New York City, NY

The female social entrepreneur from New York giving away her fortune

Ash Jurberg

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President Kagame at a dinner hosted by Francine Lefrak and her husband, Rick Friedberg.Image from Flicker under Creative Commons license

Last week I wrote about the New York billionaire giving away his fortune.

Today I wanted to highlight another generous person who has made the same pledge. Francine LeFrak is a social entrepreneur, a respected women's rights advocate, and a dedicated philanthropist.

Let's take a quick look at her story.

The female entrepreneur from New York giving away her fortune

Francine LeFrak was born in New York City in 1948.

She enjoyed a very successful career on Broadway and as a social issues film producer winning multiple Tony, Emmy, and Peabody awards.

Her passion, however, was as a social entrepreneur.

She founded Same Sky to help women "who were invisible become visible through the dignity of work." Same Sky initially focused on survivors of the Rwandan genocide and continued in the US with women who were recently released from prison and needed a second chance.

Francine has helped hundreds of women and girls through job training programs and providing education access. This includes:

  • "200 residents of homeless shelters in Brooklyn and East Harlem received computer skills to help them get jobs with upward mobility, helping them and their families rise out of poverty."
  • "100 women in the Bronx who received high-level, competitive tech training and will be supported through the Same Sky Ambassador mentoring program."

Many other recipients of the foundation's generosity are listed on their website.

Adding to her valuable work at SameSky, she decided to do more- and give away her fortune.

The Giving Pledge

In 2019 Francine, together with her husband Rick Friedberg, signed the Giving Pledge, in which they promised to give away the majority of their fortune.

"We have lived our lives championing those who may be overlooked or need a second chance. Through our Foundation, we focus on issues that directly impact women including criminal justice reform and re-entry, HIV/AIDS, gender equity, abuse and trafficking, homelessness, female entrepreneurship, as well as access to education and job skills training. Our goal is to give them the tools to transform their lives with dignity.We are passionate about achieving these goals. It is an honor to be part of the Giving Pledge."

Readers, what do you think of LaFrak's commitment to helping others? Are they are organizations in New York that you think she could support?

Please leave your comments below.

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