The Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation provides a vehicle through which Jewish women can support causes that result in lasting impact on the lives of women and girls. It gives women a vehicle for expressing their Jewish identity and for developing a more informed Jewish philanthropic response to women's issues.
The Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation empowers women as funders, decision makers and agents for change. The Foundation offers women the opportunity to use leadership and financial resources to make a difference in the lives of other women and girls, a chance to raise issues and ensure that programs to address those concerns receive funding.
The Foundation expands the vision of women, deepens our Jewish values and begins a Jewish language of discourse in our grantmaking decisions. We will reconstruct the world—tikkun olam—by engaging women in issues about which they care.
WHY A JEWISH WOMEN’S FOUNDATION
The Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation represents the potential to build the leadership skills of women and increase women's participation in Jewish philanthropy locally and internationally. The Foundation is designed for women who would like to be more strategic in their grantmaking. They are looking for a different way to be engaged, where their giving is more than just writing a check. And they are defining how they give through a Jewish lens. Reaching out and giving is in the eyes of Judaism one of the most spiritual things we can do.
Today, about 51 percent of the wealth in our nation is held by women. Women outlive men by an average of 7 years. An estimated 85-90 percent of women are left in charge of family financial affairs. But when it comes to understanding and using philanthropy as a strategic tool for community change, women have not fully realized their potential to transform their communities.
WHY WOMEN’S AND GIRLS’ ISSUES
“What’s good for women is good for the world,” reports a new study by the Worldwatch Institute. Ensuring the equality of women in all aspects of society—from government to business to the home—will benefit more than just women. However, the unique needs of women and girls continue to be short-changed. Growing evidence in every field, from education and healthcare to anti-poverty initiatives, indicates that non-gender-specific programs do not reach and serve women as well as they serve men. Women and girls benefit most from programs that target them specifically; but they slip through the cracks when programs do not take their particular issues into account.
These trends are no less evident in the Jewish community. A study completed less than ten years ago found that more than half of Jewish communal organizations had never had a woman president or board chair. Despite the considerable philanthropic power of Jewish women, Jewish organizations continue to lag behind other sectors in successfully advancing women to top leadership posts, both professional and volunteer, and in providing equality of opportunity and participation to women. A recent widely-publicized study of women rabbis in the Conservative movement (which was funded by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York), revealed that 20 years after the first woman Conservative rabbi was ordained, male rabbis in that movement continue to earn salaries that are on average $40,000 more than their female counterparts.
Programs that benefit women and girls are typically underfunded within the Jewish community, and support for such initiatives represents only a small fraction of philanthropic dollars raised each year. There is a need to encourage the development and support of programs that speak to the specific educational, spiritual, social, professional and economic needs of Jewish girls and women. Jewish women’s foundations have served as the catalyst for beginning to create this social change.
JEWISH WOMEN’S FOUNDATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Over the past 20 years the women’s funding movement has made substantial progress in helping women and girls assume a more central role in their communities. Within the Jewish community, over 20 women’s foundations are thriving throughout North America. They have provided support for such work as anti-violence programs for Jewish women, school-based programs that address issues of self-esteem and body image among Jewish adolescent girls, programs to assist single Jewish women wishing to adopt, micro-financing for business development among minority Israeli women, and health care for Israeli Ethiopian girls. Several foundations also support programs that benefit women and girls in the broader community, including economic empowerment initiatives, outreach to at-risk adolescent girls, and gender equity in education.
With well over $20 million in assets nationwide, Jewish women’s foundations are able to have a powerful impact on the landscape of their local Jewish communities, by enabling the development and implementation of programs that address the roots of the complex challenges faced by women and girls today. Through their work, these foundations are improving the lives and futures of women and girls – our mothers, sisters, daughters, and granddaughters.
INDIVIDUAL GIVING VERSUS COLLECTIVE GIVING
Jewish donors of all ages and sizes seek more direct involvement in their charitable giving than they did in the past. A pooled Jewish women’s fund is a powerful agent for change. Only through such a collaborative can we have the numbers and financial clout to create the change we believe is imperative. The voice of many women together is the most powerful way to improve the lives of women and girls.
When asked about their most rewarding philanthropic experiences, many women referred to collaborative ventures. Leveraging giving with other women increases the impact in both a financial and personal way, providing women with an opportunity to connect with peers who share the same values, who want to find ways to express their commitment to Judaism through philanthropy. The strength of our Jewish community is derived from the breadth of people involved.
THE GOALS OF THE TIKKUN OLAM WOMEN’S FOUNDATION
• provides a distinctive funding vehicle for donors who care about girls’ and women's issues;
• focuses greater financial resources on the unique, and uniquely underserved, needs of women and girls;
• heightens public awareness of the critical issues impacting women and girls, and of the important efforts being undertaken to address those issues through empowerment, education and advocacy;
• allows women donors to have a greater stake in how their philanthropic dollars are spent;
• serves as an educational vehicle for women in philanthropy, developing skills in areas such as governance, financial management, and organizational leadership; and,
• offers opportunities for intergenerational dialogue and learning among Jewish women.
HOW THE FOUNDATION WORKS
The Foundation is structured as a democratic, inclusive organization governed by all of its members. All donors become trustees of the Foundation. The Board of Trustees identifies the needs and priorities impacting women and girls; designs and implements the grantmaking program; and manages the Foundation’s fiscal operations.
The foundation will make grants once a year. During the year Trustees participate in educational forums to learn firsthand about the myriad of issues facing our community. The Trustees together decide which areas to fund, and, once grants are made will be kept advised on the impact of those grants. Trustees will be given the opportunity to monitor the investments of the foundation.
Women who join the Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation with a gift of $15,000 over five years become members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for a five-year term. Women who join the Foundation with a gift of $45,000 over five years become lifetime members of the Board of Trustees. Those making a contribution of $90,000 over a five year period ($18,000 per year) secure lifetime and transgenerational membership on the Board of Trustees that may be shared with younger women in their families, thereby maintaining a place at this important agenda-setting table for generations to come.
The power to fund programs on behalf of women, to change the lot of other women, particularly those of younger generations, is profound. As a Trustee, you will be a part of something that showcases women’s abilities and achievement, trains women for broader leadership positions and offers you a means of expressing and transmitting your values to your children and to all succeeding generations.
As women have flourished in their own lives, they have articulated their intention to give back by strengthening the lives of others. The Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation is a place for women to explore their leadership and philanthropic roles.
By examining issues and potential solutions, you will become an effective philanthropist, but more importantly you will be intimately involved in crafting a philanthropic agenda that will impact the lives of women and girls—and your life as well.