Legacy Magazine: Women & Philanthropy

Illustrated Women Standing Together in a Group In the popular imagination, philanthropy is a field dominated by hard-driving, high-achieving men. Names like Carnegie and Rockefeller immediately conjure images of powerful corporate titans channeling dynastic wealth to advance the public good, with impact that has spanned generations.

Yet if conventional wisdom holds that charitable giving is overshadowed by men, statistics tell a different story. Researchers from Indiana University’s esteemed Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recently published data showing that women are more likely to give than their male counterparts are – and, in fact, that women’s donations are likely to be larger. Forbes reports that women give almost twice as much of their wealth away as men do. Perhaps just as significantly, a Lilly Family School of Philanthropy study found that female donors seek to establish relationships with the organizations they support, indicating an openness to long-term investments capable of fostering sustainable change.

Central to our work at The Foundation is nurturing the voices of women in Los Angeles: recognizing the unique talents, interests, and perspectives women bring to their philanthropic giving and empowering them to make a difference both locally and beyond. Below we introduce you to three dynamic women who are leveraging The Foundation’s expertise and resources with their own to strengthen the fabric of our community.

“My mom died of Alzheimer’s disease, and I’m very interested in neurological research. She was a fantastic cook, and my older son, Matt, went to culinary school, so issues related to food are also high on my list,” she says. “Overall, I feel a strong pull toward LA-based organizations and Jewish groups.”

Susan Hirsch Wohl, Foundation Donor


“I think advancing human rights and animal rights are part and parcel of the same thing. Both touch who we are on this planet and how we can make it a more sustainable place to live.”

Sheila Baran Spiwak, Foundation Donor


“There are a lot of people at The Foundation to help you, and they encourage you to pick their brains,” she points out. “They help you set up the structure of your fund and make sure that when you want to make a grant, it’s a simple process.”

Suzanne Weiss Morgen, Foundation Donor

Susan, Sheila, and Suzanne all approach giving from a different angle, each pursuing her own ideas of how to improve lives in our community and around the globe. What they have in common is confidence in The Foundation to translate those ideas into tangible reality – to help them craft strategic objectives and then map a clear path to reaching their goals.

“The Foundation brings so much to the table, making me aware of incredible programs I never could have found on my own,” Sheila says. “Plus, The Foundation performs the due diligence and takes care of all the logistics and paperwork.”

Another crucial advantage The Foundation brings is its connection to the community, both Jewishly and generally, Suzanne observes. “The Foundation really has its finger on the pulse of what’s happening in and around Los Angeles, so I know it will be able to guide me as I increase the scope of my giving over time.”

In the final analysis, Susan says, perhaps the most compelling benefit of partnering with The Foundation is also the simplest: “It feels so good to give, and The Foundation makes it easy.”