SF Jewish Pride Fund visits LGBTQ grantees in Israel
This week, Daniel Wein and his colleagues at the San Francisco Jewish Pride Fund was able to spend time at a shelter for LGBTQ youth in Tel Aviv, sitting enjoying the facility’s private garden – a garden that exists thanks to the fund.
The youth shelter is one of six organizations — four in Israel and two in the United States — serving LGBTQ communities that have received grants from the Pride Fund, a donor circle under the umbrella of the Jewish Community Federation based to SF. The Bay Area philanthropic group traveled to Israel to see the work it helps support.
A total of $56,000 in grants was awarded this fiscal year, exceeding last year’s total by $20,000.
Wein, president of the Jewish Pride Fund, said the group met with leaders of Israeli organizations that had received grants, as well as potential future recipients. “We meet face to face and we can hug the leaders of these organizations that are doing this work,” Wein said. “We see the work of these organizations in person and actually feel and see the impact.”
The Jewish Pride Fund was founded in 2017 by the Federation’s director of collaborative philanthropy, Danielle Meshorer, and Sam Goldman, an LGBTQ activist. Its goal is “to create a world where Jewish LGBTQ voices are heard in Jewish society, secular and religious,” and to invest in Jewish LGBTQ leaders, according to its website.
We meet face to face and we can hug the leaders of these organizations doing this work.
Early members felt more Jewish philanthropy was needed to support the LGBTQ community, said Wein, who became active with the group soon after its founding.
“There have been important initiatives, particularly focused on the most marginalized in our community, trans and non-binary people, Jews of color, trans people,” he said. “For queer community and queer Jewry to succeed, organizations that focus on queer community must have the funding they need to succeed.
In practice, each year, the fund awards grants to a limited number of organizations supporting the LGBTQ community, for general operations or specific projects.
In the current round, $40,500 out of a total of $56,000 went to Israeli organizations: Beit Drora haven for LGBTQ youth, Tehilaan LGBTQ friends and family support group, and Open Day in Jerusaleman LGBTQ community center, and Ma’avaramwho supports and advocates for the transgender community.
Ma’avaram received the largest grant, some $12,000, to fund general operations. It was founded in 2013 by executive director Elisha Alexander as the first LGBTQ organization in Israel to specifically serve the trans community.
Ma’avalim has received four grants during the life of the Pride Fund. That support, Alexander said, enabled Ma’avarim to hire employees, organize a conference on trans health and offer financial assistance to trans Israelis at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, between other initiatives.
“The Pride Fund is very kind in that it gives us general support. These are boring things that no one wants to fund,” Alexander said, “but these are things that allow us to do the amazing things that we do.
The Pride Fund is also supporting a Bay Area organization, with an $8,500 grant to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. The society will use the funds to create a Jewish archive, including primary sources and materials from Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco’s historic gay and lesbian synagogue.
The sixth and final grant went to the Sephardic-Mizrahi Q Network, a national organization that supports “an often overlooked segment of the Jewish world,” LGBTQ+ Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews.
Wein said he hopes the success of the Pride Fund will inspire more Jewish giving in the LGBTQ community, locally and nationally, “so that other individual philanthropists, other foundations and other giving circles can learn from the best practices we have implemented, to fund the inspiring work of organizations working at the intersection of these two identities.