Feminism, Finance, and the Power of Women's Philanthropy

When high profile women like Mackenzie Bezos and Melinda Gates make news for their charitable giving, they bring the issue of women and philanthropy into the mainstream. In the Jewish Federation world, though, women philanthropists have been making history for at least 50 years.

Women have great influence over charitable decision making, but nonprofits have historically struggled to adapt to engage them and their potential philanthropic dollars. Fifty years ago, two Miami women, Norma Kipnis Wilson and Toby Friedland had a vision: a society of generous women who would take the lead in Jewish philanthropy.

They created the Lion of Judah, a giving program that celebrates the collective power of women’s philanthropy and has secured more than $590,000,000 for Federations in endowment dollars as well as about $1 billion in Annual Campaign contributions. Today, there are 18,000 Lions of Judah and 4,200 Endowed Lions of Judah around the world.

Lions of Judah in Sarasota-Manatee

Our Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee inspires women to become leaders and decision-makers. We empower women at every stage of life in the fulfilling work of making the world a better place. From our teen engagement programs encouraging young women to step forward and share their voice to Momentum empowering women to transform themselves, their families, and their communities, the Federation is here to be their change making partner.

This spring, two signature events returned in person for women to gather and enjoy the collective power of women’s philanthropy. On March 24th, the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Luncheon welcomed special guest Carolyn Gitlin, National Women’s Philanthropy Chair.  And at our annual Women’s Day event, on April 4th, the beloved novelist Jennifer Weiner was the featured speaker. Both events connected women together to share their love of leadership and community impact.

Together, through giving and hands-on community service, women are building and supporting Jewish life here in Sarasota-Manatee, in Israel, and around the world—for today and for generations to come.

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