Women’s Alliance Endowment Fund awards grants to groups in R.I., Israel


Members of the Women’s Alliance Endowment Fund convened for their annual meeting, run by mother-daughter co-chairs Diane Ducoff and Michelle Miller, on May 6, to determine which local and overseas proposals would be awarded grants. Members were faced with difficult decisions, as they are every year.


There were 20 proposals for funding – seven local and 13 from overseas – totaling $35,253. WAEF had $7,981 available to allocate.

Priority is given to innovative programs and services that benefit Jewish women and girls in Rhode Island and Israel and have the potential for long-term, scalable impact. Educational, civic, cultural, religious and inter-group programs are considered, as well as programs in the health and social services fields.

This year’s supported programs include a Rosh Hodesh series at the University of Rhode Island Hillel, Brown/RISD Hillel, and Congregation Beth David, in Narragansett; Congregation Beth Sholom’s “Women, Torah, and Leadership Series”; and Camp JORI’s professional development training in preparation for summer.

Programs to be funded in Israel include the Israel Association for Child Protection’s Group Therapy for Sexually-Abused Girls; Kehilat Kol HaNeshama’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah series; Leket Israel’s Dr. Israel Goldstein Youth Village’s Musical Bands; Refanah Healing Holidays’ Weekend Getaways for breast cancer patients; and the Ethiopian National Project’s Girls Holistic Empowerment.

All Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and overseas Jewish organizations, agencies and synagogues with missions that fall within the purview of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island are encouraged to apply for the annual grants. 

Recently, the Jewish Federation Foundation, which holds the community’s $60-million endowment, including WAEF’s assets, partnered with the Rhode Island Foundation to further JFF’s mission while also giving the community access to RIF’s successful investment pool and operational support services, among other benefits. 

As of June 30, 2018, the WAEF fund’s value was $178,989.20; a nearly 8.5% increase from June 30, 2017, when it was valued at $163,119.60. This year’s successful strategy to grow the fund was to encourage current members to gift memberships to their daughters, as well as asking others to consider joining the fund.

The Women’s Alliance Endowment Fund now has 131 participants and counting. In comparison, at last year’s WAEF annual meeting membership was at 120 participants.

JENNIFER ZWIRN is director of community development at the Jewish Alliance. For more information on becoming a member of the WAEF, contact her at jzwirn@jewishallianceri.org.