2010 was inspirational for us at AJWS.

Why? Because in a year of earthquakes, floods, human rights struggles and food shortages around the globe, remarkable heroes emerged: People who inspired us by saving lives; activists who reached out to the survivors of Haiti’s earthquake and Pakistan’s floods, to oppressed communities in Uganda, to the millions of people still in the throes of a global hunger crisis; individuals who changed the world for the better with their passion and their service and their generosity.

In 2010, our grantees inspired us. Our volunteers inspired us. Our donors inspired us.

In every area of our work we encountered people doing amazing things to overcome the challenges that 2010 threw at the world.

Flip through to read more about them. We hope you’ll be inspired too.

When the most devastating earthquake of the past century hit Haiti in January 2010, our grantees in the country and in the Dominican Republic responded immediately. Despite their own tremendous loss, these heroes worked tirelessly throughout 2010 to help others recover and rebuild.

In 2010, AJWS made 33 grants for earthquake recovery, totaling $1,468,520.

Grassroots organizations used the funds to provide food and safe drinking water, replant crops, reduce gender-based violence in refugee camps and advocate for greater civil society participation in redevelopment efforts.

AJWS also supported Haitian recovery domestically. We led a coalition of more than 30 faith-based, human rights and social justice organizations advocating for effective and just disaster relief. The coalition helped secure nearly a billion dollars in increased foreign aid to Haiti and organized the only major Congressional event since the earthquake that included members of Haitian civil society. AJWS advocacy also helped achieve forgiveness of $750 million of Haiti’s debt from the IMF, the InterAmerican Development Bank and the World Bank.

Shortly after the earthquake, President Obama recognized AJWS’s work and the inspiring efforts of our grantees at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Just hours after the earthquake struck, AJWS grantees in Haiti and the Dominican Republic mobilized to help.

One of them—Dominican activist Marisol Baez of Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women (MUDHA), helped organize an ambulance caravan of 120 doctors and volunteers—all of them Dominicans of Haitian descent or Haitian immigrants—who spent weeks traveling the countryside treating wounds and saving lives.

But unlike many of the aid workers who flocked to Haiti during the height of the catastrophe, Marisol never left. She has stayed to coordinate MUDHA's work in Léogâne, near the earthquake's epicenter. She teaches leadership and income-generating skills to women living in the IDP camps and empowers local peasant groups to lead their own rehabilitation efforts.

Like the women she supports now in Haiti, Marisol overcame tremendous odds to get where she is today. Having grown up in the marginalized Haitian-Dominican community, she went from being one of MUDHA’s beneficiaries to becoming one of its leading advocates for others still living in poverty. To the women she supports now in Haiti she is living proof that their current situation doesn't have to define their lives for the future.

The grassroots organizations that AJWS supports around the world inspired us in 2010 with their commitment, passion and extraordinary achievements.

AJWS funded 397 organizations in 32 countries all doing important work to empower local people to fight injustice and overcome poverty. Many of them risked their own lives to help their communities recover from disasters—in places like Haiti, Pakistan and Peru.

Many AJWS grantees earned international recognition and awards (from the UN and major human rights organizations) in 2010 for their work: they reduced the spread and impact of AIDS; created sustainable solutions to food insecurity and hunger; and built local and international pressure that stopped a vote on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill. All of our grantees were heroes in 2010 for their perseverance in fighting poverty, hunger and disease during a year of tremendous global need.

In 2010, AJWS grantee CEDOVIP (The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention) won one of the UN’s highest honors, the Red Ribbon Award, for its inspirational victory against domestic violence. The award recognized CEDOVIP for a decade of grassroots work and political advocacy that resulted in the passage of the country’s first Domestic Violence Act.

The Domestic Violence Act, which will provide legal protection to people in abusive relationships, was a landmark victory in a country where as many as 59 percent of Ugandan women report having been abused by a partner. CEDOVIP’s media campaigns and advocacy leading up to the passage of the new law changed many Ugandans’ views on women’s safety and HIV/AIDS and ensured that the government and civil society paid attention to these issues.

The organization also engages men and women, local institutions and officials, journalists and policy makers to re-think their use of power in order to create more equitable, safer relationships. And to bring perpetrators to justice, CEDOVIP collaborated with the Uganda Police Force to develop a handbook for responding to domestic violence that is now being used throughout the country.

AJWS’s work in Washington, D.C. in 2010 has helped further the human rights struggles waged daily by our grantees around the world.

During a year of global pessimism about Sudan’s future, AJWS spearheaded a faith-based effort that helped reinvigorate international support for Sudan in the months prior to the referendum on Southern independence. AJWS also provided national leadership on the U.S. solidarity movement to oppose the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality bill, which threatened the lives and freedoms of LGBTI individuals and their supporters.

We also worked hard this year on our ongoing campaigns for food justice and foreign assistance reform. As part of our advocacy for Haiti in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake (see “Haiti”), AJWS drew Congressional attention to the damage that the dumping of free U.S. rice inflicted on Haitian rice farmers. We saw improvements later in the year, when USAID purchased food regionally to help survivors of the floods in Pakistan.

AJWS catalyzed support for these issues through our blog about hunger and food justice, Global Voices: Food Justice.

In January 2010, Sudan seemed headed for another civil war. A year away from the deadline for a referendum on Southern independence, the country wasn’t prepared for a nationwide vote and the South threatened war if it failed. World leaders all believed that it was simply too late to salvage the rapidly disintegrating situation.

But AJWS saw urgency, rather than defeat. We believed that if the Obama administration would take a leadership role, world leaders might be able to help the beleaguered country hold its referendum.

In March 2010, AJWS mobilized a diverse coalition of faith-based leaders to present Congress with the message: “It’s make-or-break time for Sudan.” This slogan quickly became a new refrain in the halls of Congress. AJWS and a determined group of Jews, Christians and Muslims met with dozens of Senators, representatives and administration officials, hand-delivered hundreds of pamphlets and blanketed Congress with ads.

This campaign played a crucial role in helping Sudan get back on the road toward peace. Members of Congress and the administration began to speak about the need for urgent action. At the UN in September, President Obama’s support helped convene an assembly of world leaders committed to leading the charge for peace. That same day, the President met with Ruth Messinger and a small group of activists to discuss a sustainable path toward peace. With this renewed support, Sudan achieved what no one thought it could. It staged its referendum in January 2011, avoiding war and voting to pursue Southern independence.

In 2010, AJWS volunteers were on the ground in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

AJWS sent 359 volunteers to 70 grassroots NGOs in 13 countries.

Hundreds of students and professionals, teens and rabbis, got their hands dirty and devoted their time and skills to helping AJWS’s grassroots partners fight poverty, hunger and disease in 2010. Whether building irrigation systems and health clinics in rural communities, or helping marginalized groups document human rights abuses, AJWS volunteers inspired us with their dedication—and were transformed themselves by the communities and activists they encountered.

AJWS also contributed its expertise to the growing field of service-learning, by training group leaders from other organizations to lead more impactful, life-changing volunteer experiences.

Service volunteers witnessed extraordinary things in 2010.

Lauren Lavoie, a Microsoft programmer from California, spent three months volunteering at Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU), on the border between Burma and Thailand. PWU works with refugees who have escaped decades of ethnic persecution and bloodshed in Burma.

While Lauren was teaching public speaking to PWU’s staff, she helped the activists give voice to their experiences of violence, loss and years lived on the run. One colleague recounted the time she spent assisting people fleeing the Burmese military—traveling on foot through the jungle, dodging land mines and living in constant fear. A second spoke about having left her family as a child so that she could go to school, surviving an itinerant childhood through the generosity of strangers. A third passionately described her plan for a free primary school for children, to prevent this disruption of education for future generations.

Lauren later gave PWU’s staff a “trainers’ course” so that they could teach others to speak out. Giving people the ability to tell their stories is an essential step in promoting human rights. Hearing these stories had a profound impact on Lauren, as well, and will be remembered as the most inspiring experience of her volunteer service.

In 2010, AJWS found savvy new ways to reach out to thousands of North American Jews.

Our programs for young activists are booming: Pursue: Action for a Just World was launched with a bang in 2010, with more than 40 events jam-packed with young Jewish changemakers, learning, collaborating and engaging in activism together.

AJWS also organized the first annual Global Hunger Shabbat, engaging more than 100 synagogues, 30 campuses and dozens of households. We tripled foot-traffic to On1foot, our online database of Jewish justice texts, and will generate even more enthusiasm for justice programming through the launch of the new Neta Fellowship. AJWS even took its educational model to the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans this year, writing the curriculum for the first ever “GA day of service.”

By teaching that global issues are Jewish issues, and empowering our community to teach others and take action, AJWS and our supporters helped build a more just and peaceful world in 2010.

In 2010, AJWS organized the first annual conference for alumni of the 11 Rabbinical Students’ Delegations we have sent to Africa and Latin America since 2004. At the Alumni Institute young rabbis, students and educators representing a broad spectrum of Jewish leadership came together for dialogue, collaboration and activism. They were clearly inspired. And their words inspire us:

I left [the Alumni Institute] with the feeling that AJWS had a broader mission for me—a mission to speak to the people with whom I work about global social justice issues and to be an ambassador for change.

These sessions gave the space to dream, to imagine, to go deep. They recognized just how much work we have to do in this world and just how radical we will have to think to get there.

[I left comforted] to know that AJWS has my back. To know that Ruth's vision is a vision I share. To know that there is an organization out there who will be my partner moving forward.

[Hearing from AJWS’s grantees in Haiti and Uganda] inspired me to try to open up my congregants' minds about the difficulties people in the world face and how we truly can be helpful in making lasting, sustainable change, even when we are far away.

Bringing together such a diverse group of Jewish leaders who all have in common a deep care and concern for social justice… provides me with contacts for people who might be able to help me think creatively about bigger and better ways to impact my own community.

AJWS donors responded to the global challenges of 2010 with extraordinary commitment and generosity.

We are proud to report that contributions rose dramatically, as our community mobilized to help the people of Haiti and others around the world facing life-threatening crises.

In fact, donor engagement has been on the rise overall, as evidenced by growth in two of our hallmark programs this year: Global Circle, our community of next-generation donors, has spawned unprecedented engagement at more than 20 events and raised nearly a quarter million dollars from young professionals passionate about AJWS’s mission.

And our Study Tours program—bringing committed AJWS donors on immersive educational travel experiences—broadened its scope, with new trips to the epicenters of human rights crises in Haiti, Uganda and Bolivia.

Thank you—to everyone who supported our work in 2010.

Your belief in global justice is what keeps our grantees funded, our volunteer programs running, our advocacy successful and our educational efforts so effective. By supporting AJWS you inspire us and make it possible for us to inspire others.

Thank you.

American Jewish World Service, Inc.
Statement of Financial Position as of December 31, 2010

(With comparative financial information as of December 31, 2009)

Assets 2010 2009
Total Assets $31,003,443 $26,883,470
Cash and Cash Equivalents $16,559,298 $11,426,086
Contributions Receivable 4,849,328 4,288,908
Investments 7,153,694 8,500,000
Prepaid Expenses and Other Assets 456,077 426,192
Notes Receivable 50,000 50,000
Property and Equipment, Net 1,935,046 2,192,284
Liabilities and Net Assets
Total Liabilities $8,342,792 $8,930,379
Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses $702,709 $792,056
Grants Payable 6,955,221 7,466,185
Deferred Rent 271,591 266,957
Unearned Revenue 178,800 168,101
Charitable Gift Annuity Obligation 234,471 237,080
Total Unrestricted Net Assets $11,395,116 $10,665,761
Total Restricted Net Assets $11,265,535 $7,287,330
Total Net Assets $22,660,651 $17,953,091

Total Liabilities and Net Assets $31,003,443 $26,883,470
Net Assets:
Unrestricted Net Assets
   Undesignated $3,760,365 $4,053,415
   Unrestricted Designated for Donor Advised Funds 1,559,584 1,171,200
   Unrestricted Designated for Long-Term Investment 2,023,298 2,000,131
   Board-Designated for Reserve Funds 4,051,869 3,441,015


Statement of Activities, 2010
(With summarized comparative financial information for the year ended December 31, 2009)
Contributions and Revenue Unrest. Rest. Total 2010 Total 2009
Total Contributions and Revenue $45,152,131 $3,978,205 $49,130,336 $43,016,109
Individuals $9,580,829 $20,771,388 $30,352,217 $26,379,881
Donor Advised Fund 11,250,000 11,250,000 12,000,000
Bequests 46,300 254,456 300,756 343,696
Foundations and Corporations 713,358 3,632,984 4,346,342 3,004,558
Special Event Revenue, net 1,249,616 1,249,616 89,432
Donated Services 187,889 861,236 1,049,125 778,929
Investment Income, net 201,390 3,044 204,434 110,840
Study Tours and Miscellaneous Revenue 374,169 3,667 377,846 308,773
Net Assets Released from Restrictions 21,548,580 (21,548,580)
Total Program Expenditures $38,025,726 $38,025,726 $33,151,420
Program Expenditures:
Grants $27,734,096 $27,734,096 $24,833,907
Service 4,100,206 4,100,206 3,467,055
Education and Community Engagement 4,691,770 4,691,770 3,801,559
Advocacy 1,499,654 1,499,654 1,048,899
Total Support Service Expenditures $6,397,050 $6,397,050 $5,417,206
Supporting Services:
Finance and Administration $3,274,739 $3,274,739 $2,891,765
Development 3,122,311 3,122,311 2,525,441

Total Expenditures $44,422,776 $44,422,776 $38,568,626

Change in Net Assets $729,355 $3,978,205 $4,707,560 $4,447,483
Beginning Net Assets 10,665,761 7,287,330 17,953,091 13,505,608
Ending Net Assets $11,395,116 $11,265,535 $22,660,651 $17,953,091

The statements of Financial Position and Activities were derived from the 2010 audited financial statements of American Jewish World Service, Inc. Printed copies of the audited financial statements and form 990 for 2010 are available upon request. Our independent auditor is McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.

AJWS 2010 IRS Form 990 (PDF)
AJWS 2010 Financial Statements (PDF)


Barbara Dobkin

Vice Chairs

Jonathan Cohen

Kathleen Levin


Michael Hirschhorn


Sara Moore Litt


Ruth W. Messinger

Board of Trustees

Don Abramson*

Marc Baum

Marion Bergman

Mark Bernstein

James Dubey

Carolyn Everett**

Marty Friedman*

Sally Gottesman

Rabbi Richard Jacobs

Howard Kleckner

Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen

James Meier*

Lawrence S. Phillips***

Russ Pratt

Marcella Kanfer Rolnick

Elizabeth Scheuer

Jolie Schwab

Nancy Schwartz Sternoff

Diane Troderman

William Wardlaw

Glenn Weinberg

Andrew Weiss

Herbert Weiss**

Board as of May 2011

*Former Chair

**Honorary Chair

***Past Chair and Founder


Ruth W. Messinger

Executive Vice President

Robert Bank

Vice President for Programs

Aaron Dorfman

Vice President for External Affairs

Phyllis Teicher Goldman

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Louis D. Schwartz

Executive Assistants

Jessica Berlin

Rachel Kanter Kepnes

Elyse Lightman

Jessica McCarthy

Ariel Moritz


Timi Gerson

Director of Advocacy

Ian Schwab

Amanda Cary

Dahlia Rockowitz


Susan Rosenberg

Director of Communications

Joshua Berkman

Andrew Blossom

Hadassah Max

Jordan Namerow

Suzanne Offen

Davyd Pittman

Leah Kaplan Robins

Clara Shapiro

Morgan Soloski


Riva Silverman

Director of Development

Jasmin Abbatiello

Maggie Ball

Maya Crawford

Rena Dascal

Elizabeth DeLois

Lauren DiSilvio

Jenny Goldstein

Kate Greenberg

Lauren L. Miller

Maryanne Nigro

Miller Oberman

Diane Saltzman

Eason Smith

Julie Tilson Stanley

Katie Tilson

Leah Weinstein

Jill Weitz

Catherine Wolf

Education and Community Engagement

Stephanie Ives

Director of Education and Community Engagement

Jocelyn Berger

Ilan Caplan

Shulie Eisen

Lisa Exler

Sasha Feldstein

Julie Gersten

Adina Mermelstein Konikoff

Jessica Soria Korsunsky

Lauren Kurland

Suzanne Lipkin

Sarah Mulhern

Cassandra Murray

Audrey Sasson

Merrill Zack


Monica Anderson-Snow

Director of Finance

Ruddy Miller

Tharon McDonald

Valeta Prendergast

Maritza Sanchez

Alpha Sow


Kate Kroeger

Director of Grants

Carly Benkov

Noah Cohen-Cline

Saskia de Jonge

Luis Diaz-Albertini

Adriana Ermoli-Miller

Amarilys Estrella

Rebecca Fries

Billie Goodman

Sarah Gunther

Sandhya Gupta

Heather Janbay

Angela Martinez

Navin Moul

Rosalie Nezien

Nathan Saete

Debra Siegel

Jaron Vogelsang

Jesse Wrenn

Gitta Zomorodi

Human Resources and Facilities

Brooke Hirschfelder

Director of Human Resources and Facilities

Fred Argenziano

Hector Echevarria

Corinne Irwin

Jennifer Wald

Joy Young


Rose de Fremery

Director of IT

Angel Carrion

Steven Collado

Bishop Thompson

Jeanne Turner


Samantha Wolthuis

Director of Service

John Cape

Ashley Carter

Lily Goldschmidt

Masha Katz

Alexis Kort

Dorcus Moo

William Nassau

Windy Previl

Rachel Profeta

Andrea Coron Richardson

Rachel Weinstein

Aylah Winter

Western Region

Laura Talmus

Director of Western Region

Matt Balaban

Allison Lee

Country Representatives

Teddy Atim

Fernando Romero Bolaños

Emma Bowa

Eleanor Douglas

Marisol Garces

Cantave Jean-Baptiste

Irene Kangume

Daroroth Ke

Lilian Keene-Mugerwa

Stephania Louis

Mamadou Bouna Mané

Jeanne D’Arc Mihigo

Daniel Moss

Everlyne Nairesiae

Weena Namcharoensombut

Beatrice Nhdlovu

Kala Peiris


Sunita Sharma

Stella Victor

Thida Yan

Grace Yeanay

Staff as of May 2011

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community.