We celebrated our 30th anniversary 2015! In honor of this milestone, we profiled 30 remarkable leaders who have partnered with AJWS to build a better world. These are but a few of the thousands who have raised their voices worldwide with our support, changing the lives of millions for the better.
Ending child marriage through philanthropy
Every year around the world, 15 million girls enter into early marriages. Thanks to Dena Kimball, a young philanthropist and foundation executive, AJWS is working hard to end this centuries-old practice.
In 2012, after traveling to India with AJWS, Dena introduced us to The Kendeda Fund, which has since invested $15.3 million over three years in our efforts to end child marriage in India. With Dena as its executive director, the Kendeda Fund’s girls’ rights portfolio aims to give girls “the skills, choices and authority to fully realize their human potential…transforming how families, communities, and governments value girls.”
When asked why The Kendeda Fund selected AJWS for this grant, Dena praised our “relentless curiosity” and described what she saw as an opportunity to work in partnership with us at a moment of explosive growth: “AJWS was just coming out of a new strategic plan and looking to prove what it could accomplish by going deeper in certain issues. We wanted to be your partner in achieving the overall vision for the organization.”
“Ideally,” she said, “we’re creating an inspiring example of what change in this area can look like. There’s an increasing interest in child marriage around the world, and AJWS is operating with a specific visionary point of view about how to bring about this change that’s grounded in feminism and equality. If we can inspire others to approach the issue in a similar way, we can really make a difference.”
Years earlier, Dena served as the first chair of Global Circle, our group of emerging philanthropists. For Dena, inspiring her peers to give to a cause they believe in and supporting Indian teenagers in shaping their own destinies have one thing in common: They are inherently Jewish things to do.
“The opportunity to express my faith and to personalize my philanthropy connected to my Judaism has been paramount. AJWS is a vehicle for exercising my responsibility to engage in repairing the world—tikkun olam—and to help address the challenges that people around the world are facing.”