What We Do

The Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) transforms the lives of individual Jewish women and girls through grantmaking and advocacy to further social change and strengthen families and communities.

Who We Are

Kahnweiler Kahan

We launched as an independent project of Jewish United Fund in 1997 and have since grown from a small group of visionary women into the largest Jewish women's foundation in the nation. Over 330-strong, we are a diverse, multigenerational group dedicated to improving the lives of Jewish women and girls throughout the world.

Today, JWF is a leading force committed to a vision of a safe, healthy, and inclusive world for Jewish women and girls. Pushing the agenda beyond social service, JWF employs a proven model for advancing systemic change. Since inception, JWF has awarded over $3.5 million in grants to 153 projects in Chicago, Israel, and all over the world. We invest our philanthropic dollars in the security, safety, and overall potential of Jewish women and girls, thereby advancing their quality of life and that of their families and communities.

JWF Chicago Multigenerational Event

Our members join JWF with varied backgrounds and experience, brought together by their commitment to a world where women can grow, learn, and experience equality.

How We Do It

Stephanie Smerling Linda Kupfer

JWF operates as a giving circle and serves as an incubator for informed Jewish philanthropists and leaders. Trustees have the unique opportunity to become empowered as funders by studying pressing issues that impact women and girls and taking a hands-on approach to grantmaking, including the opportunity to serve on committees, read grant proposals, conduct site visits, and ultimately vote on the projects that they think will have the biggest impact on the community.

Anna G. Simon

While embracing a Jewish and gender lens in our grantmaking, JWF Trustees direct funds to individual programs and organizations that promote economic security, legal reform, education, leadership development, and health and well-being for Jewish women and girls. Through this process, our trustees learn how to use philanthropy to effect positive social change.

If you are interested in learning more about JWF, please contact us.