Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta (JWFA) has issued its 2019 grant allocations to twenty organizations that promote gender equality in the Jewish community. The grantee partners, located both domestically and internationally, share JWFA’s mission to promote social change and create positive opportunities for Jewish women and girls. JWFA uses the power of collective giving to fund long-term solutions to issues that impact women and girls in the Jewish community. Over the last seven years, JWFA has invested over $915,000 in grants to promote gender equality in the Jewish community.
The group awarded the following 2019 grants, totaling $200,000:
Impact Area: Education and Leadership
- Atlanta Jewish Academy, Young Women in STEM Career Fair and Mentoring Program – This program will increase access to and interest in careers in STEM for Jewish women and includes a one-day career fair with year-round mentoring opportunities for female high school students in Greater Atlanta. It provides access for the students to meet with women who have a variety of careers in STEM fields and tolearn about STEM-based college curricula and career opportunities with the additional benefit of mentorship opportunities.
- HaMidrasha, Lishmah – Lishmah is a study program integrated into a 10-month pre-army curriculum that empowers young women to become activists, leaders, and agents of social change at mechina, in the IDF, and in Israeli society. It also challenges young men to embrace and promote gender equality and gender identity acceptance as fundamental social and Jewish values.
- jGirls Magazine, General Operating Support – jGirls is an online magazine written by and for self-identifying Jewish teenage girls. Content is created by teens and curated by a teen editorial board. jGirls users are empowered with leadership skills, self-esteem, sense of identity, and engagement and status within the Jewish community, while building a pipeline to a future cohort of bold, committed Jewish female leaders.
- Jscreen, PEACH BRCA Study – In partnership with the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, this pilot program will provide free BRCA testing and genetic counseling for up to 500 Jewish women and men who do not have a personal or close family history of cancer but are at increased risk for carrying a BRCA mutation because of their Ashkenazi background. The ultimate goal of the pilot study is to expand the program nationally and make convenient, affordable BRCA screening and counseling available to Ashkenazi Jews across the country.
- JumpSpark, Strong Women Fellowship – Building on the success of last year’s pilot, this program provides female-identifying Jewish teens in Atlanta access to strong female leaders, connection with peers, and empowering learning. By grappling with the myriad issues facing women today, this fellowship prepares teens to be strong leaders and advocates while incorporating a peer training model.
- SOJOURN, Comprehensive Sex Education for Jewish LBGTQ Teens – This pilot program will empower participants to make informed and responsible decisions about sexual health and behavior by providing age-appropriate, medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education that is targeted specifically for members of the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. A broad range of topics will include human development, relationships, contraception, and disease prevention.
- WePower, General Operating Support – WePower operates ongoing leadership training programs to proactively promote women’s leadership and gender parity in the public and political sectors of Israel. WePower locates potential women leaders and encourages and motivates them to pursue leadership roles by providing them with tools, know-how, and networking platforms.
- Yeshivat Maharat, Advanced Kollel: Executive Ordination Track – This program trains and ordains Orthodox women who are already educators and leaders in the Jewish community but who never had the opportunity to receive rabbinic ordination because Yeshivat Maharat did not exist when they began their careers. Through a part-time, three-year intensive course of learning leading to ordination, the Executive Ordination Track brings greater equity to the field of Jewish education and leadership.
Impact Area: Social Justice and Violence Prevention
- ATZUM, Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution – TFHT confronts the social-political issues that perpetuate human trafficking and exploitation through prostitution and seeks protection for its victims. After celebrating the recent success of the “Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services Bill” becoming law, TFHT will now work to secure options for medical and psychosocial treatment, housing, and occupational training for prostituted persons and public education to support integration of these women into Israeli society.
- Center for Women’s Justice, Legal and Social Activation Project for Women’s Rights – CWJ will utilize bolstered litigation initiatives, educational outreach, and public mobilization to achieve equality and dignity for Jewish women in Israel in the face of the control of the religious court. CWJ’s unique strategy uses civil law to identify, challenge, and eliminate infringements on women’s rights by setting key precedents with the potential to overhaul institutionalized, systemic injustice.
- Hebrew University, Economic Development of Women Clinic – The Economic Development of Women Clinic of the Clinical Legal Education Center at Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law advocates and protects the socioeconomic rights of women, focusing on women at the margins of society, who often face multiple levels of discrimination. The Clinic’s goals are to effect broad change in the policies and common attitudes adversely impacting these women; to empower women and provide individual legal advice and representation; and to educate law students in gender-sensitive legal thought and discourse, giving them the opportunity to practice law for social causes and developing in them an understanding of the unique problems women face.
- Makkom, Our Place: Young Women Leading Social Change – The project encourages the leadership and social activism of young women from vulnerable populations. In a series of meetings between the young women and law students, they will choose issues from their own life experience, perform legal and social research, offer methods to promote relevant social change, and start implementing those methods.
- Moving Traditions, Training Institute for Summer Camp Leaders – This pilot will build a culture of safety, respect, and consent at Jewish summer camps by preparing camp professionals to train their staff with the knowledge, skills, and tools to identify and eliminate sexism, inappropriate sexuality, harassment, and assault.
Impact Area: Economic Empowerment
- Atid BaMidbar, Mevashlot: Culinary Queens – This project brings livelihood and dignity to low-income women aged 50-75 from diverse ethnic groups, most of whom have never worked outside the home, empowering them economically and personally while contributing to local sustainable economic development in the Negev. As they host visiting groups from Israel and abroad for meals and share their inspiring stories, the women exemplify grassroots leadership and are well paid for their skills, heritage, and hospitality.
- Jerusalem College of Technology, Women’s Entrepreneurship Program – This initiative provides Haredi women with exposure to the hi-tech ecosystem and training in innovative thinking and business development for hi-tech product and company creation. The program encourages women to fulfill their potential as innovators, either by starting their own companies or applying their entrepreneurial skills to attain higher level positions in larger companies.
- Jewish Women’s Funding Network, Women and Mothers at Work: Gender Transformative Employment Policies – This collaborative grant with 14 other Jewish women’s funds from around the U.S. supports collaborative and effective efforts for women’s rights and gender equality in Israel, with a focus on labor rights for contract employees.
- La’Ofeck (formerly JobKatif), Achotenu: Academic Nursing Program for Ethiopian-Israelis – Achotenu empowers young Ethiopian-Israelis to follow their educational and career aspirations of becoming nurses and thereafter establishing a stable financial future, while serving as role models for their community.
- Public Knowledge Workshop, FemBuy – FemBuy will collect and share data across numerous platforms that will quantify the actual number of government contracts currently held by female-owned/operated businesses with the ultimate goal of increasing the proportion of contracts granted to female-owned businesses, in accordance with current Israeli law.
- Women’s Spirit, Breaking the Bind – Breaking the Bind advocates for change in fundamental Israeli policies and laws that undermine, destabilize, and weaken women’s financial security and personal safety, especially survivors of violence. It sheds light on the invisible violence women suffer after they are no longer considered victims, as well as the pain and setbacks caused by systemic injustice and outdated laws.
- Yozmot Atid, General Operating Support – Yozmot Atid supports economic independence for women from diverse sectors of Israeli society so that they can transform their lives and break the cycle of poverty by establishing micro-businesses. The program provides low-income women with a comprehensive set of tools to advance their business plans, including high-level mentoring and micro-loans.
In addition to its grant-making, JWFA works strategically to host educational seminars, has been a local leader in human trafficking prevention, is launching the Agents of Change Training program, and is in the final stages of a community needs assessment to assess the needs of women and girls in Atlanta’s Jewish community.