2019 Jewish Women’s Foundation grants top $425,000

Funds dedicated to transforming the lives of Jewish women and girls

The first retrospective exhibition on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

Training female medics as first responders. 

Sexual harassment awareness for companies and universities around Israel.  

These are just a few of the 30 projects that will be supported in the year ahead by the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF), which awarded its annual grants for 2019 in December.  

The total distributions of $425,550-the largest in JWF's history-include $307,000 in grants to 20 different projects in Chicago, Israel and around the world, along with 10 additional grants totaling $118,550 through JWF's Ellie Fund, established by founding lifetime trustee Ellen H. Block. Sixteen grants represent new funding and 14 are renewal grants. 

"JWF is proud to be part of a national funding movement to invest in the unique and urgent needs of women and girls," said Ellen Carmell, Executive Director.   

An independent project of JUF, JWF brings together more than 370 women as its trustees, including 50 multigenerational families.

"Each and every JWF trustee has a seat and vote at our philanthropic table, enabling the foundation to collectively effect positive, lasting social change for Jewish women and girls," said JWF Chair Sheri Hokin. "It is thanks to their enormous generosity that, since its founding in 1997, JWF has awarded more than 400 grants totaling nearly $4.7 million to projects striving to transform the lives of women and girls." 

This year's new grant recipients include:  

Economic Security/Legal Reform   

  • Adva Center:  Empowering the Empowerers
    Provides the requisite support and skills to enable mayoral advisors on gender equality to advance tangible changes. 
  • Ma'ase Center Association:  Women's Leadership Training from Pre-Army to College Age
    Lends structure and support to marginalized Israeli teens to increase their economic mobility.
  • Olim Beyahad:  Employment, Empowerment, and Leadership for Ethiopian Israeli Women
    Helps integrate Ethiopian Israeli university graduates into the forefront of the workforce.   

Education/Leadership Development   

  • Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois:  Notorious RBG: The Life & Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    The first retrospective exhibition on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with related programs.
  • Metro Chicago Hillel:  Women and Judaism
    Expands Silverstein Base Hillel's Women and Judaism pilot learning series. 
  • The Rosh Pina Mainstreaming Network (dba Kaleidoscope):  Early Childhood Educators as Leaders of Diversity Education
    Fosters cultural acceptance among students, parents, and educators in Arab and Jewish school communities across Israel and around the world.  
  • Yaacov Herzog Center:  Midreshet Roni-A New Tzahali Program Prepares observant young Jewish Israeli women for successful army service.   

Health & Well-Being   

  • Tahel-Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children:  Digital Infrastructure for Victim Support Services
    Capacity-building for a customized database to enable more in-depth tracking, sophisticated interventions and streamlined services.  
  • The Eden Center:  General Operating Support
    Advances tolerance, mutual responsibility, and inclusiveness at the mikveh and connects women to medical resources within the Jewish community. 
  • United Hatzalah of Israel:  Women Helping Women-Promoting Community-Based Volunteer Citizen-Responders
    Increases the number of female volunteers trained as medics.   

The Ellie Fund  

  • Hasharon Sexual Assault Crisis Center:  It's Your Business
    Expands workplace sexual harassment and awareness program to additional companies and universities around Israel.  
  • UICJohn Marshall Law School:   Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic
    Prepares law students to represent survivors seeking orders of protection, immigration relief, and family law assistance.  
  • Itach Maaki Women Lawyers for Social Justice:  City For All
    Develops women's groups in the municipalities of Acco, Carmiel, and Haifa to advance women's issues. 
  • Midwest Access Coalition:  Helping Women Access Safe and Legal Abortions Financial support for women throughout the Midwest who are seeking abortions, as well as advocacy surrounding reproductive justice and access. 
  • Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA):  Agunah Prevention Initiative  
    A multifaceted campaign to provide Jewish women and girls in Chicago with the knowledge and support to protect themselves against get-refusal.


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