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Meet Elana Frank of Jewish Fertility Foundation in Buckhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elana Frank.

The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) was “birthed” by Elana (Bekerman) Frank, an Atlanta native and current resident. Her story wasn’t unique. She suffered from infertility. It took her two years, rounds of Clomid, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) and 4 IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) cycles to make two babies. At the time living in Israel, their socialized medicine and desire to create Jewish babies afforded her the opportunity to inexpensively sort out a solution. When she returned to the States, she realized that others weren’t as lucky as her – in terms of treatment success, community support, and financial aid. She learned for others it takes years, miscarriages, unbearable debt, oceans of tears, and heartache before finally giving birth, if at all. And with the cost of 1 IVF cycle (with no guarantees of a child) ranging on average from $14,000 – $25,000 in Atlanta, GA, many don’t even have a chance for a chance.

Knowing that there this need for funding, support and enhanced awareness of this sometimes “unspoken” issue in the Jewish community, she decided to create JFF.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Struggles, YES, of course!

Well, first it was me who had to convince people that this was a “real” issue. I remember about 3 years ago I shared my vision at a Shabbat dinner table and a woman told me “I’d never donate to an organization like that. It’s your generation’s fault that you are waiting so long to get married and have kids.” Wow….she had no idea how long it took me to find my husband (many many bad dates and tears) and my fertility issues have nothing to do with my age. For a while I had my guard up when speaking with people but luckily this woman was in the minority.

And the main challenge that we struggled with was getting that first large grant. Since “infertility” organizations are a new phenomenon, we found that the foundation world wanted someone else to take a chance on us first before they would fund us. Luckily, we found our angel donor who helped us get started but it took many NO’s before we found a YES for organizational funding.

And our current struggle is that there are many more families, in Atlanta and beyond, trying to build their families (who we work with) and unfortunately, we do not have the funds to accept all applicants for our fertility granting program.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Jewish Fertility Foundation – what should we know?
OUR PROGRAM, OBJECTIVES, & METHODOLOGY: JFF addresses infertility through: Funding, Education, and Support. We are shifting definitions, shifting behavior, and shifting engagement within the Atlanta Jewish community.

We are most proud of our success over these past 2 years.

-Offered 5 Fertility Grants (waiting for babies!)

-Emotionally supporting over 150 clients experiencing infertility – through our Support Groups, Fertility Buddy (peer to peer support program), and our online support.

-Have trained over 150 community leaders around infertility sensitivity.

-Are big believers in community partnerships and not replicating the wheel. We partner with the Jewish Interest Free Loan Association of Atlanta (JIFLA), all 4 local Fertility Clinics, the local infertility therapist council, Metro-Atlanta Community Mikvah (MACoM), the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta (JFGA), and many more.

-We’ve consulted with (and shared best practices) organizations nationally and internationally– in Australia, Israel and Texas, as well as, the Jewish Federation in Chicago and JFCS in Philadelphia.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
-Persistence!
-Finding the right people to sit on the organization’s Board of Directors and serve as volunteers.
-Partnering with local organizations.
-Understanding that your way is NOT the ONLY way.
-Asking for help when you need it.
-Listening to what your clients need.
-Having a supporting husband and family.

Pricing:

  • ANY DONATION AMT – HOPE-Offer hope to families trying to make families.
  • $1,800.00 – SUPPORT GROUP-Sponsor a community based infertility support group.
  • $2,500.00 – TRAINING-Sponsor a community training program around infertility
  • $10,000.00 – FERTILITY TREATMENT-Sponsor a full grant for a fertility treatment.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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