GOLD2022

Project Kesher

Empower. Lead. Change.

New York, NY   |  www.projectkesher.org

Mission

Project Kesher’s mission is to build Jewish community and advance civil society by developing and empowering women leaders.

Ruling year info

1994

Principal Officer

Ms. Karyn Gershon

Main address

2660 Broadway #16

New York, NY 10025 USA

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EIN

36-3673594

NTEE code info

Jewish (X30)

Women's Rights (R24)

Community Coalitions (S21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, ending an era of institutionalized anti-Semitism and more than seventy years of religious repression. Almost 30 years later, the emerging Jewish community continues to face many challenges. With an estimated 500,000 - 2 million Jews remaining in the region, building strong Jewish identity and developing communal leadership is essential to the future of Jewish life in the region. Jewish women lacked the Jewish knowledge, formal training and feminist empowerment to lead social change and better their circumstances and those around them. Factors such as poverty, access to education, reproductive roles, and prevalent violence, increase women’s likelihood to die of preventable and detectable diseases, or by the hand of a family member. Often, women who are isolated and lack the company and support of other women believe that their problems, such as poverty or violence, are unique. In reality, these problems are systemic.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mother Daughter Retreats

To date, over 300 Mother/Daughter pairs have graduated from our Mother/Daughter retreats. Often, our retreats provide the first exposure to Jewish tradition and learning for participants.

These retreats improve the relationships between mothers and daughters by teaching ways to solve conflicts and techniques for constructive dialogue. This program inspires and encourages the practice of Judaism and social activism, and instills a desire to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through Jewish values.

Population(s) Served
Jewish people

Our computer centers teach the fundamentals of Microsoft Office and offer training in bookkeeping, graphic design, legal literacy, career counseling, job placement and resource management. In the last year alone, 5,091 students graduated from the program (93% were women).

Project Kesher also works with women to learn how to create family budgets, decrease debt, and make savvy financial decisions on such items as cell phone plans and credit cards.

The Centers also serve as safe women’s centers where participants learn about access to valuable resources for women needing domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers or local vocational placement services.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Seventy years ago, Torah Scrolls were exiled from Eastern Europe. At first, the Torahs went underground; Jews passed them from house to house and met in basements to read the Torah. Then, faced with Siberia or death, they smuggled the scrolls out of the country. The practice of Judaism sputtered out in the region.

With the renewal of Jewish life in the region, there has been a shortage of Torah Scrolls. In June 2004, Project Kesher brought six Torahs from the United States and put them in the hands of six of their leaders, who brought them home to their communities. In most cases, there had not been a single Torah in those communities.

To date, Project Kesher has since sent 37 Torah Scrolls to the region. Wherever they have gone, Jews have come forward to study, to become bar/bat mitzvah, and to celebrate together. They have served as a locus of Torah-centered activism.

Population(s) Served
Jewish people

Project Kesher activists are trained to reach out to people of other faiths and nationalities, other organizations, and government agencies to promote women's health and economic power and support women’s issues in their communities. These coalitions work together proactively on shared issues, developing trust and good working relationships that serve them well in the unfortunate event of a hate crime or community crisis.

Population(s) Served
Interfaith groups

Every year, 50,000 women in the region are newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

The breast cancer rate has increased 64% over the last 20 years. Rates are even higher for Ashkenazi Jewish women who live in the path of the Chernobyl cloud.

Working on our own and sometimes in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in cities throughout the region, Project Kesher has developed culturally-sensitive and cost-effective programs to educate women about breast cancer, motivate them to go for diagnosis and treatment, and to sustain women post-treatment through peer support groups.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Project Kesher brings together women to identify the issues that undermine their success and seek out solutions together.

In Israel, elderly women found it difficult to live on their pensions - even after graduating from Project Kesher Israel’s financial literacy classes. They realized that even exercising great care - their pensions are simply too small! With PKI’s support, they began to testify in the Knesset and lobby their representatives. They asked that their Prime Minister make good on his promise to negotiate the release of their pensions from their former countries.

In Ukraine, PK women are advocating to make sure that the new healthcare policies cover issues important to women - from reproductive health to pregnancy to postpartum depression to diseases that impact women disproportionately.

The needs of women and the Jewish community in these countries are enormous and cannot be resolved solely through international support.

In order for these countries and communities to thrive, they must learn how to advocate where they live. Project Kesher’s programs have successfully engaged a new generation of Jewish women and girls in the region. From teenage youth groups, to programs on college campuses, to working with young professionals, our programs energize young women through a unique combination of Jewish content and social activism.

The needs of women and the Jewish community in these countries are enormous and cannot be resolved solely through international support.

In order for these countries and communities to thrive, they must learn how to advocate where they live. Project Kesher’s programs have successfully engaged a new generation of Jewish women and girls in the region. From teenage youth groups, to programs on college campuses, to working with young professionals, our programs energize young women through a unique combination of Jewish content and social activism.

We link Jewish texts to the imperative to stay healthy, and we provide advocacy training to empower women to get their health needs met in their communities. We engage our many interfaith partners to advocate for government allocation of resources to women’s diagnosis and treatment.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

Project Kesher
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Project Kesher

Board of directors
as of 06/15/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sheila Lambert

Project Kesher

Term: 2018 - 2023

Sallie E. Gratch

Project Kesher

Roz Blanck

Project Kesher

Jennifer Daniels

Project Kesher

Barbara Glickstein

Project Kesher

Kate Epstein Mankoff

Project Kesher

Karen Perolman

Project Kesher

Arleen Priest

Project Kesher

Deborah Roberts

Project Kesher

Janet Winter

Project Kesher

Beth Mann

Project Kesher

Elisabeth Lerner

Project Kesher

Shari Lusskin

Project Kesher

Sheila Friedland

Project Kesher

Eunice Ward

Project Kesher

Sheila Lambert

Project Kesher

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/15/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/15/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.