Renée G. Sackey has only served as chair of Women of Vision since October, yet she has already left an indelible imprint on the 15-year-old women's foundation. Since taking office, Sackey has worked with a team of lay and staff leadership to create a new logo, rework the group's mission statement and develop a new brochure -- innovations designed to more effectively market this organization that is devoted to empowering women as philanthropists, leaders and decision makers.
The mission statement -- "Inspiring philanthropy to benefit the the lives of Jewish women and girls" --is clear, concise and, according to Sackey, "articulates the core values of our organization."
These innovations reflect the visionary spirit of the 100 women who pooled their financial resources to focus on critical needs in the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Community that were either ignored or significantly underfunded. These female philanthropists believed that they had the collective power to make a positive difference in the lives of Jewish women and girls. In 1994, they acted on their beliefs and founded Women of Vision, the very first initiative of its kind in the nation.
Through the years, the organization, a permanent Jewish Women's Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, has provided funds to Jewish organizations to enable them to: launch an innovative three-year leadership program for high school girls; provide individual and group therapy to Israeli girls who are victims of abuse; make dental services available to senior citizens who cannot afford them; enable female émigrés to learn business language and other skills which will help them advance in the American workplace; help prevent eating disorders in adolescent girls; offer intensive job-search preparation and placement assistance to single mothers, and many other programs and projects that impact and transform lives.
Each of the 355 Women of Vision members has one vote in deciding on the grant for the current funding cycle. Sackey expressed excitement that, despite the challenging economy, 10 new members have signed on since Oct. 10. In return for lifetime membership in the organization, each woman makes a minimum one-time tax deductible gift of $2,500, payable over two years.
Stated Sackey: "As the Foundation grows, so does the number of women and girls who can be served."
Sackey emphasized that the current economic climate inspired the Foundation's funding theme for the 2009-2010 grant cycle.
"This year, we felt strongly that, because so many families are impacted by the economy, we wanted to help fund initiatives that foster resilience in women and girls facing economic challenges," she said.
The Foundation is currently accepting letters of intent from Jewish organizations sponsoring programs that are responsive to the grant theme.
One, one-year grant of up to $44,000 will be awarded locally. Another award of up to $11,000 will benefit women and girls facing similar challenges in Israel.
Letters should be addressed to: Susan Lundy, Women of Vision, The Jewish Women's Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, 2100 Arch St., 6th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Letters must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, to be considered.
For more information, call 215-832-0849.