Members of The Collective approach intractable problems in innovative ways. JWFNY gets behind those innovations, often advocating on behalf of the individuals and communities served. JWFNY advocacy begins with our grantee partners and donors, and reaches out to include City, State, National, and International organizations. We engage in education and outreach by holding events throughout the year for the community-at-large. We learn from extraordinary experts about a wide range of subjects, such as: creating an inclusive Jewish community, supporting Jewish women social entrepreneurs, and combatting abuses of power.
Most Recent Advocacy Activities
Sexual Harassment and Abuses of Power
- Revealing #metoo As #wetoo in Jewish Communal Life
On the evening of January 25th, nearly 300 communal professionals, lay leaders and members of the public convened for a town hall. The event, initiated by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York with the generous support of the Cornell/Weinstein Family Foundation and with 30 co-sponsors, addressed, and strived to end, abuses of power that have led to sexual harassment in the Jewish community. This event served as the launch of creating a code of ethics and professional conduct for our community. Read coverage of the event in The New York Jewish Week, eJewish Philanthropy, and Lilith. Watch video recordings from the event: 1) Stories of Harassment and Abuse, and 2) Conversation with Experts.
- Good, Better, Best: Preventing Harassment through Competence & Commitment
On December 13th JWFNY, along with two other funders, sponsored the first of a series of trainings for Jewish communal board members and high-level professionals on gender abuse and harassment in the Jewish community. We brought in Fran Sepler, who created the training curriculum used by the EEOC and she is knowledgeable and sensitive to the specific issues related to the Jewish community. Ten diverse New York-based organizations self-selected to spend the day looking at creating harassment policies, ensuring ethical compliance, and utilizing best practices.
- Sexual Harassment is Not a Jewish Value
JWFNY Executive Director, Jamie Allen Black, co-authored an article with Naomi Eisenberger, Executive Director of The Good People Fund that shares how our organizations started talking “about gender power dynamics” in Jewish institutions. No matter what we may choose to see or believe – we are not immune to it. Jane Eisner also explored this issue in her editorial in The Forward.
Jewish Women Social Entrepreneurs
- Change: Powered by Women, Inspired by Jewish Values
On January 30th JWFNY, along with UpStart, hosted a panel of Jewish women social entrepreneurs to share how they started innovative organizations solving pressing issues. Aliza Mazor of UpStart moderated with panelists Shira Berkovitz, Esq. Ph.D. of Sacred Spaces, Ilana Ruskay-Kidd of The Shefa School, and Rachel Zaslow of Mother Health International. Sixty guests listened as these leaders advised the audience to listen to the needs of the community, surround themselves with other strong women, and tune out naysayers. Five additional social entrepreneurs led small group conversations about the role of gender in social entrepreneurship. Participants reported leaving inspired to get involved and excited about the future of female entrepreneurship.
Supporting our Donors
- May the Work of Your Heart be Lasting
On October 25th, JWFNY partnered with the Jewish Communal Fund to bring together 70 women and men of all ages to learn about and work on ethical wills or forever letters – a centuries-old Jewish custom of formally sharing values, blessings, life lessons, hopes and dreams with family, friends and community. We had the opportunity to connect our personal passions and values with our philanthropic giving. We also came away with a tool to pass on our values and beliefs to those we love. Participants reported back that writing their letter allowed them to get in touch with how sharing what is important to them is as important as how they do so. Access resources on aligning your giving with your values and forever letters, and a reflection from JWFNY Associate Director Stephanie Blumenkranz on the JWFNY blog.
Supporting Our Grantees
- Fundraising: Attaining and Sustaining Donors
In response to feedback from grantees, we offered an afternoon of training for current and recent grantee partners on soliciting major gifts from individual donors. Facilitated by Nancy Schwartz Sternoff, JWFNY Board Member and Principal at G&S Consultants, 20 executive directors and senior development professionals strengthened their skills in attaining and sustaining individual donors, and how to implement the structures, systems, methodology, and strategies needed for successful fundraising. Attendees explored ways to further engage their board of directors in the fundraising process, and re-familiarize themselves with the necessary skills to grow their organizations.
Unity and Inclusion in the Jewish Community
- Power Breakfast
On September 13th, 20 JWFNY members, including Jewish women of color, joined us for an informal breakfast geared toward continuing JWFNY’s commitment to ensure diversity in our grantmakers. Structured conversation was led by Yavilah McCoy, Executive Director of DIMENSIONS Inc.
- Organizational Sponsor for Together at the Table
Following violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA in August, we partnered with OneTable, Repair the World, the Schusterman Foundation, and many others inTogether at the Table. Over 20 organizations came together to mobilize a grassroots movement of Shabbat dinners across the country dedicated to celebrating diversity, equality, and inclusion in the face of fear, division, and hate. The Dinner Guide and Conversation Guides are helpful in spurring conversation to support the fight against anti-Semitism and dialogue toward justice, understanding, and peace.
Ending Human Trafficking
- Sign-On to Jewish Statement of Values
On January 11th, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we joined with other organizations in the Jewish Coalition Against Trafficking to create a Jewish Statement of Values about ending human trafficking. The statement outlines a vision for the fight against human trafficking, condemns all forms of trafficking, reaffirms the dignity and rights of trafficking survivors, and urges Congress and the president to support survivors.
- New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition
We are a supporter and member of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, a coalition to increase public awareness of human trafficking in our communities, enact anti-trafficking laws, improve law enforcement response, and increase social services to help women and girls escape trafficking.
- Women’s March on NYC
On Saturday, January 20th, JWNFY partook in the Women’s March in NYC as a part of the Jewish contingent, led by The Workmen’s Circle. We started off 2018 by marching collectively with the Jewish community to advocate for a world where there is equality and fairness for all, and human rights and dignities are protected. We marched for gender justice, social diversity, and inclusion.
- PowHer NY
We are a founding member of PowHer NY, a network of organizations and individuals that come together to accelerate economic fairness for New York women.