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Together, They Forge Heart-to-Heart Connections

April 13, 2011 By:
Lynn B. Edelman
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Federation's Women's Philanthropy affinity group has a brand new logo -- a globe encased by a free-formed heart. The group's president, Sara Minkoff, says that it "accurately represents who we are and what we do."

She explains: "As women, we make a heart-to-heart connection to causes and organizations that we believe will impact the well-being of others. This paradigm of nurturing and empowering others allows for powerful connections, enabling us to make a difference in our Jewish community, both locally and globally. What I find to be extraordinary and noteworthy about Women's Philanthropy is that our donors feel personally enriched by their philanthropic involvement."

Indeed, the group represents a powerful philanthropic force in the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community.

Women's Philanthropy's donors contributed more than 5.1 million dollars for the 2010 Federation campaign -- more than 20 percent of the total tally. To sustain a level of excitement and camaraderie year after year; WP has a diverse and dynamic board of 110 women who represent various stages of life, giving levels and philanthropic interests.

In addition, an executive committee comprised of 11 women who provide strategic oversight and management of specific portfolios is intricately involved in WP's annual campaign and program offerings.

Says Sara: "Our WP board members are our most strident supports and ambassadors; we strive to keep them fully informed about our programs, events and fundraising objectives. Our executive committee includes women who are passionately committed to the work of our Federation, and who are extremely talented and experienced lay leaders."

WP is also quick to note that many of its donors hold numerous volunteer positions in JFGP, as well as other Jewish and secular philanthropic organizations.

Women's Philanthropy is dedicated to being inclusive and inviting for any woman in the area who would like to be involved. Women throughout the community have connected via various entry points. Sara recalls that her philanthropic involvement in Federation began with a gesture from her husband, Jay.

"Jay attended a Federation event and made a separate gift in my name through Women's Philanthropy," she explains. "He thought that the mission and vision of the organization and the great work it supports would really resonate with me."

Her personal involvement in Women's Philanthropy -- which has included key leadership roles in the affinity's annual campaign, Lion of Judah events for women who make a personal philanthropic gift of $5,000 or more, and membership in Women of Vision -- began with a "friendly invitation" from fellow member Susan Schwartz, current WP campaign co-chair.

"Susan asked me to come along with her on a WP program to New York City; that "simple, yet generous gesture of one woman inviting another to share an experience" can be "life-changing." She states her heartfelt belief that fundraising "truly is sacred work -- we connect people to their passions and enable them to make a difference in the lives of others."

As Women's Philanthropy president, some of Sara's chief priorities are outreach and providing opportunities for meaningful engagement. To this end, the affinity has launched a dynamic Facebook page where members exchange photos, videos, discussions about current events and informal information about upcoming programs. The page is completely volunteer-driven.

Women's Philanthropy members take turns posting items on a daily basis, making the content fresh and current. All who post are encouraged to share a photo and some personal information; "in this way, our current and prospective members can get to know each other in a more casual and friendly environment."

In addition, the intention is to promote engaging, community-wide conversation about topics that embody WP's purpose and promotes a deeper understanding of WP's mission.

The page has proven to be quite popular. In its first week, 50 women have visited and participated in discussions.

Throughout the year, Women's Philanthropy has a wide range of fundraisers for donors of varying levels of giving. There is a Lion of Judah Event in the fall and the spring. The annual Pomegranate Event for donors giving $1,800 and above just took place, and plans are in the works for the 2012 WP Spring Gala -- the group's largest fundraising event -- for donors who give a minimum gift of $360.

Seeing for Themselves

Outreach programs such as Parlor Meetings, Leadership Development Seminars, hands-on mitzvah projects and missions to Israel provide WP donors with the opportunity to hear inspirational speakers, better understand the work of Federation's three centers, witness the needs in the local and the Israeli communities, and see for themselves the difference their dollars are making. WP has a commitment to providing programming and philanthropic opportunities that are relevant to women in "every stage of their Jewish journey."

Sara also believes that motherhood has deepened her personal commitment to Jewish continuity. "Until I became a mother, I thought that giving predominately to Jewish causes would be limiting. Today, I am acutely aware that we, those of us who have a definitive sense of our own Jewish identity, have a joyous obligation to give Jewishly and to invite others to join us. Far from being limited, we are all global Jewish citizens who can touch the world in a unique and meaningful way."

To learn more about Women's Philanthropy, see: www. jewishphilly.org. For questions about upcoming programs and events, call Marni Davis at 215-832-0859 or e-mail her at: mdavis@jfgp.org.

 


 

Their Vision

To provide women within the Philadelphia region with unique opportunities to support and strengthen our Jewish community at home, in Israel and worldwide through community building, leadership development and a meaningful campaign process.

 

Their Mission

· To raise funds and promote volunteer involvement to support the priorities of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (JFGP).

· To fund community-building programs that empower women and encourage meaningful connections locally, in Israel and around the world.

· To reach out to and welcome participation form women of all lifestyles and income levels.

· To provide leadership development opportunities for Jewish women to gain valuable experience in community building, policy development, management and strategic planning.

· To offer valuable hands-on opportunities to see Federation dollars at work both locally and overseas.

· As a JFGP affinity group, we serve as a point of entry for further Federation involvement.

To learn more, call Marni Davis at 215-832-0859 or e-mail: mdavis@jfgp.org.

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