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Federation Gives $50,000 in Women’s Impact Initiative Grants to Local Non-Profits

Federation recently provided a total of $50,000 in Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) grants to 10 Miami-Dade County organizations that inspire and empower Jewish women and girls through programs that pursue social, economic, religious and political equality. WII Committee Chair Elise Scheck Bonwitt said, “With support from the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign, we are investing in Miami’s Jewish women and having a real impact.”

Federation received a variety of proposals from Miami 501(c)(3) non-profits, touching all age groups and religious streams. A committee of 15 women extensively reviewed applications before selecting this year’s grantees. Bonwitt added, “We have allocated money to many programs that focus on a variety of issues, including women’s health, leadership programs, unemployment, financial literacy, safety issues, education and more.”

This was the second year for the WII grants, and judging from last year’s grant recipients and their ongoing programs, it’s been a huge success. Sharsheret, a national, non-profit organization supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer, and one of last year’s grant recipients, held intimate gatherings focused on breast cancer awareness and education aimed at the ultra-Orthodox community in private homes. Florida Regional Director Briana Schwarz said, “We would not have been able to have these programs, let alone be as successful as we were, without funding from Federation. The grant helped us reach a new and critical audience to educate more women.”

The Miami Breast Cancer Education Program Series educated more than 50 ultra-Orthodox women who had little, if any, access to critical, lifesaving information about breast health. Additionally, the program enabled Sharsheret to distribute culturally sensitive resource materials to the local mikvah frequented by ultra-Orthodox women on a nightly basis. Schwarz added, “We are very grateful for the support, not just for this event, but on the whole. We consider Federation a partner that helps us achieve our best work.”

The Miami Beach Jewish Community Center (JCC) also received a grant as part of last year’s WII. Their program, Rosh Chodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! is part of a national curriculum that encourages the development of self-respect, personal strengths, leadership, identity and spiritual commitment to Jewish life. In an effort to build an audience for the launch of the program next fall, the JCC developed “A Taste of Rosh Chodesh,” which explores some of the established curriculum with groups of 4th-and 5th-grade girls at Lehrman Community Day School. Miami Beach JCC Chief Operating Officer Nataly Yusim explained, “It’s a new program in the community. We wanted to give the girls just a small taste of what Rosh Chodesh offers so they would be familiar with it when the opportunity presented itself next school year.”

Rosh Chodesh will act as a group mentorship, with a focus on peer interaction. The group will meet monthly, and based on the needs and desires of its members, can continue through high school. It will also incorporate mother-daughter events regularly throughout the year. “Our JCC has so many mens' sports teams, and as a result, can sometimes feel more male-oriented,” said Yusim. “The grant from Federation has allowed us not only to include Rosh Chodesh in our programming, but also to grow our women’s initiative here at the JCC and provide support and guidance to young girls in the Jewish community.”

Click here to see a full list of grant recipients.

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