Mission and Vision

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York imagines a world in which all women and girls are ensured a healthy and supportive environment…a world in which we all have equal opportunity for economic, religious, social, and political achievement.

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York works to make this world a reality by providing education on vital issues, funding innovative programs, engaging in advocacy efforts, and encouraging our members to view all philanthropic giving through a Jewish and gender lens.

What We Do

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York’s leading voice and presence raises the consciousness of a broad-based community to the issues affecting women and girls. To achieve change, we provide organizations that are founded and/or run by exemplary women with a platform of support and guidance to help create and sustain social change programs with missions aligned with the goals of the Foundation. To supplement our grantmaking, JWFNY educates the community and advocates for policies that positively impact women and girls at the local, federal, and international level. JWFNY is uniquely positioned to create long lasting, systemic and impactful change. Members of JWFNY have the opportunity to hone and share their philanthropic voice to affect change in New York, Israel, and around the globe.

Herstory

Over two decades ago, the founders of JWFNY, were inspired by their desire to support Jewish women and girls. They realized that traditional funding sources in the Jewish community were not being funneled to advance the standing of women and girls in need in the community and they not only sought a remedy, they envisioned the future of women’s philanthropy.

 The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York was created in order to increase opportunities for women and girls and challenge institutional barriers to achieving gender equality. Since 1995, JWFNY has awarded over $5 million to nearly 250 projects that address issues related to body image, teen dating violence, bullying, the “stained glass ceiling,” Jewish education, mental and physical health, leadership development, financial literacy, business skill training, and more. Through grantmaking, education, and advocacy, JWFNY has sought to create an environment of equality for women and girls in the areas of economic, religious, social, and political achievement.

 By the year 2005, only a decade into their work, they started to see a shift. Large organizations and small foundations had begun earmarking funds to support Jewish women and girls; the need was still great, and JWFNY members saw that what they started had become a movement. They asked themselves: Was enough funding now going to support Jewish women and girls? Could we be making more impact if we added issues related to this population in the secular community to our work?

To that end, in 2012, JWFNY created a giving circle called Isha Koah (Women of Strength) that filled a funding void in the Jewish community by giving special attention to organizations and projects conceived of by Jewish women social entrepreneurs in the developing world. This circle functioned alongside the grantmaking JWFNY continued in New York and in Israel.

 Focusing on secular issues that affected Jewish women and girls, JWFNY advocated in NYS for minimum requirements for paid parental leave. JWFNY was the first foundation in the United States to publicly declare that organizations without at least four weeks of paid parental leave need not apply for funding. This was a landmark decision—it meant that many organizations eligible in the past were no longer in the running. However, it also meant that organizations and the boards that govern them started to have conversations about these very topics. JWFNY helped organizations to develop parental leave policies to serve not only the parents, but the children as well.

 In 2017, after three rounds of global giving, the giving circle set their sights on visionary Jewish women creating solutions to challenges throughout the United States.

 In 2018, JWFNY turned its attention to focus on funding and nourishing Jewish women as social entrepreneurs and leaders – women using both a Jewish and gender lens to address intractable problems in New York, throughout the United States, in Israel, and around the world.

The People

Jamie Allen Black

Chief Executive Officer, oversees all activities of the Foundation including grantmaking, development, advocacy, and operations. She brings more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience to the Foundation, most recently as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Big Tent Judaism. There, she worked with the staff and Board to create inclusive and diverse Jewish communities throughout North America. Jamie also served as the Director of Strategic Planning, Communications and Training at Hadassah, where she mentored and trained professionals and Board members with development portfolios and created and implemented a multi-year strategic fundraising plan with innovative strategies for increasing donor participation. Jamie was a founding Board member of A More Perfect Union—an organization serving women recovering from domestic violence, drug addiction, and homelessness in facilities in New York City and Westchester. Jamie graduated from New York University from which she was awarded the NYU Dean’s Alumni Award for Humanitarianism in 2010. She is a Board Member of the Elizabeth A. MacDonald Foundation and sings in the Community Choir at Central Synagogue.

Stephanie Blumenkranz

Associate Director, oversees the grantmaking process and is the architect for the training curriculum and support program offered to the Jewish women social entrepreneurs. She also partakes in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, marketing and events. Before working at JWFNY, Stephanie was an External Affairs Associate for the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, where she led national conferences, was assistant editor of the Institute’s largest publication and managed development & communications initiatives. She also has experience with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), as the Special Assistant to the Commissioner, where she analyzed grant proposals for ACS funding and was integral in the creation of the ACS educational web-portal. Stephanie obtained her Master’s degree in Education Policy from New York University and her undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Special Education from Vanderbilt University.

Rachel Siegel

Program Manager, oversees an exciting grants portfolio of Jewish women social entrepreneurs. She also manages the Foundation’s communications strategy and represents JWFNY in the Jewish Women’s Funding Network. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rachel received her Master of Science in Social Work with a focus in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University.  During her graduate studies Rachel completed an internship with UJA-Federation of New York where she aided in the grantmaking process for older adults, including a new initiative for voluntarism in the Baby Boomer cohort.  Earlier, Rachel served as the Marketing and Communications Assistant for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), where she was responsible for assisting with the organization’s marketing efforts and coordinated the staff and board delegation to the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly conference.  She also participated in the Jewish Communal Service Corps Fellowship at the Hillel in Philadelphia, where she was responsible for student engagement in Jewish life at Temple and Drexel Universities.  Rachel received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University.

Natasha Mayer

Financial & Administrative Coordinator, supports the Foundation in all of its functions, including grantmaking, development, advocacy, and day-to-day operations. Before joining the Foundation, Natasha worked as the Office Manager at the Law Offices of Michael G. Berger. While an undergraduate, she interned at the Brooklyn Public Library, where she supported programming at The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oberlin College, where she conducted research within the Psychology Department, and chaired the Oberlin Student Theater Association.

Executive Committee

Debbie Cosgrove, President
Avra Gordis, Vice President
Rachel Weinstein, Vice President
Aela Morgan, Secretary
Madeleine R. Grant, Treasurer
Miriam Caslow, Immediate Past President & Governance Chair

Board of Directors

Madelyn Bucksbaum Adamson
Loren Averick
Rachel Bluth
Kathryn Weg Brandt
Emily Gindi
Roberta Gordon
Sandra Lafer Greenberg
Elise Hahn-Rubin
Phyllis Herz
Shelly Mitchell
Melody Sawyer Richardson
Sheri Sandler
Julie R. Sissman
Diane Stern
Nancy Schwartz Sternoff

Honorary Board
(Founders & Past Presidents)

Frances Brandt
Madeline Caslow
Marilyn Gottlieb
Madeleine R. Grant
Fern Hurst
Betsy Landis
Klara Silverstein
Peggy Tishman z”l
Lynn Tobias
Arlene Wittels