Hadassah Foundation Awards First-Ever ‘Visionary Partners’ Grants to Jewish Women International and WePower

Dec 14, 2022

Jewish Women International (JWI) and WePower, two leading gender-equity organizations, will each receive $130,000 in unrestricted funding from the Hadassah Foundation through its new “Visionary Partner” grants.

The new grants, payable over five years, enable organizations that promote gender justice in Israel and the United States to engage in long-term planning, and they are part of a wider effort at the Foundation to partner more fully with grantees and employ more trust-based philanthropic approaches. Unlike the Foundation’s other grants, which require an application process, the Visionary Partner grant is awarded based on Foundation board members’ review of past grantees with strong track records.

Members of JWI’s Jewish Communal Women’s Leadership Project Fellowship (funded by Hadassah Foundation). From left: Rebecca Bar, executive director Nazum; Victoria Raggs, co-founder and executive director Atlanta Jews of Color Council; Dee Sanae, founder, Mosaic Visions; Amanda Berman, founder and executive director Zioness; Elana Frank, CEO and founder, Jewish Fertility Foundation. (Photo credit Michael B. Kress Photography)

“We felt we no longer needed to ask these organizations to apply for a grant,” explained Tracey Spiegelman, a Foundation board member and co-chair of the Visionary Partner selection process. “Based on the strength of their work, their long relationships with the Foundation, their mission alignment with us, and their strong senior leadership, we knew they would make good use of the funding, and we wanted to free them up to spend more time fulfilling their missions and less time fundraising.”

The Foundation’s relationship with the Visionary Partners will be reciprocal, with the Visionary Partners sharing expertise about critical issues facing women and girls and helping to identify potential applicants both in Israel and the U.S. for future grants.

“Both of these organizations – JWI in the U.S. and WePower in Israel — share our vision of eliminating barriers for women and girls and empowering them to serve in critical leadership positions,” said Roz Garber Toledano, Chair of the Foundation. “Like the Hadassah Foundation, both address root causes of problems and seek to create social change. We’re excited to see what they accomplish in the next five years, and we’re eager to learn from them and tap into their expertise.”

WePower Chairwoman Dr. Adv. Orit Rishpi Lavie and Executive Director Dr. Mazal Shaul said they were delighted by the investment in their organization, a non-partisan Israeli NGO that helps women to advance to top level decision-making and elected positions, thus propelling social change and leading to a more equal and just civil society.

“Receiving the Visionary Partner grant from the Hadassah Foundation is a great acknowledgment for us that our work is appreciated and of great impact. It is also a great opportunity to set up with the Hadassah Foundation as our main partner, an international, multicultural gender equality accelerator focused on ensuring women are equally represented in the highest echelons of decision-making,” they said.

WePower’s 20th anniversary celebration with all women mayors who received “gender medals” from the organization. (Photo by Moshe Breen)

Meredith Jacobs, CEO of JWI, said she was “deeply honored” to receive the grant. Based in Washington, D.C., her group works to empower women and girls – of every race, culture, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation – by ensuring and protecting their safety, building access to long-term economic security, and lifting and mentoring women leaders.[/caption]

“For years now, the support of the Hadassah Foundation has made it possible for JWI to help advance hundreds of women working in Jewish communal organizations to senior levels of leadership,” Jacobs said. “The Visionary Grant takes their support to a new level.”

The Foundation plans to award at least one new Visionary Partner grant each year. Visionary Partner grants are part of a broader restructuring designed to expand and diversify the Hadassah Foundation’s grantmaking and dramatically increase its impact. More details on the new grant structure and processes, which emerged out of a recent strategic planning process, will be shared in early 2023.

Established by Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America in 1998, the Hadassah Foundation is the largest Jewish women’s foundation in the world. It has invested more than $11 million in social change organizations serving women and girls in the United States and Israel, bringing needed attention to pressing issues that impact gender equality. For additional information, visit hadassahfoundation.org.

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