Leah Krausz is a graduate of the Chesed Leadership Program.

Women in the Orthodox Jewish community are already leading nonprofits providing vital services. Yet even the best leaders have found they can use help to hone their skills and make important contacts. And other women can be their best advocates.

That’s where the Chesed Leadership Program comes in.

The program, a collaboration between UJA-Federation and the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, gives Orthodox Jewish women a six-month fellowship in management training and mentorship from female executives at UJA nonprofit partners and other agencies. Twice a month, the women meet to explore topics including development, strategic planning, technology, and public relations. The program, now in its third year, has provided fellowships to nearly 60 women and there’s an active alumnae network.

Leah Krausz, executive director of a patient advocacy nonprofit, Vaad Refuah, knows the benefits firsthand. After graduating the Chesed Leadership Program, Leah is now bringing her organization to a new level of success.

“The leadership training helped take us to the next level,” Leah says. “We’re not the same people we were when we started. We grew. We’re less afraid to try something new. We have the courage and information to go forward and we’re more likely to take the initiative.”

For Leah, that meant making a list of things she’d like to implement, and she didn’t waste any time getting started. Motivated to follow best practices, Leah contacted a lawyer to ensure Vaad Refuah’s by-laws were in good order. She also decided to raise funds to expand a first aid training program to school children.

“The most amazing part of the program is that it gave me access to a broader network of social services, information, and resources to tap into,” Leah says, “Everyone is sharing helpful information.”

Through a WhatsApp group created during the program, Leah was able to make a request to help a Jewish woman in a rehab facility that did not offer the kosher food she required.

“Within a few minutes, people were sharing ideas, and suggesting resources,” Leah says. “I’ve made a lot of great friends, and the connections I’ve made continue. There are a lot of extraordinary women. It’s liberating to see how many. Together we’re helping the community.”

For more information about the Chesed Leadership Program, contact Cynthia Darrison at Cynthia.Darrison@touro.edu