The Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the United States, is excited to announce it has given $165,000 in grants to seven organizations that strengthen the leadership skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women in the United States.

The Foundation is a philanthropic pioneer in the fields of improving economic security for low-income Israeli women and developing leadership and self-esteem programs for adolescent Jewish girls and young women in the United States. Since 2000, approximately $7.8 million has been awarded to more than 90 nonprofit organizations.

With this latest round of grants, the Foundation has awarded a total of $500,000 to Israeli and American groups in 2017.

This latest round of grants to organizations in the United States is part of the Foundation’s multi-year initiative—inaugurated in 2014—to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women in the United States.

Four of the 2017 grantees are receiving a renewal grant for their program, and three are first-time grantees.

“I am so proud of our efforts to boost the leadership skills and abilities of young Jewish women and girls,” said Julie Morris, chair of the Hadassah Foundation.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Challah for Hunger, $23,000, New Grantee

Challah for Hunger, is a volunteer-driven social justice project that engages 7,000 students, the vast majority of whom are female, on 82 college campuses across the country.  Student volunteers bake and sell challah on their campuses, and donate funds to anti-hunger programs. They are receiving a grant for a mentoring program that will connect female college students with professional women who share their interests and for its annual conference for students and alumni.

Jewish Community Center of Chicago, $20,000  

The JCC’s Seed6l3 program is a social change fellowship for teenage girls ages 14-16.  Through seminars, and regular meetings with coaches, mentors and peers, the girls will be equipped with entrepreneurial tools and knowledge to develop a socially responsible venture that will impact the Jewish community.

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, $22,000

The JUF received funds for a cohort of Jewish teen girls to participate in the Research Training Internship (RTI), a program that generates new knowledge about the lives and experiences of Jewish teen girls; empowers girls to develop their own capacity to engage critically with social issues that impact them through an explicitly feminist lens; and positions girls as experts on their own lives and issues impacting them. 

Jewish Women’s Archive, $30,000

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.

jGirls Magazine, $25,000, New Grantee

jGirls Magazine is an online community and magazine with a national reach written by and for Jewish girls ages 13-19 from all denominations. They work most intensively with 12 teenage girls, who form their editorial board and who review and edit the nonfiction, fiction, poetry, humor, music, and photography entries they receive from girls across the country; all the work is done online.

Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy at Bar-Ilan University, $20,000

LVJA, an online school for Jewish Studies established in 2014, received a grant to design and pilot an online course for high school girls that fuses classical Jewish text study with leadership skill building.  The course will be taught to cohorts of 20 high school girls enrolled in Jewish supplementary, day, or home schools.

St. Louis Jewish Community Center/Nishmah, $25,000 New Grantee

Nishmah–a program of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center–inspires, engages, and supports Jewish women and girls in the St. Louis area.  They received funds to develop an expanded, Jewishly-infused, formalized leadership curriculum for its Banot (Girls) Board, which serves 12-15 high school girls; the girls, in turn, create programming for elementary-school age girls.