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Daniela JacobsohnBy HOLLY HARRIS

As the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg continues its 2017 Combined Jewish Appeal campaign launched last month, its dedicated Women’s Philanthropy (WP) team co-chaired by Ellen Kroft and Paula Parks is well on its way to achieving this year’s fundraising goal in support of 18 local, national, and international Jewish agencies.

Last year’s successful campaign under chair Elana Schultz raised $1,576,201, with this year’s target set at $1.58 million. The Lion of Judah chaired by Daniela Jacobsohn comprised of women giving a gift of $5,000 or more has also established $1.1 million as its goal for 2017.
“Women’s Philanthropy is an integral and an important part of the annual campaign,” stated Parks during this year’s kick-off event held October 2nd. “We are a group of caring women who strongly believe that our actions will lead to a better future for all of us.”
The Jewish Post  & News  recently interviewed the three WP chairs about this year’s Campaign, and how women can make a difference in “repairing the world.”
Ellen Kroft, WP Co-Chair:
JP&N: Why is it so important for Jewish women to get involved in philanthropy? And how does this reflect the goals and values of Jewish life, including one of its greatest tenets, the mitzvah of Tzedakah?
EK: Women’s philanthropy is vital to our Jewish Community. By giving a gift and/or her gift of time, each woman has a voice in her own Jewish Community. She can impact how her community progresses and where the dollars will be directed. It is a vote for her future.

JP&N: How has WP evolved over the years?
EK: First, the number of women giving a gift “in their own name” has increased, and second, women of all ages are assuming leadership roles. The face of Women’s philanthropy has become multi-generational, which in turn inspires more women of all ages to support the Campaign.

JP&N: How are you inspiring younger women, as well as first time donors and newcomers to our city to give?
EK: Efforts are being made to appeal to a younger demographic. Generally, younger women want to know where and how their money is being spent. It is important to highlight where the dollars are going, and why a beneficiary agency is relevant to that particular donor.
The community is also working very hard to develop programs and outreach strategies to engage individuals who feel disconnected due to geographical and/or other barriers. Equally important, efforts are being made by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg to engage newcomers and other unaffiliated women in the Winnipeg Jewish community.

Paula ParksPaula Parks, WP Co-Chair:
JP&N: How did you first become involved with WP? Why is it particularly meaningful to you?

PP: I became involved in University, working on a “Campus” campaign. My parents were always heavily involved with CJA and so it was “natural” for me to follow their example.
JP&N: Why is women’s philanthropy essential in today’s world, and especially with so many other equally, well-deserving demands for support?

PP: Many of us already support other worthwhile charities as we should, and CJA and Women’s Philanthropy gives women a chance to influence and enhance the many programs and services that assist those in our own Jewish community. By strengthening our Jewish identity, I believe we are helping to create caring individuals who in turn, will go on to support others - both inside and outside of our Community.

Daniela Jacobsohn, Lion of Judah, Chair:
JP&N: Why is it so important for women to give personally from themselves, such as through Lion of Judah?
DJ: When you give a gift in your own name, you show how important Tzedakah is to you. It demonstrates your commitment to making a difference in other people’s lives. By giving in your own name, you stand up and are counted as a decision maker in your family and community.

JP&N: There are notably 88 Lions of Judah in Winnipeg today. The “Lions” are presented with nationally and internationally recognized gold pins worn when they travel and participate in other Jewish events worldwide, including the biennial International Lion of Judah conference. Why is this type of public recognition important, and how does it inspire other women to give?
DJ: The Lion of Judah pin is a symbol that connects women of all ages and walks of life who have made a commitment of $5,000 or more. There are 17,500 Lions of Judah around the world. This pin shows a woman’s commitment to Tikkun Olam – repairing the world – and is symbolic of our people’s strength and pride.

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