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Monday Meeting: Lisa Schreier, chairwoman of Jewish Women’s Foundation

*Originally posted by the Palm Beach Post: 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016


Rarely do a person’s personal and professional interests line up perfectly. But when they do, it’s serendipity.

And in the case of North Palm Beach resident Lisa Schreier, it’s the path for service to people in need of help.

Schreier is the new president and board chairwoman of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches, which seeks to better the lives of women and girls through social change, advocacy and education.

Schreier holds an undergraduate degree in Near Eastern studies and advanced degrees in public health and financial planning. “It’s the perfect storm for me to be in this position,” Schreier said of her new role with JWF.

Schreier grew up on Palm Beach, the daughter of the late Dr. Sanford Kuvin, a respected Palm Beach physician and philanthropist.

Schreier said she had a bird’s-eye view of the island’s wealth and philanthropy. “It definitely influenced my perspective on giving,” she said.

But with her longtime career in public health, Schreier saw the side of society in need of resources, especially among women and girls.

JWF already is working to help in the community. It has awarded two $20,000 grants. One, to Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies, will launch an initiative to boost awareness of post-partum depression. A $20,000 grant also was made to Families First, to provide services to pregnant women, including women with HIV/AIDS.

In addition, JWF provides grants to organizations in Israel that advance the status of women in society. It also provides grants to national organizations that help victims of human trafficking.

In all, $400,000 in grants were given away in the past year, a record for the organization.

During her two-year term, Schreier said she plans to do all she can to apply Jewish values to the challenges she sees.

These Jewish values are simple but powerful: Good deeds and philanthropy.

The public can join in on the effort by supporting the group’s Dec. 15 luncheon at the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach. Titled “Imagine the Possibilities,” the luncheon will feature Martina Vandenberg, founder and president of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center. For ticket information, go to jwfpalmbeach.org.

Name: Lisa Schreier 20161101_BRB_BIZ_Monday_Meeting_Lisa_NPB_03

Age: 52

Hometown: Palm Beach

Education: Bachelor’s in Near Eastern studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1982-86; master’s in public health (MPH), Yale University, 1988.

Family: Married, three children ages 24, 23 and 17.

About your company: Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches is a nonprofit grant-making and advocacy organization established to improve the lives of women and girls. JWF welcomes members of all beliefs and genders who believe that when women and girls are empowered, the entire community benefits.

First volunteer job and what you learned from it: I was a candy striper at Good Samaritan hospital when I was attending Palm Beach Public Junior High School. I loved volunteering in the baby nursery (in the 1970s that was allowed). My interest in maternal and child health was definitely ignited there!

How has the organization changed: The Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches was founded 14 years ago and became an independent organization only two years ago, due to the generosity of several of our trustees. We have accomplished so much and grown in such a short amount of time. Our mission has been the same — to expand opportunities for women and girls and create a world where women and girls can reach their full potential. We have expanded our grant making, we have leadership development at every age and stage. We use education, advocacy and leadership development to expand our grants.

Best business book: “Roberta’s Rules of Order: A guide for nonprofits and other teams.” (This book is a feminine version of “Robert’s Rules of Order.”) As president of JWF, I want to make sure our meetings are as organized, productive and efficient as possible.

Best piece of business advice you ever received: Every problem has a workable solution.

What you tell young people about your business: JWF gives individuals the ability to get involved in the actual grant-making process. This experience of reading the grant applications, learning about organizations that impact women and girls, and then funding the projects is energizing, educational and empowering.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? The Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches envisions a world where women and girls are safe and successful and can reach their fullest potential, and we all live in a fair and just society, including in Palm Beach County.

Many people are surprised to learn of the challenges women and girls are face, including here in Palm Beach County. Sex trafficking, maternal mental health, preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS to newborns — those are all issues we are working to raise awareness of and improve — right here in South Florida.

Power lunch spot: Sushiyama either on Clematis or in Palm Beach Gardens. The food is always fresh and light and the booths are a great place to get work done.

Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office: At the beach or doing Mysore yoga at Native Yoga in Juno Beach.

Favorite smartphone app: Kindle — I love to read a book when I have a spare few minutes.