Increasing the Power of Women’s Philanthropy
To honor and celebrate our 18th anniversary, we launched a campaign to dramatically extend the reach of our life-changing work. With this project—GENDEROSITY: It’s up to us—we hope to double our impact, further creating a world in which all women and girls in the Jewish community are ensured a healthy and supportive environment, a world in which we all have equal opportunity for economic, religious, social, and political achievement.
There are many ways to become involved and many levels of support. Unrestricted gifts are most beneficial, as they can be used wherever needs are greatest. However, if particular issues are of great personal significance to you, we offer opportunities to designate your gift toward achieving the goals that mean most to you.
Women from across the Jewish spectrum are feeling the impact of your GENDEROSITY. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to ImmerseNYC, an organization that empowers women of all Jewish denominations to embrace the act of immersing in the mikveh to mark moments of transition, including marriage, conversion, niddah (women’s monthly immersion), pregnancy, mourning, bat mitzvah, and more.
The mikveh has always held an important place in Jewish women’s ritual life. As required by Jewish family law, married women are commanded to immerse in the mikveh at the end of their menstrual cycles, before resuming sexual relations with their husbands.
Today, Jewish women of all denominations are turning to mikveh as a way of marking periods of change.
Raised reform, Lani, 40, had never gone to the mikveh. But when her sister went through a painful divorce that rocked their entire family, Lani turned to the mikveh as part of her healing process.
“I felt the need to mark a change, a renewal,” says Lani.
Lani turned to ImmerseNYC, where she received information about the process of mikveh and was connected with a mikveh guide, who accompanied her through the immersion.
“I felt peaceful, at ease, and calm. I felt like a completed sentence,” Lani says.
In fact, the experience shed a whole new light on the practice, Lani says. While she previously thought that mikveh was about declaring a woman pure after her menstrual cycle, her experience made her see the ritual differently.
Today, she says, she views mikveh as an important time-out, where a woman can take a moment to reflect on something that has happened to her, closing one door and opening another.
“This is not for somebody to say you are clean or unclean. It is not an external judgment,” says Lani. “This is a demarcation of a time that gives a woman the opportunity to focus on herself.”
Your GENDEROSITY is helping to build a more inclusive Jewish community. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to Mosaic of Westchester, an organization that encourages synagogues, Jewish community centers and day schools in Westchester County to open their doors to LGBTQ individuals and their families.
In Westchester County, there are networking and social events for people who have all sorts of interests. But until recently, many Jewish LGBTQ residents had few outlets to socialize with other people like them.
“If you live in Westchester and you like pumpkins, there’s a Meet Up for you,” says Deb. “But you won’t find one for gay Jews.”
As a single gay Jewish woman living in Westchester, Deb often felt isolated and alone. She spent 15 years looking for a synagogue but never quite found one where she felt comfortable being her.
“I would have to go to the city to be with gay Jews. That’s quite a schlep,” says Deb.
All that changed a couple of years ago, when a Conservative rabbi welcomed Deb into his shul and then introduced her to people from Mosaic Westchester who were working to establish programs for LGBTQ Jews and to build connections to local Jewish community institutions.
From there, life just got better.
“It’s a huge difference from a few years ago,” Deb says. “The Jewish community is definitely becoming more open.”
Today, Deb has a robust Jewish social network in the community where she lives. She serves on her synagogue’s board, regularly attends Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations, and organizes events for LGBTQ Jews.
“Having Mosaic here draws out people and creates a warmer community,” says Deb. “I no longer have to go to the city to celebrate an event. Now I have my Mosaic family.”
Your GENDEROSITY ensures that Jewish seniors will have access to the in-home care they need to live safely and with dignity. With your help, JWFNY provided a grant that enabled Jews for Racial & Economic Justice to partner with Congregation B’nai Jeshrun, The National Domestic Worker Alliance and local New York affiliates to develop an eldercare training model to meet the needs of the rapidly growing aging Jewish population.
The number of Jews over the age of 75 in New York City, Westchester and Long Island increased to 198,000 in 2011 from 153,000 in 2002 according to a UJA Federation study, resulting in a rapid growth in demand for in-home care. Meanwhile, a dearth of training options means that thousands of domestic workers do not have access to workforce development programs that would help them gain the necessary skills to care for the elderly.
In an effort to match demand with supply, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice developed a pilot training program that honors both domestic workers’ rights and the needs of the elderly.
At 78, Marilyn Williams is in great shape, working part-time as a psychotherapist and traveling, most recently to Alaska with her granddaughter. But the growing needs of the seniors in her community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has not escaped her attention. So she jumped at the opportunity to participate in the pilot study.
“I’m not so concerned for myself, but I’ve seen others who are not in good health,” says Marilyn. “I wanted to do something to help.”
Over the course of two years, Marilyn participated in a number of face-to-face meetings between domestic workers and seniors to learn about one another’s backgrounds, concerns, and needs. Through the program the domestic workers were also trained to care for the elderly while the seniors discovered their legal obligations and rights as employers.
“I have never really employed anyone, so it was eye-opening to think about my role as an employer,” Marilyn said.
Ultimately, both sides discovered that they could provide a solution to the other’s problems.
“It was interesting to explore these issues from the perspective of both domestic workers’ rights and the needs of the elderly,” Marilyn said. “Both sides need to know that they have rights and to maintain channels for open communications.”
As a result of the pilot project, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice is now formalizing its training programs for both seniors and caregivers and implementing them at synagogues throughout New York City. They are working with national partners National Domestic Worker Alliance and Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employer Network to replicate the model nationally.
Your GENDEROSITY is helping the progressive Jewish community flourish. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to Bend the Arc, an organization that galvanizes Jewish men and women to work on domestic social justice issues.
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center Survey, 56% of American Jews say that working for justice and equality is an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.
But for many Jews, finding an avenue that allows them to connect their Judaism with their social activism can be a frustrating endeavor.
Having studied human rights, Stephanie was actively engaged in social issues, but until she found Bend the Arc she did not realize that there was a way for a Reform Jew, such as herself, to connect her religious and political identities.
“In other Jewish organizations, I felt judged for not being Jewish enough,” Stephanie said. “At Bend the Arc, you can come and be an activist with your Jewish hat on but it’s non-denominational and non-judgmental.”
Today, Stephanie is forging a New York City chapter for Bend the Arc, which will serve as a hub of activism on domestic social issues.
In order to build a base of support, Stephanie is working with other young professionals to use social media to extend their reach. They also host monthly social events where activists gather to discuss domestic politics and Judaism’s take on various issues.
“When I discovered that Bend the Arc was an option I was excited to know that my Jewish self and activist self could come together,” Stephanie says. “It makes so much sense – social justice and good deeds are a big part of Judaism. It’s great to have a way to bring them together.”
Your GENDEROSITY is helping Israeli women rise up the political ranks. Thanks to you, a JWFNY grant to WePower supported a training program to prepare women interested in seeking public office. Through this extraordinary program, women from across Israel gained the tools and the confidence to run and lead campaigns.
Among 135 countries, Israel is ranked 55th in the Global Gender Gap Index, which examines the gap between men and women in four categories: political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival.
Women comprise just 20% of Israel’s parliament, 10% of government ministers, and 2% of mayoralties.
But little by little, that may be changing. Activists like Nurit are working to galvanize a cadre of women to run for office. Two years ago, Nurit and several of her frustrated colleagues decided the time had come to capture seats on a local council in the north of Israel, which was 88% comprised of men.
“Our regional authorities control how resources are allocated and they were dominated by men,” explains Nurit. “Women simply weren’t making decisions.”
In an effort to turn the tide, Nurit’s group turned to WePower. Together, they set a goal of gaining 10 out of the 39 seats on the local council in the 2012 elections.
It worked. With the support of WePower, Nurit and her group identified and nurtured candidates and ran campaigns that led to women gaining 12 seats.
“Thanks to WePower, we had the tools to make a lot of noise,” Nurit says proudly.
“I learned that if you put feminist theory into practice you can make a big difference.”
Nurit said that the effects of having women on the council have been tremendous. For example, more resources are now being allocated for girls sports programming and there is now of a public conversation about equality in both the workplace and the home.
“If women aren’t represented how can we expect to advance women’s issues for the next generation?”
Your genderosity is helping to educate religious leaders so that they can fulfill the mission of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Thanks to you, a JWFNY grant to T’ruah funded a program that educated rabbis about human trafficking, helping to spread the word about this worldwide problem and activate more people to take action.
Around the world, more than 27 million innocent people – approximately 80% of whom are women and girls and nearly 50% of whom are minors – have been ensnared in the web of human trafficking.
Law enforcement officials say that “nosy neighbors” are one of the best weapons in the fight against this scourge. But if people are unaware of the problem, there is little they can do to help.
That’s why Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin decided to participate in a one-day training session on trafficking with T’ruah, a human rights organization that educates and engages Jewish clergy on social issues. During the training Rabbi Fryer Bodzin learned about the magnitude. And, when a young Jewish woman spoke about her capture by sex traffickers, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin discovered that trafficking was happening in her backyard.
“With all the channels at my disposal for learning, I was unaware about the magnitude of the problem of human trafficking,” said Rabbi Fryer Bodzin, of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism in Queens, New York. “And I was certainly unaware that a 20-something Jewish woman from the Upper West Side could be a victim of sex trafficking.”
The one-day session lit a fire. Since then, the rabbi has written Op-Eds on the topic; given sermons on human trafficking; and served as co-chair of the Rabbinical Assembly Taskforce on Human Trafficking, educating other rabbis about the issue.
“As Jews we’re supposed to look after those less fortunate,” says Rabbi Fryer Bodzin. “Today, I speak out about this issue and look out more, aware of the fact that there are many people under our noses who may in fact be victims of human trafficking.”
Modern Orthodox women are encouraged to become doctors, lawyers, and professors. But attaining a position of leadership within their religious communities has long been unattainable since there was no way for women to hold the highest position: rabbi.
Thanks to Yeshivat Maharat, women who wish to become leaders in the Orthodox community can study to become clergywomen. By receiving ordination, women like Dasi will be able to perform at the highest level in their communities.
“I could have become a program officer at a shul, but that isn’t quite my dream,” says Dasi. “My dream is to create a spiritual community and to orchestrate and guide a congregation and community through the process of spiritual development.”
At Yeshivat Maharat, Dasi, class of 2016, will spend four years immersed in Talmudic scholarship and pastoral training.
“Four years of Talmudic learning was never available before to women,” Dasi says. “Now I can combine my leadership with my scholarship.”
Drawn to social justice work, Dasi said that she looks forward to becoming an ordained clergywoman so that she can gain the respect and the power needed for maximum impact.
“Having worked in social justice I saw that it was the clergy that had the authority,” Dasi says. “Now, thanks to Yeshivat Maharat I can become a member of the clergy and lead with that same level of authority.”
Jewish girls and boys are benefiting from your GENDEROSITY. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to Moving Traditions, an organization that helps Jewish girls and boys blossom into strong, confident adults.
What prevents young women from protesting sexist treatment? Why do young men feel pressured to be sexually active before they are ready? Why do college students engage in sexual activity that they may not feel they truly consented to?
According to many experts, the problem lies in our highly sexualized culture, which undermines teenagers’ confidence and strips them of a sense of control over their bodies and behavior.
Moving Traditions is trying to change this. Through their Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girls’ Thing! and Shevet Achim program for boys Moving Traditions uses Jewish texts and learning to empower boys and girls to think critically and confront the many messages about sex and sexuality they receive, often long before they feel sexually mature. The impact is lasting.
Becky spent her teenage years attending a Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girls’ Thing program through her synagogue. Over the years, her group discussed issues from dating and divorce to sex and sexuality, all moderated by a Jewish woman who used religious texts as a jumping off point.
“Up until Rosh Hodesh, Jewish learning was all about Moses and Noah and Jonah,” Becky says. “Thinking about Miriam as a person, not just Moses’ sidekick, was pretty amazing.”
Digging into Judaism from a woman’s perspective gave Becky license to see women in a new light and to talk about their own problems and struggles as Jewish women. This helped Becky to build up her sense of self-respect and self-worth.
Now a sophomore at Cornell University, Becky says that she regularly draws on the lessons she learned through Rosh Hodesh as she confronts the challenges of dating and sex in college. From frat parties where she keeps a protective eye on her friends to intimate situations in which she is not entirely comfortable, Becky says she is aware of her power to say no and to avoid compromising situations.
“I love Cornell, but there are huge social pressures,” says Becky, who is majoring in pre-med and Spanish. “Thanks to Rosh Hodesh, I walk into situations with a degree of confidence I don’t see in my peers.”
Your GENDEROSITY ensures that Orthodox girls, many of whom marry right after high school, have the skills they need to develop healthy relationships and marriages. Thanks to your help, JWFNY provided a grant to the Shalom Task Force for its relationship education program, which teaches girls how to nurture strong ties to family, friends, and spouses.
Marriage is never easy, and for young girls who marry after high school navigating this complex emotional terrain can be overwhelming.
But Gitta, a high school senior, says she feels much more confident thanks to a relationship education course sponsored by the Shalom Task Force in partnership with the Safe Foundation.
“Now, I know how to communicate my feelings,” says Gitta, an honors student who loves studying halacha (Jewish law), Hebrew, and faith.
Gitta says that the 8-hour program taught her how to identify and address her feelings and prepared her for “a lot of things that are coming my way,” such as marriage.
Although Gitta does not yet know whether she will choose to marry after high school or head to college and a career as a social worker, she says that whenever she does marry she will be ready.
“The program taught me how to have a good, open relationship and how to assess whether someone respects you,” Gitta says. “For example, when you go out on a date with someone, you should pay attention to how they talk to people, such as the waiter. Do they speak respectfully? If not, that’s a warning sign that they might not treat you well either.”
Through the program, Gitta says she gained the confidence to demand the respect and the love she believes she deserves, a lesson that will accompany her through her life.
Women in Israel are feeling the impact of your GENDEROSITY. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to Olim Beyahad (Immigrants Together), an organization that helps often disenfranchised Ethiopian Israeli women to get the training, support, and encouragement they need to attain jobs that are commensurate with their education and skills.
Ethiopian Israelis face many social, political, and educational disadvantages. The education gap between Ethiopian Israelis and the general Jewish population continues to grow, contributing to a severe disparity in earnings.
In the workforce, even the most highly educated Ethiopians face barriers that make it hard to attain good jobs and rise through the managerial ranks.
So when Bat-sheva, 37, learned that there was a program designed for ambitious Ethiopian women like herself to get ahead in their careers, she jumped.
“Before I joined Olim Beyahad, I was working with youth in my community,” says Bat-sheva. “But I wanted something different, something more.”
Through Olim Beyahad, Bat-sheva learned how to interview for positions, discovered her strengths, and gained an understanding of how to be a leader.
“In Israel people think that Ethiopians are less good, they don’t let us raise our heads,” Bat-sheva says. “But Olim Beyahad taught me a lot about how to overcome this to go for what I wanted.”
Today, Bat-sheva is an elementary school teacher with ambitions of working for the Ministry of Education. Her goal is put an end to the rampant discrimination against Ethiopians in the school system.
“People think that Ethiopians lower the standards, but I want to change this perception,” Bat-sheva says. “I want to work up to a managerial position within the Ministry of Education so that I can fight for equality and justice.”
Your GENDEROSITY is propelling women into lives of opportunity and independence. Thanks to you, a JWFNY grant to Footsteps supported a program that prepared formerly ultra-Orthodox women to build careers in the professional fields of their choosing. Through this extraordinary program, women from gender-segregated ultra-Orthodox communities were able to make the leap to the secular workplace.
Every year hundreds of courageous women make the often difficult decision to leave the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in which they were raised. But the transition from an insular, gender-segregated world to one of infinite choices is full of potential pitfalls.
One of the biggest obstacles women face is figuring out how to develop a career and achieve financial independence.
“Even before I decided to stop being religious, I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, secretary, or sales girl – the only options for Hasidic girls in my community in Borough Park,” said Sara, 23. “But I didn’t have any idea of what I could actually do and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my options.”
Although no one in her family went to college, Sara graduated with a 3.8 GPA from Touro College with a degree in psychology. Graduate school beckoned, but first she needed some fieldwork, a prospect that scared her.
She turned to Footsteps’ Women’s Career Empowerment Program, a specialized program that trains formerly ultra-Orthodox women in the hard and soft skills they need to navigate their way in the work world.
“I wanted to do an internship at Columbia University, working on an HIV research project, but I was intimidated by the doctors and other professionals. I felt out of place and had no idea how to act,” says Sara.
“Once I got into the Footsteps’ program I knew I couldn’t chicken out.”
Sara says that through the Women’s Empowerment Program she was paired with a mentor and received training that helped her build her confidence and shine in her new position.
What started out as a summer internship, turned into a full-year position. In addition, Sara is also working at Riker’s Island with mentally ill female inmates and preparing to apply to doctoral programs. Her goal is to one day have her own private practice, counseling people with sexual issues.
Your GENDEROSITY ensures that women throughout New York City have the skills they need for a lifetime of economic self-sufficiency. With your help, JWFNY was able to provide a grant to the Jewish Child Care Association to train mostly Russian and Bukharan Jewish émigrés to turn home-based day cares into thriving businesses.
When Ester Matatov graduated college with a degree in education she knew she wanted to work with children. She also wanted to own a business. So she put her passions together and opened a home-based day care.
But the early days were difficult.
“I had only six kids enrolled and I didn’t know how to set up the space or run my financials,” said Ester, who emigrated from Bukhara, Uzbekistan eight years ago, at the age of 17.
She learned about the Family Day Care program and decided to enroll. Through the program, Ester learned how to organize her educational materials and toys; comply with health and safety regulations; augment her home to facilitate recruitment; improve her curriculum; and keep her books.
Ester saw an immediate improvement in business. Within a few months, her struggling day care had a full roster of 12 kids, ages 10 months to 3.5 years old, with 12 more on the waiting list.
Today, Ester’s Day Care is a thriving family-run business. Both her mom, who had worked as a hairdresser for 25 years, and sister joined the enterprise. Ester credits their success to the program, which she says amounts to a win-win-win: As a provider she gained economic independence while the mostly Bukharan children in her care benefit from a culturally sensitive environment and the parents can go off to work, knowing that their small children are well-cared for.
Ester is now thinking about her next step: expansion.
“I am thinking about opening a bigger center or another branch,” Ester said. “I am very motivated to grow.”
GENDEROSITY is helping women overcome significant obstacles in the pursuit of economic autonomy. Thanks to your support, JWFNY was able to make a grant that enabled the Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst to provide support and education to hundreds of Russian women immigrants seeking to find a job or start a small business.
When Dana first arrived in New York from Moscow nine years ago, she considered herself fortunate.
An electrical engineer by training, Dana was able to find good work testing software. But when the economy crashed in 2008, she lost her job and fell on hard times.
Unable to find work in her field, she picked up jobs here and there, but as a middle-aged woman her prospects for steady, full-time employment were bleak.
“It was very difficult for me, both financially and emotionally,” says Dana.
That’s when she decided to enroll in Women to Women, a program that provides intensive case management to women seeking job training and education, resume assistance, leadership development, networking, computer skills, and mentoring. In addition, Women to Women provides hands-on help to women seeking to start their own businesses.
For Dana, the opportunity to start her own business offered the most hope.
“My field is not stable anymore,” Dana says. “If I want stability I need to create it for myself.”
Through Women to Women, Dana took courses where she learned how to build websites as well as a business. She is now planning to start a business that connects her love of technology with her desire for economic independence.
“I couldn’t have done anything without these courses – I wouldn’t have had this knowledge,” Dana says. “Now I can build my own business and it’s close to my specialty.
“Thanks to the Women to Women program, I am optimistic about the future,” she says.
Your GENDEROSITY financially empowers women when they are most vulnerable. Thanks to your support, JWFNY provided a grant to Sharsheret to develop and distribute a Financial Wellness Tool Kit that helps women to get their financial houses in order as they battle life-threatening illnesses.
With one in 40 Jews of Eastern European descent carrying a BRCA gene mutation – nearly 10 times the rate of the general population – Jewish families are significantly more susceptible to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
That means they are also significantly more familiar with the financial burdens such life-threatening illnesses cause.
In 2011, when Eliana was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of her biggest fears was whether her illness would devastate her family’s financial health. As the primary breadwinner, Eliana, a pharmacist and mother of two boys ages 7 and 10, had overseen her family’s finances. But when she got sick she realized she had a lot more organizing to do.
“I needed to know that my finances were in order so that I could go into treatment with the confidence that my family was provided for,” Eliana says.
Eliana decided she wanted to get a handle on all of her assets and liabilities, gain a better understanding of her disability and insurance rights, and complete her estate planning. With surgery and treatment looming, her long to-do list felt overwhelming. How would she gather all of the information she needed to get organized?
“The financial issues caused so much extra stress immediately before my first surgery,” Eliana says. “I really had no idea how to answer all of the questions swimming in my head.”
Fortunately, she turned to Sharsheret, which provided Eliana with their Financial Wellness Tool Kit, a system designed to help people tend to the financial and insurance issues that emerge during a health crisis.
Thanks to the Tool Kit, Eliana had resources on everything from disability rights to financial planning at her fingertips. Using the Tool Kit, Eliana successfully organized her bank accounts and investments, managed her health and disability insurance, and established an estate plan.
“I am so grateful for the Tool Kit. It gave me the sense of calm and control I desperately needed,” Eliana says. “It empowered me and helped me to tend to my own and my family’s financial needs.”
Your GENDEROSITY is helping women to become leaders in the fight against injustice and inequality. Thanks to you, a JWFNY grant to AVODAH funded a program that educates young Jewish activists, 90% of whom are women, to understand how poverty affects women and children. After working in the field as AVODAH corps members for a year, these activists continue their careers in social change with the aim of becoming tomorrow’s leaders.
The poverty rate in America stands at 15%, with women and children often the most severely affected. The high poverty rate correlates to a host of problems, including homelessness, drug abuse, and incarceration.
Jewish women are emerging as future leaders in the fight against economic and social injustice.
After a college course exposed her to the lives of incarcerated women, Ariela became a corps member with AVODAH, an organization that places young Jewish activists in anti-poverty organizations for a year while providing educational and leadership-development tools. A Jewish communal living component shores up the experience.
During her placement with the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn,
Ariela helped advocate for alternative solutions to jail for her clients who had been
convicted of drug-related offenses.
“A lot of women in the criminal justice system have a history of abuse and trauma.
Offering them treatment, especially mental health treatment, is usually a better
alternative than incarceration,” Ariela says.
When she was not at the office or in court on behalf of a client, Ariela was studying
poverty and gender issues during weekly program nights; learning to make her voice heard through op-ed writing; exploring the connection between Jewish values and the fight against poverty; and building relationships with her cadre of AVODAH corps members.
Today, she is continuing in the social justice field, working as an advocate for people facing eviction.
“AVODAH put me in the trenches and then gave me the support – as a woman, as a
Jew, and as an activist – to build a career as an anti-poverty professional,” Ariela
Your GENDEROSITY is saving lives around the world. Through our Isha Koach program, JWFNY is providing funds to Jewish women social entrepreneurs working to improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. A JWFNY Isha Koach grant to Muso provided the funds needed to train Community Health Workers in Mali, the first line of defense in the war against preventable deaths.
In 2012, more than 6.5 million children globally died before their fifth birthday. Many died unnecessarily from diseases that are preventable if detected and treated early.
Muso is working to deliver proven and inexpensive life-saving tools to communities in Mali, where child mortality rates are among the highest in the world.
Last year, Binta, a 10-month-old girl, was suffering from abdominal pain, a cough, conjunctivitis, and a fever. Unbeknownst to Binta’s mother, Fatoumata, the baby was suffering from malaria.
Fortunately, Penda Dembele, a Community Health Worker trained by Muso, was making her rounds. Upon arriving at Binta’s home, she immediately knew that Binta needed urgent care. She accompanied Binta and Fatoumata to the local health clinic where the baby was successfully treated.
“This work brings me to every door in my community, allowing me to link my neighbors to healthcare,” says Penda. “Since starting my work with Muso, I have noticed cleaner home environments and less illness.”
And like Penda, the community is also grateful.
“Community Health Workers are amazing,” Fatoumata says. “They are always available and patient, helping everyone in the community access healthcare.”
Your GENDEROSITY is felt both near and far. JWFNY Isha Koach funds Jewish women social entrepreneurs who founded and lead organizations that serve the world’s most vulnerable women and children. A JWFNY Isha Koach grant to goods for good allowed for the establishment of a women-operated chicken farm that is generating enough revenue to support a community of orphans.
Musa, a single mother of four in rural Malawi, loves children, especially the hundreds of orphans who regularly visit the Ufulu community center where she volunteers.
But love will only get the orphans so far. Without the means to access food, healthcare, and education, they cannot thrive.
In Malawi, where 1 out of every 4 people is an orphaned or vulnerable child, the need for creative solutions is dire.
That is where the chickens come in. Through goods for good the Ufulu community is building a women-operated poultry business to finance orphan care programs, create jobs, and boost the economy.
“As a mother, I dream of seeing my kids and all of the orphans of Ufulu well-dressed, fed, and educated,” said Musa, who now works at the chicken farm. “Because of the Ufulu poultry business, that day is near.”
Your GENDEROSITY is rippling through communities across New York City. Thanks to you, we are able to provide funds that go directly toward helping Jewish women become economically self-sufficient. A JWFNY grant to the Hebrew Free Loan Society funded a program that helps Haredi women in Borough Park and Williamsburg to gain the skills they need to contribute to their family’s financial stability.
Poverty is endemic in the Hasidic community, with more than 40% of families qualifying as poor. Low rates of higher education make it difficult for members of the community to attain the level of income needed to sustain traditionally large Orthodox families.
Take Pearl. After completing a religious high school, Pearl took a job in a furniture store. After several years, she realized that if she was going to support her growing family she would have to strike out on her own. She had dreams of opening a children’s clothing store, but was not sure how to go about it.
“I spent about eight years working in a store, but I knew that I needed to learn a lot more about business to become a business owner,” said Pearl, a 29-year-old mother of three.
Pearl enrolled in the Haredi Women’s Business Training Course and received the education she needed to start her own business. Besides attaining hard skills in topics ranging from marketing to business financials, Pearl also developed the “soft skills” needed for tasks such as managing customer and vendor relationships.
As the owner of Le Bambini, a home-based children’s clothing store, Pearl now enjoys a great deal of success. Her store is popular and she is generating more revenue than she anticipated.
“If it hadn’t been for the training it would have taken me much, much longer to get my business off the ground and I would have made a lot of mistakes,” Pearl said. “Today, I feel confident in what I am doing and I just keep looking forward.”
If you would like to find out more about how you can join JWFNY, please contact Jamie Allen Black at 212-836-1106. To make a gift to JWFNY’s GENDEROSITY campaign click here.