Unlike many philanthropic organizations, The Associated has had women in lay leader positions from its founding in the early 1920s. A Mrs. Isidore Ash headed up the Council Milk and Ice Fund, which ensured those who couldn’t afford these basic necessities received them. Dr. Flora Pollack served as president of the Daughters of Israel, which also helped the poor.
Sixty years later, in 1983, Shoshana Cardin, who had spent her life fighting for women, became the first woman president and chairman of the board of The Associated.
“I had spent many years in different areas of activity in The Associated before I became president,” she said. “I did not feel that I was treated differently. … What I was treated with was the respect that the office warranted … and that was all anyone could ask.”
Although women had served as leaders at The Associated since its start, it wasn’t until 1963 that the institution started training Jewish women to be leaders. That was the year organizers launched the Young Women’s Leadership Council “to develop leadership and responsibility through education and participation in the work of the agencies of the Associated Jewish Charities,” read the minutes from its first meeting. Candidates would be picked for their “qualities of potential leadership, interest and participation demonstrated through work in community activity.”
In 2000, the Young Women’s Leadership Council was replaced by Dor Tikvah: Women of Hope, Leaders for the Future, targeting women between the ages 30 and 45. The two-year leadership development program caters to women who aspire to hold key positions within The Associated and the Baltimore Jewish community. Inspired by the Jewish traditions of tzedakah (social justice) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), the program trains women in fundraising, educational programs, community-service projects. Young professionals develop an understanding of the importance of philanthropy while developing their leadership skills.
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