At 32 and the new head of The Hadassah Foundation, Stephanie Blumenkranz is one of the youngest directors ever at the helm of a major foundation. It’s a strategic move on the Foundation’s part and due to Blumenkranz’s obvious qualifications.
“The Foundation looks for potential in women, and I think it’s in line with their mission that they saw potential in me, even though I’m younger than many other nonprofit directors,” said Blumenkranz.
Armed with an early background in public policy, Blumenkranz spent seven years as associate director at the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York before moving to Hadassah.
“When I first began working in government, I was surprised by how few people looked out for others,” said Blumenkranz. “It was only when I got to the Jewish communal world that I was surrounded by women who looked out for other women. That inspires me to continue working on behalf of girls and women.”
Hadassah invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the U.S. And its mission aligns with Blumenkranz’s belief that when women are leaders and decision makers, societal ills are corrected, faster. “Women care about making the future better for everyone, not just ourselves,” she said.
Blumenkranz’s 1-year old son Zachary helps her stay focused. “It’s my vision for his future and the world in which he’ll grow up that keeps me professionally motivated,” she said.
Perhaps a life in Jewish communal service was always in the cards for Blumenkranz. Growing up in Closter, N.J., she watched her father — the town’s mayor — advocate for a local synagogue’s attempt to buy land in the face of significant local discrimination.
“I asked him why he was doing it, and he said to me, ‘I’m doing it for the Jewish people, the future, and most of all, you,’” said Blumenkranz. “That made an impression on me.”
Blumenkranz’s overarching goal for her tenure at the Foundation? “I want to define equality for women in the modern age,” she said. “When we know what it looks like, it’ll be easier to achieve.”
A good sport: In high school, Blumenkranz played all-county field hockey.