by Talya Hyman, Shalom New Haven Staff Writer
Participants painted from their hearts at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven’s Women’s Philanthropy opening event on September 24, 2019. In a partnership with Hearts of Hope, a nonprofit organization focused on compassionate outreach, the kickoff event’s mission was to offer support to individuals facing personal challenges through the creation and distribution of art.
“In addition to being generous, the women involved in Women’s Philanthropy are compassionate and concerned about the world around them,” said Amy Holtz, Chief Development Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. “Getting involved with the Hearts of Hope organization was a social action project of tikkun olum acts of kindness and repair.”
As event participants hand-painted hearts and penned in personal messages of encouragement for recipients, Women’s Philanthropy was able to put its own stamp of love on the Hearts of Hope movement.
“We chose this project because it allowed us to make an impact nationally with and for people we do not know...to bring them hope and let them know someone, somewhere, is thinking of them, cheering them on,” Holtz explained.
With love, the heart art reached people near and far. A portion of the decorated pieces was distributed to uplift individuals at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven and the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven’s Foster Care Program, while some of the art was sent to the Hearts of Hope center to be delivered to individuals throughout the country.
“Both groups were so excited when they got the hearts,” shared Betsy Flaherty, the event’s co-chair. “To provide someone who is already facing a challenge or adversity with a message of hope and a feeling that they are not alone was why I agreed to chair this Hearts of Hope event.”
Dana Schwartz, President of Women’s Philanthropy, shared the inspiration behind the collaboration with Hearts of Hope, and how the Women’s Philanthropy hoped to impact event participants, long after the paint brushes were put down. “We were excited to have our kickoff event be a community service project—and timed it to coincide with the beginning of the Days of Awe—in the hope that this work, our holy work, would help open our hearts in the coming year.