Danny Wein, chair of the Jewish Pride Fund, attends the LGBTech gala hosted at the British ambassador’s residence, June 6, to kick off Pride Week in Tel Aviv.
(Photo/Courtesy Jewish Pride Fund)
Danny Wein, chair of the Jewish Pride Fund, attends the LGBTech gala hosted at the British ambassador’s residence, June 6, to kick off Pride Week in Tel Aviv. (Photo/Courtesy Jewish Pride Fund)

S.F. Jewish Pride Fund gives $56K in grants, visits LGBTQ grantees in Israel

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

This week, Daniel Wein and his colleagues from the San Francisco Jewish Pride Fund got to spend time at an LGBTQ youth shelter in Tel Aviv, sitting in appreciation of the facility’s private garden — one that exists because of the fund.

The youth shelter is one of six organizations — four in Israel and two in the U.S. — serving LGBTQ communities that have received grants from the Pride Fund, a giving circle under the umbrella of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. The Bay Area philanthropic group has been in Israel seeing the work it helps support.

In all, $56,000 in grants have been given out this fiscal year, exceeding last year’s total by $20,000.

Wein, chair of the Jewish Pride Fund, said the group has been meeting with leaders of the Israeli organizations that received grants, as well as with future potential grantees. “We’re meeting face to face, and we’re able to hug the leaders of these organizations that are doing this work,” Wein said. “We get to 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 across Jewish, secular, and religious society,” and invest in Jewish LGBTQ leaders, according to its website.

We’re meeting face to face, and we’re able to hug the leaders of these organizations that are doing this work.

Early members felt there needed to be more Jewish philanthropy supporting the LGBTQ community, said Wein, who became active with the group shortly after its founding.

“There were important initiatives, particularly focused on the most marginalized in our community, trans and nonbinary folks, Jews of color, trans folks,” he said. “For the queer community and the queer Jewish community to be successful, organizations that focus on that community need to have the funding they need to succeed.”

In practice, each year the fund gives grants to a select number of organizations supporting the LGBTQ community, for general operations or specific projects.

In the current round, $40,500 of the $56,000 total has gone to Israeli organizations: Beit Dror, a shelter for LGBTQ youth, Tehila, a support group for friends and family of LGBTQ people, and Jerusalem Open House, an LGBTQ community center, and Ma’avarim, which supports and advocates for the transgender community.

Ma’avarim 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’avarim has been the recipient of four grants over the life of the Pride Fund. This support, Alexander said, has allowed Ma’avarim to hire employees, hold a trans health conference, and offer financial assistance to trans Israelis during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, among other initiatives.

Elisha Alexander of Ma’avarim (Photo/Itai Jakubovitc)
Elisha Alexander of Ma’avarim (Photo/Itai Jakubovitc)

“The Pride Fund is very gracious in that they give us general support. These are the boring things that nobody wants to fund,” Alexander said, “but they are the things that allow us to do the amazing things that we do.”

The Pride Fund is also supporting one Bay Area organization, with an $8,500 grant to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. The society will be using 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 Sephardic-Mizrahi Q Network, a national organization that supports “an often overlooked segment of the Jewish world,” LGBTQ+ Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews.

Wein said his hope is that 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’ve implemented, to fund the inspiring work of organizations that work at the intersection of these two identities.”

Lillian Ilsley-Greene
Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene was a staff writer at J. from 2022-2023.