Longtime community advocate takes director spot

Dana Margolis, a longtime volunteer with Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the observant west side community, has been named director of Women’s Philanthropy.

She started part time with the Federation in the director role on July 1. She switches to full time as of Sept. 3, 2019.

Beyond her extensive volunteering – which has included board service at both Federation and Yeshiva Elementary School – Margolis has served for 17 years as a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, focusing on the Hebrew Bible and basic Judaism.

“She brings experience in fundraising and organizational development through her service to many community institutions including Torah Foundation of Milwaukee, Congregation Beth Jehudah, Twerski Wellness Institute, Yeshiva Elementary School and L’Chaim Center,” said Federation Chief Development Officer Caren B. Goldberg. “She has also been an active fundraiser for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Annual Campaign.”

Are you interested in joining Women’s Philanthropy or learning more? Contact Dana Margolis at 414-390-5713 or DanaM@MilwaukeeJewish.org.

Women’s Philanthropy is a division of Milwaukee Jewish Federation. It seeks to provide women the knowledge to assert their power through philanthropic giving, the skills and confidence to assume positions of responsibility in their communities, and the opportunities to develop and enhance their personal networking and leadership skills.

Margolis’ core responsibilities will include engaging women in philanthropy, developing a pipeline of women leaders, and raising funds to support the Federation’s Annual Campaign.

Dana Margolis

“I’m looking forward to connecting to more wonderful women in the Jewish community,” she said.

Margolis has served on the Federation’s Education Task Force and Human Services Task Force. She partnered with Jewish Education Community Planner Tzipi Altman-Shafer on the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, which included a trip to Israel.

In fact, that project started as an idea for Margolis to take the trip on her own. But through discussion it became a partnership between Federation and the Torah Foundation of Milwaukee, a nonprofit supporting activities in Milwaukee’s observant west side community.

The partnership led to a trip for 16 women to Israel last year, which has in turn led to follow-up programming in cooperation with the Coalition for Jewish Learning of the Federation. It also has led to a Jewish spirituality class led by Margolis, held in private homes. The class has attracted yet more women who were not on the trip.

It is Margolis’ philosophy that such efforts can connect women to Judaism, connect them to Israel and involve them in Jewish community. The idea is that this inspires women and families, which inspires communities.

“With all of her partnership with Federation as a volunteer, accomplishing so much for the Jewish community, it was a given that she would be a truly effective addition to our staff,” Goldberg said. “We are lucky to have her.”

Margolis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a graduate degree from University of Texas – Austin. She was a post-graduate student at Midreshet Rachel College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

Margolis is married to Adam Margolis, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and musician. They have five children ranging in age from 7 to 17. 

“I feel like I’m at home doing this job,” Margolis said. “I love it.”