by fierce women leaders working to make their communities safe, healthy, and prosperous." But besides giving grants, the Women's Foundation transforms women's lives by creating a large support system that empowers women and provides the backing for making our voices louder and stronger.

Not only does the Women's Foundation give grants to other organizations, it teaches women how to create a movement, laws, and policy work through the Women's Policy Institute. Kathleen Brown went on to call it "One of the most powerful strategies of the Foundation... which gives the Foundation's grant partners the opportunity to learn advocacy by doing -- partnering with Legislators to develop laws and policies that are good for women and families and educating and mobilizing their communities back at home. "

During these difficult times, we have to stick together and create great communities filled with support and momentum. We can all be part of the Women's Foundation of California by supporting their many initiatives including One Million Women for Women Campaign -- the goal being to have one million women donate $ 10 each. Women are given an opportunity to invest in our women tribe and be part of a collective effort that is spearheaded with goodness, enthusiasm, and the spirit of possibilities. If you're interested in joining the cause, click here.

Difficult times are ahead of us but we will overcome them and survive -- making us bolder, smarter, and stronger. In the meantime, it's like the Honorable Karen Bass said, "You have to laugh in this situation, because if you don't, it's very easy to cry." The event last Friday reminds us that the Women's Foundation provides an essential platform for promoting leadership among women and creating change. The honorees have provided a great source of inspiration -- without them we'd have many mountains to climb, but more importantly without the Foundation -- we'd have to climb the Himalayas. One woman creating change is inspiring, but an entire organization of women creating change is groundbreaking.