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The Hadassah Foundation
The Hadassah Foundation is an investor in social change to empower girls and women in the United States and Israel. It works to improve the status, health and well-being of women and girls; bring their contributions, issues and needs from the margins to the center of Jewish concern; and encourage and facilitate their active participation in decision-making and leadership in all spheres of life.
The Hadassah Foundation was established in 1998 after an extensive strategic planning process that examined the Israel projects of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA). A report by the late political scientist Professor Daniel Elazar recommended the creation of a foundation. In 1998, the National Board of HWZOA formally established The Hadassah Foundation with a $10 million endowment. The Foundation enables Hadassah to address unmet societal needs in Israel and the United States and to engage in cutting-edge initiatives outside the framework of Hadassah's existing projects.Our Areas of Giving
In Israel, we focus on providing economic security for low-income Israeli women of all backgrounds. Israel has a growing gap between rich and poor, and over the years, has significantly reduced welfare benefits and other public subsidies, trends that impact women at a much greater rate than men. We are proud that we were one of the first supporters of microloans for female entrepreneurs in Israel, thus attracting other funders to the area.
We support programs—advocacy and legal efforts, policy and research, as well as direct service efforts—that promote the economic empowerment of women. In recent years, we have also supported program and efforts to boost the number of women in positions of power, in both the private and public sectors, on the theory that more females in such positions will advocate for programs and policies that will benefit women economically. Our preference has been to fund gender-sensitive efforts that are run for, and by, women.
In the United States, we focus on developing the potential of Jewish girls and young women ages 12-30. Although great strides have been made in this area in recent years, so much more work needs to be done! Despite progress, we know that:
- Girls and young women face gender-related issues throughout their development;
- Girls and young women require and deserve the awareness, attention, and commitment of a wide range of individuals and institutions to promote their healthy development.
- Girls and young women experience intense pressure, at ever younger ages, to be everything to everyone all of the time.
- Girls and young women have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes; to prepare for interesting work and economic independence; to take risks, to strive freely and to take pride in success.
- The issues of girls and young women are traditionally are underrepresented in research and policy debates.
- Research on girls and young women often has focused on risks and negative trends, rather than exploring positive aspects of their lives.
- The voices of girls and young women are rarely heard in research reports or in discussion of policies that affect their lives.
In recent years, we have placed a special emphasis on funding gender-sensitive programs that develop the leadership skills and abilities of this population group.