Route 66 Extraordinary Women Initiative to Recognize and Support Women Across The Mother Road

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Route 66, USA – Historic Route 66 turns 100 years old in 2026, but the party starts now! The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership kicks off the celebration of the Mother Road’s birthday with the Route 66 Extraordinary Women Initiative.

The Route 66 Extraordinary Women Initiative empowers women to support Route 66 and create a bigger impact than they could on their own. The plan is to support businesses and attractions along The Mother Road, that are owned and/or operated by women who are facing dire times. The initiative is looking for at least 66 women in each of the states through which the historic highway runs, to become Route 66 Extraordinary Women by making a tax-deductible gift of $1,000. The gift can be paid in one lump sum or over the 5 years leading up to Route 66’s centennial year, 2026. That breaks down to just $200 a year, or approximately $18 per month.

The timing of this fundraising effort is just right for holiday gift giving. Women, men, organizations, clubs, and other groups can designate an Extraordinary Woman via their donation. Women can also designate themselves.

To designate an Extraordinary Woman – and be one of the first 66 from your state – visit:

The Route 66 Extraordinary Women Initiative is the first step in a larger strategy developed to improve the lives and livelihoods of the 5+ million people living and working along Route 66. Funds raised through the initiative become part of a larger, Visionary Fund, established by the Road Ahead. The Visionary Fund will be used to award grants through a Route 66 Centennial Grants Program. The grants program is being established in consultation the National Park Service – Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Route 66 Extraordinary Women program has the potential to generate more than a half million dollars for this popular tourist destination that was commissioned in 1926 and decommissioned in 1985. Though no longer part of the US highway system, Route 66 continues to attract both domestic and international travelers. Route 66 states include (from east to west) Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Established in 2015, with the support of the National Park Service and the World Monuments’ Fund, The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership’s mission is to revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national and international icon through partnerships focused on promotion, preservation, research and education, and economic development.

Road Ahead Partnership

Bill Thomas, Chairman
Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership

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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

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