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‘Women are a force,’ says Sylvia Chrominska, who helped to organize the Women for Women’s fundraising luncheon.CHLOË ELLINGSON/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Colleen Moorehead and Sylvia Chrominska

The gift: Raising $1-million

The cause: Women's College Hospital

The reason: To fund research and health-care programs

After years of working in the financial sector and encouraging women to take on leadership roles, Colleen Moorehead and Sylvia Chrominska decided to team up for a new cause: raising money for women's health care.

"We really wanted to try to have a conversation with women as leaders in the community and as business leaders about philanthropy," said Ms. Moorehead, co-founder of E*Trade Canada who is now a client strategist at the Toronto law firm of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

They also wanted to create a forum for women to talk to each other about health issues. The result was Women for Women's, an annual lunch in Toronto that raises money for Women's College Hospital.

This year's event, on Nov. 20, features speakers on the BRCA gene mutation, which indicates a high risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Many women, notably actress Angelina Jolie, have had preventive double mastectomies after being told they carried the defective gene. "Research brings optimism, but it also brings tougher and tougher choices," said Ms. Moorehead, who has lost an aunt and a niece to cancer.

Roughly 800 people are expected on Wednesday for the third annual lunch. The women hope to raise $1-million in total by the time the fifth lunch is held.

"Women are a force," added Ms. Chrominska, who recently retired as head of global human resources at Bank of Nova Scotia and chairs a fundraising campaign at the hospital. "If we band together and focus on something, we can make change and we can make things happen."