WAEF celebrates 30 years of philanthropy


Every year, members of the Women’s Alliance Endowment Fund meet to decide which grant proposals will be awarded a portion of the fund’s investment income. But this year, when members gathered on May 3, they also celebrated the fund’s 30th anniversary.

The WAEF was established by the Business & Professional Women Affiliate of the Jewish Federation (which later combined with the Women’s Division to create today’s Women’s Alliance). The goal was to provide for the needs of Jewish women by supporting educational, inter-group relations, civic, cultural, health and social-service projects. Co-founders Selma Stanzler, Janet Zurier and Gloria Feibish were joined by charter members Cindy Feinstein, Susan Froelich, Elaine Hoffman, Barbara Levine, Susan H. Kaplan, Judy Mann, Sandy Messing, Jane Perel, Karen Rakitt and Ruth Sauber.

The founders were honored at the anniversary event, held at the Dwares Jewish Community Center in Providence. Chair Katherine (Kit) Haspel explained that Stanzler now lives in Chicago and Zurier recently passed away, so only Feibish was present. Haspel presented her with an award and said, “Your caring, dedication and thoughtfulness gave you the foresight to create a fund to help others – particularly women and children.

“You have led so many of us over the years to follow your example – such that we’ve built an endowment for needs in Rhode Island and throughout the world. Thank you so much for your leadership in starting the WAEF. We are immensely grateful.”

Haspel said acknowledgment certificates were sent to Stanzler and to Zurier’s husband.

After lunch, attendees turned to the business of discussing grant applications.

When the fund was created, it was allowed to grow to $25,000 before grants were distributed. In 1997, one grant of $1,976 was given to the Bureau of Jewish Education. This year, grants totaling $9,350 were awarded to the following programs:


Jewish Collaborative Services – $600 for Havurah at Tamarisk.

Jewish Community Day School – $1,000 for Social-Emotional Learning Lunch Bunches

Temple Sinai – $1,150 for “Stranger/Sister,” an evening for Jewish and Muslim women together


Beit Ruth Educational and Therapeutic Village – $1,500 for Outward Bound Supplemental Therapy

ELI: Israel Association for Child Protection – $1,000 for Sex Education and Abuse Prevention for Girls

Emunah Afula Children’s Center – $1,000 for Social Clowning Therapy

Haifa Rape Crisis Center – $1,000 for Sexual Trauma Support Group for Women

Jaffa Institute – $1,000 for Welfare to Wellbeing

Neve Michael Children’s Village – $1,100 for Therapeutic Judo for At-Risk Children

One hundred and forty-three women have joined the WAEF, each making a $1,000 contribution. The fund is invested with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s endowment and relies on donations from new and existing members to increase the funds available to distribute each year.

Gifting a WAEF membership is a wonderful way to introduce adult children and grandchildren to community philanthropy. If you are interested in becoming a WAEF member or gifting a membership, contact Claire Uziel, WAEF endowment/campaign operations manager, at endowment@jewishallianceri.org.

CLAIRE UZIEL is the endowment/campaign operations manager at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

Women's Alliance, WAEF, philanthropy