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Women of Vision to Bring Dental Care to Community Elders

September 27, 2007 By:
Lynn B. Edelman, JE Feature
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The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, established in 1919 to help needy Jewish women in crisis, will receive a $30,000 grant from the Women of Vision Fund. The grant will provide seed funding for the Senior Supports/Dental program. Members of the Women of Vision Fund, the Jewish Women's Foundation at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, selected the program which will coordinate relationships with area dental professionals, who will provide their services pro bono or at reduced fees for those who cannot afford dental care.

Eileen Sklaroff, president of this 188-year-old organization -- the oldest Jewish charity in the United States -- is delighted to be selected as the beneficiary of the WOV grant for the fiscal year 2007-08.

Rebecca Gratz, one of the nation's earliest female philanthropists, helped to create FHBS and served for many years as the organization's secretary.

"We are grateful for the confidence placed by these philanthropic women in the capability of our all-volunteer organization to create and administer a program that will provide dental services and appliances for frail, elderly Jewish women," she said, adding that the infusion of funds with allow the Society to expand its mission of helping Jewish women in financial crisis for whom there are no other available resources.

The grant will be announced at the Women of Vision Fall Annual Meeting and Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 11, at The Prime Rib, 1701 Locust St. in Philadelphia. Keynote speaker will be Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

Gladys Bernstein was one of the co-founders of this philanthropic group, along with Annabelle Fishman and Sally Cooper Bleznak, which was begun in 1994. The three recruited 100 women, each of whom contributed $2,500 into the Women of Vision Fund.

"We asked the women where they wanted their money to go and jointly selected companies to invest in," explained Bernstein.

"In four years, through smart investments and a strong market, the group's initial investment doubled," she said, "and fund members recommended grants totaling $250,000 to local, national and international Jewish organizations."

In 1998, WOV decided to invest exclusively with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Today, the fund, which has over 300 members and $1.2 million in assets, has become a national model for Jewish women's funds and foundations.

"The Women of Vision Fund is an outstanding program that changes women's and girls' lives and engages women as philanthropists and leaders," remarked Donna Feinberg, chair of the Women of Vision Fund. "Private family foundations have looked to the Women of Vision funding choice and have followed suit with matching grants strengthening these programs and enabling them to continue for the second year and beyond. Just as important, women's and girls' lives have been changed for the better." She believes that the "unique appeal" of Women of Vision is that each member gets to vote on the annual grant.

Last year, Women of Vision awarded a $27,000 grant to the New World Association of Emigrants from Eastern Europe for the English as a Second Language for Working Women program. In previous years grants were awarded to Jewish Family and Children's Services' Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds and Spiritual Support Groups for Women programs and Jewish Employment and Vocational Services' Lifeline and Working for Success programs.

For more information on becoming a member of the Women of Vision Fund, contact Jennifer S. Young, director, Women of Vision, at 215-832-0849 or jyoung@philafederation.org.

 

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