Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (Elluminate)



New York, NY

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,041,817
Expenses: $1,015,375
Assets: $4,326,468






Jamie Allen Black

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The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY; known since 2022 as Elluminate) is a philanthropic organization which supports causes that further the interests of the Jewish diaspora – especially its female members – as well as left-of-center social causes. The organization, which was founded in 1995, has funded initiatives both in the state of New York and in Israel, and claims to have distributed more than $6 million in grants to more than 300 Jewish and non-Jewish groups.

In 2022, the JWFNY rebranded as “Elluminate.” 1


The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York refers to its history as its “herstory,” using the term which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as history “presented from a feminist viewpoint.” 2 3 From its founding in 1995 to the middle of the 2000s, the JWFNY mostly prioritized Jewish groups, particularly those which aimed to benefit Jewish women and girls. Starting in 2005, the organization began to explore the possibility of expanding into general social activist grantmaking, and in 2012, the organization formally created a pool of funds for addressing miscellaneous societal issues, especially those affecting developing nations. In 2018, however, the JWFNY renewed its focus on its own community, funding projects which were intended to place Jewish women in entrepreneurial and leadership roles, both in the United States and in Israel. The foundation’s founder Arlene Wittels died in 2021, and the following year JWFNY changed its name to Elluminate, claiming that the rebrand would be “more evocative” of their work. 4 5

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), the establishment of the JWFNY was part of a trend of liberal Jewish women creating grantmaking organizations to promote their interests. JTA reported that within five years of the foundation’s launch, there were at least ten similar foundations, including the (unrelated) Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and a female-centric offshoot of the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The JTA also indicated that at least seven other foundations were in the process of being set up at the time. 6

Advocacy Stances

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York has stated that it prioritizes the interests of ethnic and sexual minority groups when setting its grantmaking agenda. At the same time, the organization maintains an overarching objective of funding initiatives that place Jewish women in positions of influence and authority. 7

The JWFNY promotes uninhibited and universal access to abortion in the United States and around the world. The organization reacted with hostility towards the action which the Trump administration took in January 2017 to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding abortion providers and promoters worldwide. At the time, executive director Jamie Allen Black stated that any international health initiatives that did not promote abortion as an option for women “is not aligned with our mission.” 8

The JWFNY supports using federal law to force individuals, businesses, and institutions to cater to same-sex-attracted and transgender individuals. In April 2021, the organization promoted a drag show which one of its partner groups hosted in order to promote the proposed Equality Act, which would codify many of these legal requirements. The JWFNY reported that U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) attended the event. 9 Similarly, the JWFNY backs the legally enforced normalization and expanded availability of hormonal and surgical gender-transition procedures. The organization also claims that incidents of crime against transgender individuals are part of an epidemic of “anti-transgender violence.” 10

The JWFNY backed the Women’s March, a nationwide activism campaign against the Trump administration and its policies, until January 2019, when it and several other liberal Jewish groups terminated their support. The organizations cited the involvement of anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, as well as Tamika Mallory, a long-time associate of radical anti-Jewish head of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan. 11


Arlene Wittels founded the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York. She sat on the organization’s board of trustees and advised chief executive officer Jamie Allen Black. The two oversaw the expansion of the organization’s scope from liberal Jewish women’s issues to left-wing social causes in general. Prior to founding the JWFNY, Wittels headed the Jericho Jewish Center, another philanthropic organization. She also spent time as a teacher in the New York City public school system. Wittels, who died in January 2021, was born in the Bronx, New York, attended the University of Michigan Ann Arbor for her bachelor’s degree, and received a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. 12

CEO Jamie Allen Black has a long history of non-profit and Jewish-specific work and has held executive director and CEO roles with JWFNY since joining in May 2016. She is also involved in feminist nonprofits. 13

Rachel Weinstein is the JWFNY’s president of the board of directors. She is an award-winning Broadway entertainer, whom the organization announced is leading it towards a left-of-center social issues focus. 14


Between 2015 and 2019, the organization’s total revenue grew from less than $400,000 to just over $1 million. In 2019, the JWFNY held net assets of more than $3.6 million. 15


  1. “Herstory.” Elluminate. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  2. “Herstory.” Elluminate. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  3. “Herstory.” Merriam-Webster. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  4. “Remembering JWFNY Founder, Arlene Wittels.” Elluminate. December 4, 2022.
  5. “Herstory.” Elluminate. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  6. Julie Wiener. “Women’s foundations: new twist in Jewish giving.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency. April 17, 2001. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  7. “Leveraging Leadership Philanthropy.” Elluminate. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  8. Cathryn J. Prince. “Jewish organizations lament Trump severing foreign aid over abortions.” The Times of Israel. January 25, 2017. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  9. Natasha Mayer. “Cartwheels for Civil Rights.” Elluminate. April 23, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  10. “Transgender Day of Rememberance 2020.” Elluminate. November 20, 2020. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  11. Josefin Dolsten. “A Jewish Women’s March guide: Which local marches are and aren’t affiliated with the national group, and why.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency. January 15, 2019. Accessed December 4, 2022.
  12. “Remembering JWFNY Founder, Arlene Wittels.” Elluminate. December 4, 2022.
  13. Jamie Leigh Allen Black, LinkedIn profile, Accessed December 5, 2022.
  14. Glenn Rosenkrantz, “Rachel Weinstein is elected president of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York,” elluminate. July 12, 2021. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  15. “Jewish Womens Foundation of New York Inc.” ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer. Accessed December 4, 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1975

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Jun Form 990 $1,041,817 $1,015,375 $4,326,468 $484,448 N $831,722 $0 $74,788 $228,128 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $892,796 $1,231,290 $4,628,476 $936,052 N $625,896 $0 $82,255 $216,925 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $781,888 $1,270,137 $4,740,909 $750,037 N $713,829 $0 $51,567 $179,625 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $387,413 $809,425 $4,856,785 $601,136 N $498,038 $0 $49,278 $145,771
    2015 Jun Form 990 $680,484 $1,243,446 $5,256,487 $730,165 N $615,108 $0 $54,220 $182,025 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $2,685,798 $922,774 $5,944,664 $788,854 N $1,582,903 $0 $61,105 $148,016 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $756,945 $894,621 $4,566,917 $570,752 N $588,211 $0 $46,841 $155,162 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $652,531 $934,152 $4,605,563 $620,634 N $619,006 $0 $71,318 $144,830 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $370,983 $700,236 $4,834,998 $487,041 N $188,749 $0 $94,508 $121,021 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (Elluminate)

    130 East 59th Street
    New York, NY