Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives and welfare of women and girls – economically, mentally and physically. Women and girls continue to face serious economic and societal challenges. There is much work to be done. The Miriam Fund (TMF) has been leading this effort for over 20 years and is creating more impact than ever within and beyond the local Jewish community.
TMF was founded in 2000 by a dynamic group of women leaders who created a donor-directed philanthropic model which, through grant-making, enhances, expands and improves opportunities and the lives of women and girls. Members become advocates, leaders and agents of change. Principal founders Beth Klarman, Rosalind Gorin, Carol Goldberg and Deb Goldberg are all still actively committed to
TMF’s work, “We are thrilled that our initial vision has grown into a dedicated community of philanthropic women who continue to assess changing needs and issues and create opportunities and positive impacts for women and girls through thoughtful grantmaking.”
TMF has invested more than $5 million in non-profit organizations doing crucial work to improve lives in pursuit of gender equity. Priority focus areas include economic empowerment, education, health, legal rights and personal safety. Grantees address myriad issues – STEM education, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, immigration, mental health, and economic and spiritual empowerment. Last year, TMF granted a total of $375,000 to 18 grantees. Recognizing COVID’s impact, TMF designated an additional $25,000 of funding for projects directly related to COVID needs in each of the last two years.
TMF’s 125-plus members are from diverse backgrounds and play an active role in a robust, annual, volunteer-led grant-making process. Each contributes a minimum annual gift of $2,500 (members under 40 contribute $1,250 annually) and all monies are invested in CJP’s Jewish Community Endowment Pool, LLP as a quasi-endowment. Members may serve on any of three grant subcommittees (Jewish, Secular and Israel). In addition to training opportunities, each subcommittee meets to assess, evaluate and determine grant funding allocations. The process is democratic, and each member has an equal vote. TMF makes one-year grants up to a maximum of $25,000 and organizations may apply for two additional, consecutive years of funding.
The Miriam Fund is led by an executive committee and three principal co-chairs. “I, along with my co-chairs, Jodi Galin and Reva Fishman, get tremendous satisfaction from working collaboratively with a group of intelligent and dedicated women who are all committed to making a tangible impact in the lives of women and girls.” says Cheryl Carner, TMF Co-Chair.
Members participate in educational and social events, act as mentors to new members, serve in leadership positions, and engage with grantees. North Shore residents Toby Sloane and Barbara Feldman have been TMF members since the founding. Julie Callum, Michele Cohen, Donna Katzman, Sheryl Lappin-Levy, Gayle Rubin and Sue Reilly, all philanthropic leaders on the North Shore, have joined in the past two years.
In addition to its annual funding process, TMF provides meaningful non-financial support for grantee organizations and their leadership through quarterly convenings, professional development programming and a newsletter.
The Miriam Fund is a unique collaborative venture with Combined Jewish Philanthropies. CJP provides significant in-kind support to TMF, including staff salaries, marketing and operational support. Working together, CJP and TMF support both the Jewish and secular community and help create a more equitable future for women and girls.