Who We Are

Welcome to the Emily Couric Leadership Forum

The Emily Couric Leadership Forum was established to honor Virginia State Senator Emily Couric.  To honor her legacy, the Forum invests in young women leaders by supporting their postsecondary educational goals and by inspiring them to pursue activities which will empower them to have an impact in their communities and beyond.  Approaching twenty years in operation, the Forum is a leader in investing in young women’s leadership.

Each Spring, the Forum holds an annual awards luncheon that serves two purposes:

  1. We honor the memory of the late Senator Couric by awarding the Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship (presently $30,000) to one of ten young women nominated by each of ten public and private high schools in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Our area high schools are invited to nominate young women who demonstrate leadership in their school and community.  In addition to the Leadership Scholarship winner, every nominee receives $5,000, and the Forum’s Selection Committee has discretion to recognize one of the nominees with an additional $5,000 merit scholarship.  In total, the Forum awards up to $80,000 in college scholarships each year.  The Selection Committee, comprised of community leaders, makes the awards after an application process and personal interviews with the nominees.

  2. In addition to recognizing young local women leaders, each year we recognize a woman of international or national distinction who exemplifies leadership in her profession and in her community with the Emily CouricWomen’s Leadership Award. The recipient offers the keynote address at the luncheon.  Past recipients have included individuals who embody Emily Couric’s legacy of leadership including:  U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove; Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; author and attorney Caroline Kennedy; political commentator Donna Brazile; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen; Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s issues Melanne Verveer; Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine Maureen Orth; former United States Senator The Honorable Olympia Snowe; journalist Tina Brown; oceanographer Sylvia Earle; poet and activist Nikki Giovanni; and President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Emily Rafferty.

About Emily Couric

The scholarship honors the memory of State Senator Emily Couric, who epitomized a passionate commitment to lifelong learning and public service.  Emily’s grace, warmth, intelligence and courage were an inspiration to Virginians and many Americans.  She especially motivated young people to embrace civic involvement.

Supporting the Forum

While the Spring Emily Couric Leadership Luncheon is a major source of support for our scholarships, we welcome charitable support to our scholarship endowment throughout the year. 

The Forum if a donor-advised fund with the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF).  Contributions to the Forum are tax-deductible and can be made using the button in the right hand column of this page, or make a check payable to CACF-ECSF and mail to PO Box 8322, Charlottesville, VA 22906.  Thank you for your interest, and we hope you will join us in our mission.

ECLF Board of Directors

  • LeAnne Brubaker

  • Charlotte Dammann

  • Meredith Gunter

  • Kate Hamilton

  • Linda Hitchings

  • Tricia Hoefling

  • Sarah McConnell

  • Judy Rasmussen

  • Sara Schroeder

  • Colette Sheehy, Chair

  • Katie Reid Shevlin, 2003 ECLF scholarship winner

  • Ann Taylor

  • Anne Vanderwarker

  • Blair Williamson

EMERITUS: Carolyn Achenbach, Roberta Brownfield, Carol Clarke, Punkie Feil, Diane Long, Bruce Murray, Nina Ozbey, Susan Payne and Mary Sherman

If you have any questions about the Emily Couric Leadership Forum, please feel free to call Colette Sheehy, Chair, at (434) 924-3349, Heather Marcel, Administrator, at (434) 825-8743, or email us. We thank you for your assistance in recognizing promising female leaders in our community.

To add your name to our invitation list, please email us.