MISSION

NCJW|LA is committed to advancing economic justice and equity for women in Los Angeles.  We combine hands-on programs and services with activism and advocacy to drive change on a micro and macro level -- supporting the passage of laws and policies that ensure economic security, promote dignity, and expand the safety net for women and their families.

HISTORY

Founded in 1909 by 16 strong women who were determined to make a positive impact on their community, the Los Angeles Section, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW|LA) spent much of our first century providing health and human services to tens of thousands of Angelenos regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, age, or gender identity. Over the years, programs evolved to meet the changing needs of the Los Angeles community and ranged from immigrant resettlement services to in-school and after-school youth education to support pregnant and parenting teens. NCJW|LA's model includes advocating for issues impacting our clients and supporting key legislation related to human trafficking, fair pay, expanded childcare, poverty reduction, and reproductive justice.

Starting in the late 80s and for nearly three decades, NCJW|LA became known as a leading human services provider through our comprehensive (crisis-based and long-term) Community Mental Health program that included a toll-free warm line for community members in crisis. The service provided referrals and support to people in distress, many of whom were struggling financially. The crisis line led to the development of cash-based assistance programs which included scholarships, rental and transportation assistance, clothing and household goods assistance, and an Emergency Survival Fund to help with unplanned expenses such as medical bills, auto repairs, and the increasing costs of a growing family. The success and demand for these financial assistance programs laid the groundwork for the shift in our services and a strategic focus on advancing economic justice and equity for working women.

Prior to the pandemic, we were already on track to reimagine how to responsively and directly address the challenges women face in our current economy. In 2018, we conducted a deep-dive community mapping which concluded that direct financial support was the single most important need of lower-income working women. The findings spurred a strategic visioning process and a commitment to address economic inequities for women in Los Angeles who were struggling from the trifecta of the high cost of living, rising childcare costs, and insufficient wages. In 2021, we launched the first of four Guaranteed Income Pilot projects targeting female-headed households; data collected to date shows significantly improved outcomes in overall mental health and well-being.

Today, NCJW|LA programs are more than a safety net, they are a launching pad that propels women toward financial stability.