This year’s presidential election left the country divided as America chose a male president over a female presidential nominee. Still, Hillary Clinton’s efforts did not go unnoticed and many spoke up about how great it was to see a woman fighting her battles and standing her ground to win the election. Women continue to play an important role in shaping public policy and stand out as leaders in their communities. As we continue to support these leaders, it’s important to recognize those who are making an extra effort to give back to the community through philanthropic efforts.
We now have many strong women emerging as a powerful force on the secular and Jewish philanthropic scene, giving back by supporting empowerment programs for Jewish women and girls, funding foundations that promote Jewish leadership, and investing in Jewish camps and schools.
Here’s a closer look at five groundbreaking female Jewish philanthropists:
#1: Lynn Schusterman
As the co-chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Lynn Schusterman oversees more than $2 billion in assets and has made her mark on national education grant making. She is a strong leader and one of the central figures in the world of Jewish philanthropy, setting an example for other philanthropists and groups to walk in her footsteps.
She believes leadership is critical for creating a dynamic Jewish future which is why she is so committed to inspiring and empowering young Jews to take an active role in shaping their communities. The organization cultivates high-potential organizational leaders with initiative such as CareerHub, the Schusterman Fellowship, Talent Alliance, the Recruitment Network and several partnerships and collaborations that address leadership challenges in Jewish life.
#2: Diane Wohl
Diane Wohl has been instrumental in helping the Diane and Howard Wohl Family Foundation attain $6 million in assets and generating more than $749,000 in revenue since its inception in 2000.Through the Diane and Howard Wohl Family Foundation, Diane Wohl has provided long-term funding for USC Shoah Foundation’s work in France and also participated in the Auschwitz: The Past is Present mission trip to Poland for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
She and her husband have invested in future jewish college students through a planned gift to Hillel, a legacy gift since the Wohls’ children went to college at Hillel. The couple has also supported a number of other charities over the years, including UJA-Federation of New York, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County, and BBYO.
#3: Dina Karmazin Elkins
Dina Karamzin Elkins has a long family history of philanthropy and serves as the executive director of the Karma Foundation. The foundation has been providing grants since 1996 and she is committed to donating to charitable causes that she is personally connected to, such as synagogues and other local organizations. She takes the time to determine whether an organization is in a growth or decline phase so that the Karma Foundation can provide funding to the most effective, growth-oriented entities.
#4: Shira Ruderman
Shira Ruderman and her husband, Jay Ruderman, have banded together to support Jews with different abilities so they are all included in Jewish institutions. The Ruderman Family Foundation supports programs and partnerships for the advocating and advancement of the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout society. Shira is directly involved with leading innovative social and public projects. She is a member of the Israeli “Committed to Give” group which promotes private philanthropy in Israel.
The Ruderman Family Foundation has offices that raise awareness about the inclusion of people with disabilities in both Boston and Israel. It serves as a conduit through which American Jewish citizens and Israeli citizens can connect and work together on various programs. Mrs. Ruderman is committed to building a stronger relationship with the state of Israel through her efforts and plays an important role to identify strategic relationships through the organization.
#5: Susan Pearlstine
Susan Pearlstine is a fifth generation Charlestonian and supports several local Jewish and secular causes. She carries the legacy of her father, Edwin Pearlstine, who left behind a legacy of success, generosity, and community service. Mr. Bernstein also served as President for the Jewish Community Center and his synagogue, Kahol Kadosh Beth Elohim.
Unlike her male counterparts, Ms. Pearlstine prefers to identify organizations that are willing to create long term sustainability and be transparent financially. She also prefers to work with organizations that are willing to partner with her and other nonprofits for the long-term, working together for a common goal.