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Greater Miami Jewish Federation

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Miami Women Attend Conference to Focus on Philanthropic Strategies Though a Gender Lens

A delegation of Miami Jewish women leaders represented Federation at the 10th Annual Jewish Women’s Funding Network’s (JWFN) Force for Change Conference held recently in New York. The event focused on various philanthropic strategies to improve the quality of life for women and girls in Israel and in Jewish communities throughout the United States.

The Jewish Women’s Funding Network is a collaborative effort of 25 member organizations engaged in social change fundraising, advocacy and grant-making to change the world for women and girls. The network has awarded nearly $33 million in grants and $4 million in the current cycle, holds more than $40.5 million in assets and endowed funds, and boasts close to 2,000 active members, donors and trustees. It currently has a cohort of more than 15 member funds that are grant-making together in Israel. However, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is the only one that allocates grants for causes focused on women and girls locally and in Israel directly through the Annual Campaign.

Federation participants included Women’s Impact Initiative Chair Elise Scheck Bonwitt, Past Chair of the Women’s Amutot Initiative Marsha Soffer, Founding Chair of the Women’s Amutot Initiative Sara Adler, Women’s Amutot Initiative Committee member Holly Levy and Israel and Overseas Department Director Dahlia Bendavid.

The conference included sessions about innovative agencies and programs serving women and girls, including the Jewish Women’s International Collaborative, as well as discussions about strategies to elevate awareness, advocacy and grant-making. Soffer explained that the conference focused on seeing “philanthropy through a gender lens,” and translating this perception into good grant-making leading to social justice and activism. “We learned about the difference between direct service and systemic change,” she said. “It’s the difference between giving a person a fish and teaching a person to fish.”

Bonwitt appreciated the conference because it allowed the Miami participants to exchange ideas with actively involved women from Jewish communities across America, as well as hear societal issues in Israel that impact women and girls. “We learned about different directions taken by other funds,” she said, “and new, efficient ways to work with grantees. These conversations were collaborative and presented new opportunities to work together.”

Federation allocates grants for causes focused on women and girls locally and in Israel through the Women’s Amutot Initiative and the Women’s Impact Initiative, which are funded directly through the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign. The Women’s Amutot Initiative focuses exclusively on the needs and welfare of women and girls in Israel, and seeks to fund projects that promote social change in Israel. Such projects aim to empower women to improve Israeli society through social, economic, religious and political equality.

The Women’s Impact Initiative is a local version of Women's Amutot, and provides grants from the Annual Campaign to nonprofit organizations in Miami that inspire and empower Jewish women and girls.

For more information on the Women’s Amutot Initiative and the Women’s Impact Initiative, contact Dahlia Bendavid at or 786.866.8445.

The Mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is to mobilize human and financial resources to care for those in need, strengthen
Jewish life and advance the unity, values and shared purpose of the Jewish people in Miami, in Israel and around the world.

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