Elana Frank, Founder and CEO of the Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) knows all too well the heartache of infertility. As she tells it, her journey to bear children began when she and her husband lived and worked in Israel – a culture where large families are common and where the judgment and pressure to launch a Jewish family can be, in Franks’ words, “crushing.”
At the same time, Israel turned out to be the ideal place to access world class infertility care. In the U.S. the cost of IVF ranges from $14-$25K. In Israel’s socialized medicine system, it is free. Moreover, Israeli medicine afforded Frank the opportunity to consult a doctor after only four months of trying to conceive. Five years later the Franks moved back to America with two young kids, and again through IVF, had a third child.
Today, The Jewish Fertility Foundation, which launched in Atlanta, has scaled to become a national nonprofit with a presence in 8 cities. JFF provides financial assistance with fertility grants of up to $15K, educational awareness, and emotional support to people with medical fertility challenges. It is JFF’s vision that every Jewish person in America should be able to afford fertility treatments, be emotionally supported, and have access to educational resources while building their family.
JFF’s rapid expansion is clearly a testament to Elana’s passion, persistence, and nonprofit leadership skills. But Frank says that some of the most effective tools for growth and sustainability came from Atlanta Jewish Foundation and Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
“From the earliest days, Federation believed in me. Because of their Innovation initiatives JFF was able to experiment and fine tune our program. In 2020, I was awarded Federation’s Max & Mary London People Power award. That early support and exposure gave us ‘street cred’ with other funders. Ultimately, by being a truly great partner they let us discover the best path. That turned out to be a strategy of geographic expansion.”
Just a year later, Federation created Propel Innovation Grants – a “Shark Tank-like” opportunity to get in front of community grant makers. Jewish Fertility Foundation took second place and won a seed grant. “It was fun to do the pitch, and the funding was great, but the exposure was even better,” Frank remembers.
Federation’s Women’s philanthropy was another early champion of JFF. “Linda Silberman was a leader who mentored me and really advocated for me,” Frank says. “She created an event for intended Jewish grandparents that gave us great exposure, extended our educational outreach, and led to new donors and advocates.
Today, as the organization matures there’s a new focus on future sustainability. Thanks to Atlanta Jewish Foundation, Jewish Fertility Foundation is part of a LIFE & LEGACY fellowship cohort. It is training JFF leaders how to start an endowment. “My development team is learning how to solicit legacy gifts, how to secure donor letters of intent for future endowment. All this from the superb fundraisers at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. They are making it so easy for us to plug in and get the education we need to build long term support for JFF. We never could have done this alone.”