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Thursday, November 5, 2015

UN Security Council Resolution 1325: 15 Years Later

Fifteen years ago, the UN adopted Security Resolution 1325, a landmark international legal framework that addresses not only the inordinate impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should and do play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace.  In 2005, Israel became the first member of the UN to create legislation based on this resolution by amending its 1951 Equality of Women's Rights Law.  Like many other measures in Israel, although a law is on the books, its implementation is another matter. 

Foundation grantee Itach-Maaki has been at the forefront of efforts in Israel to create a framework by which the government will enact this measure. Between 2012--14, it convened more than 30 women's organizations, activities, and academics from different backgrounds to create an action plan that was subsequently presented to the government.  In recognition of these efforts, Itach-Maaki was asked to present at the Peace Forum to Commemorate the 15th Anniversary UNSCR 1325, an international gathering in NYC, a stone's throw from the U.N.  Pictured above is the delegation from Itach-Maaki that spoke at last week's interfaith gathering, which was sponsored by a number of women's groups from across the religious spectrum.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grantee Spotlight: Latet Atid

Grantee Spotlight: Latet Atid

Latet is an organization that primarily deals with food insecurity among poor Israelis.  For the last several years, it has run another program, Latet Atid ("to give a future") that helps women with incomes near the poverty line create or expand micro businesses. Latet is the only organization in Israel that gives business training to these burgeoning entrepreneurs while also giving them access to microloans, as part of an arrangement it has with Leumi Bank. In addition to a microloan, each entrepreneur works closely with a mentor.

Tanya Lavi, an immigrant to Israel from South Africa, turned to Latet Atid to start a baking business. She and her husband, a native Israeli, ran a food business until he was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy in 2005. Since then, she has juggled taking care of him, and their five children. Although she has worked outside of the home, her income was not enough to support the household. Lavi was passionate about baking, received a scholarship to go to baking school, and reached out to Latet Atid for help with her nascent enterprise. She attributes much of her success to her mentor, Uri Ganari.  

"I had an idea of what I wanted to do but I didn't have enough money…I didn't even have the time or the energy to start exploring a change; I was sinking deeper and deeper. Baking was always a big hobby of mine. I would spend all day at a job I didn't enjoy and then spend all night baking cakes. Latet Atid helped me turn my hobby into a business.  I had a place; I had the skills, but not enough money. With their loan, I was able to renovate the caravan in the back of my house and turn it into a little cake studio, buy the equipment I needed, and advertise the business. I was also assigned a mentor to help me get my business off the ground. He helped me gain much needed business knowledge. He especially helped me with the finances and knowing how much to charge for my cakes. I would charge too little, and he would tell me, don't be afraid to charge more for your specialty and work time. Now, with the tools I gained from Latet Atid, I make twice as much as I would have made in my old job. Also, because I live next to Gaza, they gave me a 5000 NIS [$1250] grant, which I now use towards my tuition to study advanced patisserie. Latet Atid really gave me the big push forward I needed to turn this hobby into a successful business. 

Uri, my mentor  is a fountain of information, knowledge and experience, amazingly considerate, supportive, patient.....(and I can be exasperating) , instinctively knowing when to pressure me and when to take a step back, adapting our  pace to my not-so-conventional life situation  (5 young children, disabled husband, post-bankruptcy) but at the same time teaching and making me aware of aspects of business that I previously never even thought about and showing me how NOT to be afraid to charge for and earn money for my time and skills. I'm definitely richer for having him a part of this process and for making my dream come true!" 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Bittersweet Gathering

Yesterday and today marked the final gathering of Advancing Jewish Professionals and the Jewish Comminity.  Over the years, AWP has played a leading role in shaping conversations--and forcing change--in Jewish organizations.  AWP's exit plan is predicated on many organizations, such as the Hadassah Foundation, carrying on this important work.

Many friends and current and former grantees of the Foundation were at the gathering, including former Board Chair, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, pictured above. Grantee Shalom Hartman Institute--North America also shared their new curriculum on leadership with the group.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grantee Spotlight: AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, strengthens the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States by engaging participants in service and community building that inspire them to become lifelong leaders for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.

Ariel Schneider, a social worker, is an alumnae of AVODAH who participated in AVODAH’s Women Leading Together (AWLT) Program, a career and leadership development program for early career AVODAH alumnae that is supported by the Hadassah Foundation. The program enables participants to develop a career and leadership strategy, engage in career and leadership coaching, and participate in immersive long-term small group peer coaching. The entire program is virtual, enabling AVODAH to serve young women from across the country.

“AWLT was such a wonderful opportunity! I was given the tools, space, and guidance to take a step back from my daily grind and examine my longer-term goals. Being part of an AVODAH alum cohort added to the richness of the experience because I was able to get specific feedback from strong, career-driven women who share many of my values and interest in social change work. I often felt energized and inspired after connecting with other participants, especially my "thought and sustenance partner" with whom I had weekly check-ins to keep each accountable and engaged. I now have a "mission statement" or mantra that speaks to how and why I want to engage in the world in addition to a five-year vision statement that informs even some of my small, daily career and life choices. It feels good to have some clear direction as well as deep new connections to other AVODAH alum leaders!”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hadassah Foundation Awards $150,000 to Five US Organizations

We are excited to announce that The Hadassah Foundation has given $150,000 in grants to five American organizations that strengthen the leadership develop skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women.  With this latest round of grants, the Foundation has awarded a total of $450,000 to Israeli and American group in 2015, up from $360,000 awarded in 2014. Since 2000, approximately $6.8 million has been awarded to more than 80 nonprofit organizations.

This new set of grants to organizations in the United States is part of the Foundation's multi-year initiative—inaugurated last year—to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women in the United States. Three of the 2015 grantees are receiving a renewal grant for their program, and two are first-time grantees.

"We are proud to invest in the leadership abilities of young Jewish women," said Suzanne Offit, chair of the Hadassah Foundation.  "We want to shine a bright light on the needs and capabilities of the next generation of Jewish leadership, and in particular, the specific needs of Jewish girls and young women."

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, $28,200

AVODAH Women Leading Together (AWLT) is a career and leadership development program for early career AVODAH alumnae (ages 25-30) that enables participants to develop a career and leadership strategy, engage in career and leadership coaching, and participate in immersive long-term small group peer coaching.

Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, $33,200 

The JCRC's Long Island office created the Girls LEAD program, a leadership development program for Jewish, female teens from the Five Towns community.  Working in concert with the JCC of the Greater Five Towns, and the Women's Fund of Long Island, this program develops the teens' personal leadership skills, and strengthens their leadership abilities through consensus building, philanthropy and volunteerism as they learn about, and select, a local organization for a grant, and then provide hands-on service to the organization.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego, $35,200

The JFS of San Diego's Girls Give Back program educates Jewish girls from the area about gender inequality, develops concrete leadership skills, and empowers young women to actively engage in the San Diego community through ongoing volunteer work and service learning projects.

Jewish Women's Archive, $28,400 (New Grantee)

The Rising Voices Fellowship teaches Jewish female teens in grades 10-12 how to communicate effectively about their experiences, beliefs, and challenges, and use the power of social media to spark a wider conversation about Jewish identity and gender equality among their peers and within the larger Jewish community. The program is a partnership between Jewish Women's Archive and Prozdor, a program for high school students at Hebrew College,

The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, $25,000 (New Grantee)

Created Equal: A Research and Educational Project on Men, Women and the Ethics of Leadership project, will develop a new curriculum to understand how gender influences the broader narrative of Jewish life, including contemporary questions of leadership and gender equity. The Foundation's grant will support a series of workshops and programs based on this curriculum that target emerging leaders in the Jewish community who are attending graduate school programs in Jewish communal service as well as for a one-day conference that targets key players in the Jewish community at different stages of their career.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Israeli Knesset Committee on Gender Equality Highlights Foundation Grantee

Earlier today, the Israeli Knesset's Committee on Gender Equality held a special meeting to mark the publication of the 2015 Gender Index, published by Foundation Grantee WIPS - Center for the Advancement of Women in Public Sphere, a feminist think tank and applied research institute housed at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem.  The Hadassah Foundation has supported the Index for the past three years. 


MK Aida Touma, the first Arab woman to Chair a Knesset Committee (and the executive director of a former Foundation grantee, Women Against Violence) opened the session with words of appreciation for WIPS and its co-founders, Professors Naomi Chazan and Hannah Herzog, for initiating and publishing the first comprehensive gender index measuring gender inequality in Israel across 11 domains, using 56 different indicators. 


The Index, published for the third year, is a valuable source of data and information about the presistant gender gaps in Israel, and is used by policy and decision makers and government officials to inform policies, legislation and enforcement.  The key findings show that while women have made major strides and have greater access to higher education, the gaps between women and men---especially gaps in employment and pay--remain steady accross most domains.
You can read more about the Gender Index here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hadassah Foundation Accepting Proposals from Israeli Nonprofits

At long last, our RFP for Israeli organizations working to empower low-income Israeli women has been released! We are interested in social change, gender-sensitive projects that help low-income women of all backgrounds in Israel achieve economic independence. Grants of up to $25,0000 will be awarded. The Foundation is particularly interested in programs that provide cutting-edge approaches to solve problems that have not been addressed previously.

Areas of interest include:
• Savings, Asset Development, and Pension Planning
• Grassroots Programs that provide resources and training
• Legal and Policy Advocacy Initiatives
• Business Development Services that help women who own businesses improve their outreach and marketing
• Leadership development initiatives that increase the number of, and capacity of, women in positions of leadership.
All applications are due by Thursday, July 30th.

You can learn more here.