By Ellen Macks
President of ASSOCIATED Women
When I became president of ASSOCIATED Women in July 2011, I spoke about the goals I hoped to achieve during my two-year term. What I wanted most was for women throughout our Jewish community to feel that they play a role as ASSOCIATED Women through their individual participation and interests. My goal continues to be furthering the vision of my predecessor, Laura Black, who envisioned the evolution of ASSOCIATED Women from our former Women’s Department.
I am so proud that, during my term, we have continued to open doors to meaningful involvement to so many women in Jewish Baltimore.
We have hosted large-scale gatherings, like the Women’s Mosaic Project, at which hundreds of women from multiple generations created a beautiful piece of art which permanently graces the entrance hall at Sinai Hospital. Each woman who glued a tile in our glorious mosaic pomegranate tree added her own personal touch. The pomegranate tree and the broad spectrum of women who created it were a fitting metaphor for the mission of ASSOCIATED Women.
We have encouraged small cohorts of women to learn together and grow as leaders through programs like Chapter Two and Dor Tikvah. Our Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary after completing a comprehensive strategic plan involving many talented women. We recognize that women from all segments of our community share common goals and can connect through ASSOCIATED Women.
We continue to provide opportunities for women to roll up their sleeves and volunteer together. On May 5, ASSOCIATED Women will gather at The Pearlstone Center to plant, cook for those less fortunate, and explore the Jewish values around food and social justice. This is an outstanding opportunity for women to come together to learn about a gem in our community and to experience the satisfaction that comes from hands-on volunteerism, especially with other like-minded volunteers.
As philanthropists, we have made an enormous impact in Baltimore, Israel and around the globe. Women account for 25 percent of THE ASSOCIATED’s Annual Campaign, contributions which are often above and beyond their family giving. Generous donations ensure that our community is able to meet critical needs today and pave the way for a strong and vital future. The role women play in making their household’s philanthropic decisions cannot be overstated. As more and more women become engaged in our community, the more they understand and appreciate the power of their contributions of time and resources to THE ASSOCIATED.
My term as president ends on May 30 at THE ASSOCIATED Women’s Annual Meeting. There, we will celebrate the strides that women in our community have made as philanthropists and volunteers and hear the inspirational and entertaining words of Nancy Lublin, the founder of Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women receive the proper attire needed for job interviews and the workplace.
I will also pass the presidency of ASSOCIATED Women to Rina Janet. In Rina’s capable hands, I know that ASSOCIATED Women will continue to reach out to our sisters throughout the community and welcome them in. We will strive to prepare the leaders of tomorrow and to ensure that our community remains prepared to face challenges and opportunities in the future. As always, our Jewish values will guide the very important work we undertake together. I hope you will join us.