The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY) has awarded $500,000 in grants to 20 organizations during the 2011-2012 funding cycle, increasing its giving by over 100 percent in the past few years. Grants were awarded to organizations that support JWFNY’s mission: advancing the status and well-being of women and girls in the Jewish community in New York, Israel and around the world.
Economic empowerment for women and girls prevailed as a central theme for the second year in a row. “After the economic downturn of 2008,” says Rebecca Garrison, Associate Director of JWFNY, “it became clear that women from all socio-economic and Jewish backgrounds need increased support to achieve financial security. In particular, women need better paying jobs, skills to open or expand businesses, and workplace policies that allow for flexible work schedules, ensure equal pay for equal work, and offer fair parental leave.”
JWFNY’s local 2012 grantees include
- Sharsheret, an organization that empowers Jewish women to take control of their financial well-being during a health crisis;
- PresenTense, which provides women social entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to launch new ventures;
- National Association for Jewish Chaplains, a program that recruits and trains female candidates seeking to become Jewish chaplains;
- Jewish Child Care Association, whose Family Day Care program provides women with an opportunity to open independent, home-based day care businesses; and
- AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, an organization that works to expand their participants understanding of poverty as it relates to gender and develops a cadre of young women dedicated to social justice work.
The Israel grantees are the Adva Center, whose goal is to increase women’s political and economic power in Israel; Center for Women’s Justice, which trains attorneys to file damage suits in civil courts on behalf of women whose husbands refuse to give them a get; and WePower, a program that encourages motivated women to take leadership roles within local government.
This also marks the first year of JWFNY’s Isha Koach grants. Isha Koach, meaning women of strength, addresses the global needs of women and girls through a Jewish and gender lens. Through Isha Koach, JWFNY aims to advance the efforts and profiles of Jewish women social entrepreneurs who lead organizations that improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable women and children.
Isha Koach awarded over $100,000 to five grantees: WE CARE Solar, Jewish Heart for Africa, Global Goods Partners, Project Muso, and Goods for Good. JWFNY Executive Director Joy Sisisky explains, “Isha Koach’s five relatively small grants are impacting 7,500 women, 6,000 newborns, 2,000 orphans, and over 2000 families in nine countries throughout the world.”
Garrison also spearheaded the Jewish Women’s Collaborative International Fund, alongside Jennifer Elvey Schnepper, Assistant Director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. This collaborative is the first of its kind, with participation from 14 Jewish Women’s Foundations in the United States and three in Israel working together to affect social change for women and girls in Israel.
The $150,000 collaborative grant was awarded to Itach-Maaki, the lead organization of Bringing Women to the Fore: A Feminist Partnership. “Itach-Maaki’s strategy promotes equality and reduces gender gaps in the economic, social and occupational spheres,” explains Garrison, “but we were most impressed by how the project is being implemented by a cooperative effort of eight leading women’s organizations in Israel, each bringing their expertise and unique talent to the table.”
You can find a complete list of this year’s grantees here.