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About Jo Crawford

For the past fifty years, author Johanna (Jo) Crawford has dedicated herself to community service in a wide variety of areas and organizations, such as the Boston Science Museum, Glover Hospital, Babson College Foreign Students Committee, and Transition House, amongst others.


In 2004, harnessing her vast experience, Ms. Crawford founded Web of Benefit, Inc. at age 58. There, she personally worked with over 2,200 survivors of domestic violence in Boston and Chicago plus 26 states, helping them define and realize their goals and dreams. As a capstone to the grant-giving program, Jo designed the “Pay-It-Forward” program. With this Good Works Agreement, each survivor helped three other survivors, increasing exponentially the lives touched through WOB to more than 10,000 women and children.

 

Johanna Crawford has been a guest speaker at Babson College, Simmons College, Harvard University, and University of Massachusetts. At The Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative in Tokyo, Ms. Crawford taught Japanese women about grassroots social entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and creating a nonprofit organization.


In December 2010 Ms. Crawford was awarded the Be the Change Award by the Massachusetts Conference for Women. In June 2011, she and Web of Benefit won the Award for Excellence in Collaboration given by the statewide Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. She is an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow. In July 2012 she was honored as CNN Hero.
 

A Message From Jo

 

My vision is a world where women can live free of abuse, where they believe they deserve their dreams and can realize those dreams.


I believe we all have similar hopes, fears, and dreams, no matter our race, religion, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, or place of birth. We’re all kind and not so kind. We’re all fearful and courageous. We’re all joyful and sad. We’re all caring, and we’re all selfish. We’re simply trying to discover who we are and be the best versions of ourselves. Many of us have children we would give our lives for.


To be a woman means having to live in a male-dominated society. As children, we accept the image of ourselves as calm, quiet, and well-behaved early on. Gloria Steinem brilliantly said, “It’s not only that we live in a patriarchy; it’s that patriarchy lives in us.”  This is so deeply rooted in our culture, like systemic racism, that we don’t even recognize its existence. It is my belief that we have all suffered abuse (in its many forms), sexism, disappointment, abandonment, and betrayal in one way or another—some of us more than others.
 

We have been told that we’re broken. We have been forced to do more for others and to be less of who we really are to fit who parents, partners, bosses, and friends expect us to be. Author and activist Glennon Doyle says we’re “tamed” at an incredibly young age. No more! I hope to walk with you for a moment on your path from devastation and loss to peace, self-love, and fulfillment. Together, let us lift up all women and set them free.


My hope is that you will join me in learning to see a bigger picture; to live fearlessly (but not without some insight into fear); to embrace gratitude; and to find joy in knowing you deserve the best of everything.

In 1640, George Herbert said, “Living well is the best revenge.” This is still true today. We all have lessons to learn in our lives: worthiness, patience, boundaries, self-love, courage, gratitude, and, hopefully, joy and fulfillment. Dr. Brian Weiss has said that “earth is the hardest classroom.” Don’t we know it!


Here are some thoughts I hope you might take with you: Dream big, but focus small. Define your goals simply. Have no fear. Don’t let anyone tell you that your emotions and your wonderful thoughts don’t matter. They do, and nobody can take them away from you. The only failure is not trying to have the life you want and deserve.


You already are enough. Don’t be normal, be unique! Let’s make power contagious.

- Jo Crawford

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