Colorado Woman Plays National Role Supporting Sisterhood in Philanthropy

Jun 1, 2021

(DENVER)—Research shows that, more and more, women are driving families’ philanthropic decisions. Kathleen Loehr, author of Gender Matters, a book on women’s philanthropy, says that women give more than men—and when they give, they give differently.

“I feel like people should be paying attention to us more than they are,” says Denverite Lisa Mintz, who is also the current national women’s philanthropy vice-chair of education and leadership development for Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Mintz is helping to put the finishing touches on an online retreat and training presentation for hundreds of women across the U.S. that she will chair this month.

This after serving as the Women’s Philanthropy chair at JEWISHcolorado for four years, continuing her service on the organization’s board of directors, and having served as chairs of the annual Women’s Philanthropy event, CHOICES, and the Lion of Judah giving society. Mintz is herself a Lion of Judah and has created of Lion of Judah Endowment with JEWISHcolorado. She also played a critical role in initiating the Dignity Grows program, which has become a centerpiece of  Women’s Philanthropy over the past year.

Now she is preparing for her first major meeting in her new role at the national level.

“There are 160 women from 63 Federations across North America in the retreat group, sharing best practices and learning from one another,” says Mintz.

“We’ll be working to ensure that there is a meaningful Jewish and secular education, as well as leadership skill-building opportunities for all National Women’s Philanthropy board members,” says Mintz.

For the past two years, Mintz has been the new member education chair for the incoming group of National Women’s Philanthropy board members, serving as the go-to person for each successive cohort. “I worked with the first-year class to help nurture the Board members and guide them in their new roles,” she says. “The pandemic made it even more challenging: a lot of the team building and the formation of bonds between the board members that would have happened naturally and organically and in person just couldn’t happen that way. So we got creative,” says Mintz. “We held Zoom meetings with guided prompts, extended icebreakers, small breakout rooms for discussions, programming, art projects, sharing of best practices, and cross-class online programming.”

Mintz is also responsible for helping to develop a multi-year education plan for National Women’s Philanthropy in conjunction with the National Women’s Philanthropy chair and the professional team, ensuring the maximum impact of year-round programming.

JFNA has long recognized the strength and role of women philanthropists. The national organization describes women as, “the change-makers and community shapers of the world.” Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy engages Jewish women in the work of making the world a better place. In every community, women in each Federation chapter are building and supporting Jewish life for today and for generations to come. At the national level, according to JFNA, women contribute more than $200 million annually to the Federation’s campaign.

Women who donate at least $5,000 to their local Federation’s annual campaign become part of the Lions of Judah giving society, which was created in 1972, by Norma Kipnis Wilson and Toby Friedland (z”l) of the Miami Women’s Division Campaign. Today, the Lion of Judah* is an international symbol of commitment to the global Jewish community, and, each year, there are more than 17,500 Lions of Judah donors. The program has brought together women of all ages and from many walks of life to play an essential role in working for social justice, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, preserving human dignity, and building Jewish identity.

But the future is uncertain. The pandemic forced many women to retreat from a decades-long rise in both numbers and influence in the workplace, and many wonder whether women can regain and continue growing their economic power as COVID-19 begins to wane. Especially because the issues it surfaced—lack of affordable childcare, parental leave and flex time options, a living wage, and other such concerns—remain stubbornly in place.

If women like Lisa Mintz have anything to do with it, the 2020s will continue to be what Andrea Pactor, formerly of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, described as the “roaring decade for women’s philanthropy.” And, says Mintz, there is no time to lose. “Not only are we bringing together the women of today and building community around women’s philanthropy, we’re creating future generations of women donors who are enlightened philanthropists and who are ready to make a difference.”

*If you are interested in JEWISHcolorado’s Lions of Judah giving society, please contact Roberta Witkow at rwitkow@jewishcolorado.org.

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