Jewish Interest Free Loan of Atlanta, which has given out more than $229,000 in interest-free loans since March 2010, has hired Nancy Weissmann as its executive director.
Weissmann was a president of Yeshiva Atlanta High School and was a key figure in that school’s merger with Greenfield Hebrew Academy to create Atlanta Jewish Academy.
She answered AJT’s Four Questions.
AJT: What’s the most important thing people should know about JIFLA?
Weissmann: That we exist and are eager to help! We are a relatively new organization working on raising our visibility so that potential borrowers can become aware that an interest-free loan from JIFLA might be available to them.
AJT: Why did you take the position?
Weissmann: This position truly seems tailor-made for me. It is the perfect combination of my business and technical background and my passion for community outreach and interpersonal relationships. I love working with Laura Kahn Travis (JIFLA’s president) and the rest of the board. The energy they bring is infectious!
AJT: Where do you hope to lead JIFLA?
Weissmann: One of our goals for 2016 is to double the number of loans awarded. So I will definitely be spending a lot of time meeting with various community constituents to raise awareness of JIFLA and the types of interest-free loans we can make. A big part of this process is de-stigmatization: to help people realize an interest-free loan is an opportunity and not an embarrassment. We are here to provide a means toward financial integrity and independence.
AJT: What are some of your strategies to get JIFLA where you want it to go?
Weissmann: I am looking forward to a lot of coffee meetings, outreach activities and engaging conversations such as this one with you. We are eager to collaborate and partner with other organizations such as JF&CS and JAA (Jewish Abilities Alliance). In order to better track the impact of our program, we are planning a survey of our borrowers. In addition to the Women in Crisis Fund, we have recently created a new Special Needs Fund. These designated funds allow us to partner with organizations that are well positioned to direct potential borrowers to JIFLA. Also, JIFLA is part of a worldwide network of free loan societies; I have already learned quite a lot from their experiences and best practices. As awareness of JIFLA grows, we will be better positioned to provide interest-free loans to more and more individuals throughout the Jewish community, thereby enabling a greater number of people a higher degree of financial independence, opportunity and integrity. In turn, this will strengthen our Atlanta Jewish community, making a stronger and more positive environment for all.