The Hadassah Foundation is pleased to welcome Julie Wiener, our new (and first-ever) Assistant Director.
Julie will work closely with Hadassah Foundation Director Stephanie Blumenkranz and the Board help expand the Foundation’s impact and raise its profile in the Jewish philanthropic community. In particular, she will oversee marketing and communications, while assisting in many other aspects of the Foundation’s work.
Before joining the Foundation, Julie was Communications Director at Jewish Funders Network, planning and implementing all aspects of its communications, including newsletters, the website, social media, thought leadership, and marketing for its annual conference. You can learn more about her professional background here.
We sat down with her this week to get to know her a little better.
What excites you about the Hadassah Foundation?
I’m excited about so many things it’s hard to choose just one! After three years in a philanthropy-serving organization, I’m eager to be more directly involved in this work, particularly building relationships with our grantees and learning more about the work they are doing. I’m also excited about increasing our impact by partnering more effectively with Hadassah WZO, our sister Jewish women’s foundations, and other players in both the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds.. And of course I’m looking forward to using my writing and marketing skills to raise the visibility of the Foundation, our grantees, and the field of gender equity.
What from your professional experience do you hope to bring to the Foundation?
In my years as a journalist, I honed my storytelling and research skills, while gaining a deep knowledge of the Jewish communal world and building an extensive network of contacts. At Jewish Funders Network, I got an education in philanthropy, learning about the most important issues, trends and challenges facing the sector – and familiarizing myself with the numerous resources and opportunities available for increasing impact. In helping to launch GrantED, a project aimed at strengthening relationships between grantmakers and grantseekers in the Jewish community, I gained valuable insights about the power dynamics endemic to this field and a better understanding of grantseekers’ needs. In addition, at JFN and, before that as communications director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, I learned how to plan and implement all aspects of successful marketing and communications campaigns, using website content, emails and newsletters, social media, and developing a wide range of other materials. I plan to bring all of these experiences and more to my work at The Hadassah Foundation!
Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, in the very Jewish community of Squirrel Hill, but I didn’t learn to read (or speak) Hebrew until college (Oberlin), when I spent a semester at Tel Aviv University. Before embarking on my career in journalism, I spent a year and a half in Israel, where I volunteered on a kibbutz and interned at Shatil, the capacity-building arm of the New Israel Fund. As a reporter, I covered Jewish education and philanthropy for the Detroit Jewish News, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and New York Jewish Week, while also freelancing as a food writer for The Associated Press. I actually wrote one of the first articles about Jewish women’s foundations (Hadassah is in it, of course.)! I ran My Jewish Learning for several years, overseeing all editorial aspects of its successful relaunch, and in 2018, I shifted to nonprofit communications, serving first at T’ruah and then at Jewish Funders Network. I live in Jackson Heights, Queens, with my husband and two daughters.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends. An avid cyclist and cook, I am obsessed with crossword puzzles and word games. I also write fiction and essays, and have published several excerpts from my novella, “Hooker Beach,” a coming-of-age story about a young woman on a semester abroad in Israel.