A woman living her purpose-driven life. Longtime South Jersey resident Stefanie Levine Cohen has traveled a professional and personal journey with twists and turns.
As a trained lawyer, Stefanie knew her gifts and talents were better suited in areas other than the practice of law. She found her calling connecting with other people through writing, active parenting and hands-on community engagement. To exemplify her purpose, Stefanie is a Charter member of Impact100 SJ and has served on the Leadership Council since her second year. She is a former Chair of the Governance committee and a former member of the grant review committee.
What lights Stefanie up most about volunteerism and community engagement is her commitment to be a force for positive change. With so many urgent needs and giving opportunities among us, Stefanie chooses carefully where she allocates her time to bring the best of herself for the greatest impact possible.
Given the extraordinary experiences that it offers, Stefanie encourages all members to serve on the grant review committee. In her mind, this is where members are afforded the greatest insights into the mechanisms of Impact100 SJ as well as the expansive range of grant applicants and diverse needs in our community.
With a broad background in governance structure matters, Stefanie enjoyed collaborating with other Impact100 members in the early days to develop foundational governance documents and nominating processes under the auspices of the Community Foundation.
To Stefanie, one of the rewarding aspects of working in the nonprofit world is the opportunity to have a real impact on the lives of local, fellow citizens in areas by supporting the missions of local change-making organizations. She finds amplifying the work of those who are closest to these day-to-day efforts of improving people’s lives extremely meaningful.
Stefanie considers one of the greatest member benefits to be the opportunity to cultivate relationships with interesting people from different backgrounds and perspectives. New friendships have emerged over her five years with Impact100 SJ and she is grateful for these relationships.
One of the most beautiful characteristics that Stefanie finds with Impact100 SJ is the egalitarian aspect of the giving structure. In a one woman, one vote approach, each member invests, as a baseline, the same gift amount annually. Yet, when the funds are pooled together, there is tremendous power and purpose. Gifts made one woman and $1,000 at a time will allow Impact100 SJ to exceed its million-dollar donation goal in the next giving cycle.
This egalitarian structure contrasts with other non-profits with which Stefanie has been involved.
While comprised of all women, the Impact100 SJ membership represents diverse backgrounds, skills and personal life experiences, though Stefanie views this as a work in progress. Greater diversity in racial, ethnic and religious background, as well as neurodiversity and diversity in abilities, would enrich the collective experience, Stefanie believes, and help the organization do an even better job serving the community.
In its early days, Stefanie was invited to join Impact100 South Jersey by Judy Greenberg. Moreover, she had existing relationships with members of the Philadelphia contingent of Impact100 where she was familiar with the formidable work being done in adjacent communities. Impact100 SJ membership was an easy choice for Stefanie, given the simple gateway into philanthropy that Impact100 SJ represents.
Recognizing that there are so many demands on our time, Stefanie appreciates the freedom that members enjoy to be as active as they desire. As her life and obligations have shifted over the years, Stefanie values the opportunity to ramp up and pull back her involvement, dependent upon what’s happening at the time.
Among the rewards that Stefanie enjoys from her organizational association are the enduring friendships that she has fostered. She is appreciative of how much she has learned from community members that are grant beneficiaries. This experience has been humbling and inspiring to her.
Stefanie is a published author, focusing on short stories, essays and memoirs that explore the intersection between the psychological and the spiritual, and address life transitions and the human condition.
Before turning her attention to writing, teaching and community engagement, Stefanie enjoyed a successful career in law firm strategic planning and marketing. She lives in Moorestown with her husband Steven. They are the parents of three adult children.