Giving Back

Jewish Women’s Foundation Awards Five Small Grants

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LIVINGSTON, NJ - Recently, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey’s Grants Committee, which was co-chaired by Roberta Elliott of South Orange, Natalie Peck of Essex Fells and Julie Sobel Kaplan of Livingston, selected the recipients of its small grants program. The following five organizations (from a total of 16) were selected to receive grants of $1,000.

• GlassRoots, an arts organization and glass art studio in Newark, that funds an in-service training and follow up consultations by a social worker experienced in adolescent behavior, for Glass Roots’ teaching staff of glass artists, to enable them to better address the issues facing the at-risk teenage girls who attend their programs in a safe space.

• Greater MetroWest ABLE, a network of community leaders and professionals that work together to advocate for and support individuals and families with special needs, to support the expansion of their Mom’s Support Group for mothers of children with special needs, which provides a venue for these moms to network with one another, share advocacy concerns and strategies, and learn about services and resources available to support their families.

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• JESPY House, a South Orange organization enabling adults with learning and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potentials and to lead independent lives, to launch the Page Turners Book Club that will offer developmentally disabled JESPY women the opportunity to participate in a professionally facilitated book group that is paced to their abilities and addresses topics integral to their lives.

• Morristown Neighborhood House, which supports a workshop series on a range of life skills including prevention of domestic violence, family planning, health and wellness, immigration and citizenship, employment readiness, and parenting for the agency’s Women on the Go Program, a community-based collaboration to assist financially disadvantaged minority women who are coping with the impact of unemployment and major disruptions in their family life.

• Sister to Sister, which funds a spring high school self-empowerment and college readiness retreat for 40 low-income girls who are part of the organization’s volunteer mentoring program in the Montclair Public Schools.

“With the JWF’s annual cycle of small grants, we are able to leverage a modest amount of money for maximum service,” said JWF co-chair Meredith Kaplan Stoma of Caldwell. “Each of the five grantees was chosen for its programmatic creativity and ability to impact the community. We are pleased to help them reach very specific goals of programs that may either have been under-budgeted or entirely extra- budgetary. It provides these grantees with the agility to experiment and expand.”

“Through the proposals we receive, we are also able to identify organizations that may be ripe for much larger grants—and they are able to feel directly how the JWF changes lives in our community,” added Elliott.

The small grant program is one of several initiatives funded by the foundation. In the spring, grants of up to $25,000 will be allocated through its core grant cycle; the JWF is also funding its first targeted initiative, which will include a $25,000 grant opportunity and a community education forum on issues facing women veterans.

Additionally, this year for the second time, the JWF will be issuing one $10,000 grant to an Israeli non-profit for a project that represents a priority for the Foundation.

The JWF, a donor-advised fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, provides the region’s women with a powerful vehicle to engage in collective philanthropy, collaborative grant-making, and community education. JWF members pool their philanthropic dollars to strategically award grants that address areas of need and importance to all women and girls. By highlighting what have been considered “women’s issues” —workplace concerns, work/life balance, self-esteem, education, family caregiving, and domestic violence—and moving them to the main stage, JWF members empower women and girls, while improving the quality of life for the entire community. For more information regarding the JWF’s work or on how to become a JWF member, contact JWF director Susan Friedman at sfriedman@jfedgmw.org.

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