Sixteen nonprofits aimed at expanding opportunities for women in the Washington area and Israel will receive grants totaling $200,000 from a local Jewish foundation.
The grants from the Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation of Greater Washington, a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s United Endowment Fund, seek to empower women and girls, according to Joan Kuriansky, the chair of the foundation.
Among the Israel-based recipients are the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which advocates for human rights in Israel and the territories through litigation; and the Kayan Feminist Organization, which advocates on behalf of Palestinian women.
Washington-area recipients include Jews United for Justice, the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and the Falls Church-based Tahirih Justice Center, which provides services and legal representation for immigrant women and girls.
“We look at our issues that are promoting women’s equality and autonomy, economic security, and our funding is only used to support non-profit organizations to do that kind of work,” Kuriansky said.
She said the foundation wanted to help immigrant women because immigration is at the center of public discourse. The Israeli organizations, she said, were chosen because of board members’ concerns about what she called the growing gender divide in Israeli society.
“We were really appalled to learn of the increasing discrimination against women in the public sphere, whether it’s academic, in the military or in public spaces in general,” she said. “This has in large part been created in light of the recent mandate of the Orthodox community to be more mainstream in the sense of having to participate in the military, having to earn money more substantially then they did before.”
Kuriansky said that that Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation’s work is entirely bipartisan, and that the practice of labeling women’s advocacy as liberal is more a function of the current public discourse.
“I think it’s a misnomer to label what we’re doing as liberal,” she said. “We do not take positions on people, and what elected officials are doing.”