Evelyn R. Greene leaves over $6 million to the Jewish Federation

Endowment gifts boost legal aid, women & girls

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An extraordinarily generous legacy gift from Evelyn Ross Greene to the Jewish Federation of Chicago will strengthen the lives of people in need and Jewish women and girls.

Through her estate, Greene created two endowment funds to benefit JUF's Community Legal Services and the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. 

The gift to benefit JUF Community Legal Services--which will be renamed JUF Evelyn R. Greene Legal Services, effective April 1, 2020--will expand the general operation of the legal clinic. The program provides people in need with free legal assistance in civil cases, from bankruptcy, housing, and family law to wills, powers of attorney, and estates/probate guardianship.

"We see the incredible difference it makes to provide families in crisis with access to free and much-needed legal representation," said Selwyn Skevin, Chair of JUF Evelyn R. Greene Legal Services. "This program provides a critical safety net for our community."

SHALVA's legal services also will be expanded. In fiscal year 2020, SHALVA received a one-year JUF Poverty Grant to pilot Legal Services program enhancements, which successfully expanded the role of SHALVA's Legal Liaison to include legal representation and direct client advocacy. This new funding will enable these services to continue going forward.

"SHALVA clients face incredibly complex legal issues that intertwine with their abuse history, and often need multi-faceted legal services," Skevin said.  "Evelyn Greene's generous gift will enable us to provide these critical services for an additional five to 15 cases per year. This will make a pivotal difference in the lives of survivors of domestic violence." 

In more wide-ranging ways, the Jewish Women's Foundation also is dedicated to benefiting the lives of Jewish women and girls. 

"JWF is building a future where all Jewish women and girls are equally valued partners in every aspect of the Jewish community and around the world," said Sheri Hokin, Chair of the JWF Board of Trustees. "The Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago works with trustees, grantees, community partners, and other stakeholders to advance these objectives through strategic grantmaking and advocacy.

"In recognition of Evelyn's generous gift, the position of the Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Foundation will be named the Evelyn R. Greene Office of the Executive Director, Jewish Women's Foundation," Hokin said.  

Greene was a world traveler who traversed the globe, from Antarctica to the North Pole to the Himalayas; an adventurer who crossed the Sahara Desert on camelback and stayed in an Ashram in India for a month. She was particularly inspired by a transformative year spent living in Israel. 

Jewish Women's Foundation trustees and staff travel to Israel once every three years on a trip that views Israel through a gender lens, focusing on key issues facing women and girls, visiting grantees, and meeting with feminist leaders and change-makers. 

"To honor both Evelyn's lifelong passion for travel and her commitment to advancing opportunities for Jewish women and girls, the JWF Mission will now be known as the Evelyn R. Greene Women's Study Tour of Israel," Hokin said.  "This will add special meaning to our next trip in February 2021."

Greene, a lifelong Chicagoan, died in 2018 at age 96. In addition to her dedication to the Jewish community and love for travel, Greene was devoted to the arts. A gifted musician, she attended Belmont School of Music in Nashville and taught piano and music. Greene earned her Ph.D. in the harpsichord at 79.

"She was an extraordinary woman, on so many levels," said Jewish Federation President Lonnie Nasatir.

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