We recently got a chance to connect with Jerri Rosen, Founder of Working Wardrobes. Check out what she has to say below.
How did you become interested in philanthropy?
My family always had a tradition of giving – actually it’s a Jewish tradition to give tzedakah. It started with ‘the little blue box’ that sits in most Jewish homes and children learn to give weekly. A filled blue box is given to the synagogue and the money is sent to Israel for support in any way needed.
I have always felt that each of us who can, should give to help others and make our world a better place. Our gifts can be money, acts of service or gathering items that are in need by another group. Some of the most generous people I know give much of their time and expertise and they are changing lives as a result.
What does your philanthropic career look like?
I did begin volunteering when I was a teenager and was active in my Phoenix, AZ B’nai Brith Girls chapter – president for a couple of years. Love to lead!
Board service has been a big part of my life and that led me to launch Working Wardrobes in 1990. At the time, I had no idea it would become my life’s work; I only wanted to help survivors of domestic violence get on their feet. Helping transform lives is an incredible feeling as is looking back on 31 years of service. The looking back provides a rich experience because as a nonprofit leader, when you’re in the throes of work, it’s not always easy to lift your head and assess the landscape! Serving over 115,000 people in our community and finding the resources to make that happen has been monumental in my life. Challenges, for sure, but I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
What is your favorite moment as a philanthropist?
Watching a veteran served by Working Wardrobes stand proudly and talk about the job he has just gotten and how it is going to change his life and his family’s situation and express gratitude from his soul. That is heart stopping!
Which nonprofit organization(s) do you currently work with? Or have previously worked with?
Now that I’m retired/rewired, I’m an active volunteer. I serve as the CEO of Executive Coaches of Orange County (we coach nonprofit executives and emerging leaders), Vice Chair of my community Reata Glen and oversee our volunteer residents who are incredibly dedicated, serve on the board of WISE (Women in Security & Education) and The Invisible Theater in Tucson, Az.
Do you have any goals for yourself or your organization(s)?
I always want to be engaged and involved in my world and find ways to serve. When we retire, we don’t want to lose our professional muscle (so I’ve been coached by a very wise woman!) and my life is so much richer now that I have the time to work on projects that are fun and make an impact.
Has Impact Giving helped you or your organization(s) in the past? If yes, how so?
I’ve watched the organization grow and thrive over the years and make a huge impact on nonprofits locally and globally. Outstanding work!