JWFNY’s advocacy efforts broaden the scope of our work and complement our grantmaking. Each year we hold discussions with experts in various political and social fields, research the needs of our grantee partners, and evaluate how our advocacy efforts can bring the Foundation closer to achieving its mission.
Supporting Our Grantees: Partnering for Success
The programming of JWFNY’s grantee partners is unique and forward thinking, and we advocate on behalf of their work to further show the importance and need for their programs.
We meet with our grantee partners to determine how we can actively support their work. We connect them with other leaders in their particular field, provide them with the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices with other grantee partners, and enhance their program outreach. By strengthening their individual programs, the Foundation is working toward its unified mission of creating a healthier and more supportive environment for women and girls in the Jewish community.
All of JWFNY’s grantee organizations utilize advocacy work in their programs to influence social change. In particular, a current grant to A Better Balance raises Jewish women’s awareness of policies that support working families and provides information on how to identify policy gaps and improve workplace practices. Another grant to Jews for Racial and Economic Justice organizes seniors and homecare workers to mobilize around their mutual interests and change home care industry practices and standards from the ground up.
Supporting Our Community: Women in the Workplace
Many of the Foundation’s grants provide women with greater access to jobs and job training. We advocate for fair workplace policies and practices to further support women in their occupations and their opportunity for growth. We support paid sick days, family leave and fair workplace policies.
When determining grant recipients, JWFNY places great importance on organizations’ parental leave and flexible schedule policies. The percentage of women represented on the board of directors and among the leadership staff are also vital components.
We have been an ongoing supporter of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP), an organization that promotes the leadership of women within Jewish communal institutions. Most recently, JWFNY funded the AWP conference Changing the Future, Now! that took place in October 2013. More than 100 professionals and leaders from across the country collaborated on how to carry the work of gender equity into the next decade and beyond, closing the gender gap for good – and for the good of the Jewish community.
New York Women’s Equality Coalition
As a member of the New York Women’s Equality Coalition, we support the 10-Point Women’s Equality Act proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State Address. The first point of this act is to strengthen laws that require equal pay for equal work. Passing the Women’s Equality Act, specifically the first point, would make the New York equal pay law stronger, outlaw workplace wage secrecy policies and increase damages available to a prevailing litigant to 300% of unpaid wages.
Equal Pay Coalition NYC
JWFNY is a member of the New York Women’s Agenda Equal Pay Coalition NYC, a consortium of civic organizations, advocates and experts working together for pay equity in New York. Through this coalition, JWFNY participates in Equal Pay Day NYC, advocates for the New York State Fair Pay Act and supports legislation on all levels that promotes equal pay.
Supporting Human Rights: Sex Trafficking as Modern Day Slavery
Sex trafficking, or selling a person for sex, is a $32 billion industry. The average age of a girl trafficked for sex is between 12 and 14 years of age, and currently over 290,000 children in America are at risk of becoming domestic sex trafficking victims. As Jewish people and as women, we have a historical and moral obligation to combat sex trafficking.
JWFNY co-sponsored and helped plan the April 2013 conference, We Were Slaves: The Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking. Over 250 rabbis and rabbinical students; human services, legal and medical professionals; and lay leaders explored the issue of sex trafficking through the lens of our once enslaved ancestors, learned essential information about the current sex trafficking industry and developed skills to advocate on behalf of this issue in the Jewish community and beyond.
The Foundation will continue to fund and help develop events such as this, which inform people on this issue and mobilize the Jewish community to bring an end to sex trafficking.