Is there a better way to start the year than seeing the impact of The Jewish Federation in person? According to 50 of our most devoted philanthropists, the answer is no. Earlier this month, we saw it for ourselves as part of the Valley Alliance Women’s Board annual retreat. Chaired by Barbara Brilliant, Allison Martini and Jill Namm, the retreat began with breakfast at the Valley Alliance office, and a sense of excitement as the women had no idea which of our Federation’s partner organizations we’d be visiting that day.
To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of our Federation’s work caring for Jews in need, engaging with the community, and ensuring the Jewish future, we formed two lively groups and set out in two shuttle buses. One group went to JFS/SOVA Food and Resource Center to learn how our partner organizations combat food insecurity in Los Angeles. The other went to JFS Valley Storefront Senior Center to learn how we improve the plight of seniors and Holocaust survivors in need. Then, the two groups switched locations.
The women reunited for lunch at Adat Ari El synagogue, where we heard from three Federation professionals about how we are ensuring the Jewish future. Programs highlighted were NuRoots, the Federation’s community-wide strategy to create and enhance hubs of Jewish life for young adults; the Campus Impact Network, our initiative to empower young adults on campus—and their families—to advocate for Israel; and our synagogue partnerships, which also illustrate how we are caring for Jews in need. Before adjourning to a happy hour in the burgeoning NoHo arts district, the women toured the NEST, a one-of-a-kind infant care program at Adat Ari El that began with seed funding from The Jewish Federation.
The impact of this adventure was undeniable. Said Yona Goldberg, “Today was a strong reminder about what life would be like if we weren’t here to make these services possible. From the broader perspective, today we embodied the spirit of tikkun olam.” Judy Rosen shared, “It made me so proud to see our dollars at work. It felt so good to do something hands-on. It demonstrates that what we do is just so important.” Susan Kane was also moved. “I was impressed with the approach our community partners have with their clients,” she said, “assessing not just their immediate needs, but addressing the entirety of their problems too.”
In her parting words, Valley Alliance Women’s Philanthropy Chair Kathy Guccione said, “You all made today so special without having any prior knowledge of what was to come. Thank you for trusting us.” Ellen Silverman, Valley Alliance Women’s Chair, added, “You are among the most generous women I know, and your gift to us today was your presence and your partnership. Thank you.”
For more information about our Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy, please contact Amy Popkin at APopkin@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8275 (City), or Jenna Fields at JFields@JewishLA.org or (818) 668-2340 (Valley).