The history of the JFRI Women’s Alliance
The Women’s Alliance was created in 2000 with the intention of serving all women who are active in supporting the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island. Previously, two different women’s groups — the Women’s Division (WD), and the Women’s Business & Professional Association (B&P) — were serving different segments of the population of women involved at Federation. The Women’s Alliance was created to combine the two constituencies of these groups and engage them in more efficient, inclusive, and relevant ways.
The mission of the Women’s Alliance is to instill a sense of Jewish identity for all women through raising funds in support of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, diversified programming, leadership development, and community service; and to impart to the community on behalf of JFRI the evolving needs of the Jewish people locally, nationally, in Israel, and overseas.
Cheryl Teverow chaired the strategic plan that ultimately resulted in the creation of the Women’s Alliance. She commented: “The time was right for the women of Rhode Island to be looked at as a whole, that’s why the Women’s Alliance was created. It was a wonderful opportunity for involved and unaffiliated women to come together and create the Women’s Alliance.”
The results were encouraging, she said. “ It did bring in more dollars, and more people.” Teverow then went on to serve as the first president of the Women’s Alliance.
Under the guidance of its leaders, the Women’s Alliance has enjoyed incredible success in its five short years. From its popular Rosh Hodesh springtime education series, to its hands-on “Mitzvah of the Month” projects, to welcoming new parents with “Shalom Baby” packages, the Women’s Alliance reaches a broad spectrum of women.
Sharon Gaines, immediate past president of the Women’s Alliance, believes that the strategic goal of the WA is to strengthen the role of women within Federation and in the Jewish community.
“It’s about ensuring that women have a seat at the decision-making table, and we are raising our voices as women concerned about the well being of our Jewish community,” Gaines said.
Perhaps the most significant marker of its success has been its annual campaign. The Women’s Alliance is responsible for raising money from Jewish women in Greater Rhode Island for the Jewish Federation’s annual campaign. “The size of the Women’s Alliance campaign demonstrates our power and credibility as serious fundraisers,” says 2006 WA President Mitzi Berkelhammer. This year, the Women’s Alliance 2005 Annual Campaign has raised the most money in its short history- to date, over $1,104,455. The Women’s Alliance is staking its claim as part of the growing trend of women’s philanthropy in the country (click here for article on Women in Philanthropy).
For more information on the Women’s Alliance, please contact Beth A. Dindas, Director of Women's Philanthropy, 401-421-4111 x174 or bdindas@JFRI.org.