Community leader Molly Wexler sees the many sides of philanthropy
Philanthropic service has been a longtime focus of Molly Wexler’s, both professionally and personally. A native Memphian, she moved to New York City after college, where she worked for the UJA-Federation of New York, which engages Jewish New Yorkers in supporting the causes they care most about. With her husband, Jason, she moved back to Memphis in 1996 when both coincidentally got job offers in the Bluff City. Molly worked in fundraising and programming at the Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis until 2014.
With her two children (now 19 and 17) becoming more self-sufficient, Molly found more time to offer in service to the organizations and causes she cherishes. She is both a Meals on Wheels volunteer and Tennessee Promise mentor, but the organization that has received the most attention from her as of late is Indie Memphis. At a 2014 Indie Memphis event, she wrote her name on a list when the audience was asked if anyone was interested in volunteering. Four years later, she is president of its Board of Directors. The city’s premier film organization, Indie Memphis not only hosts the renowned annual film festival, but over the past few years has diversified into artist development, a youth program, and a weekly film series. The nonprofit is a two-time GiVE 365 grantee, in 2010 and, most recently, in 2016 for its inaugural Youth Film Festival.
Molly’s leadership roles also include serving on both the Community Foundation’s Board of Governors and the GiVE 365 A-Team. “I’m a proponent of thoughtful, value-driven giving. You should budget it just like you budget the rest of your life,” she remarks. And the opportunity for deliberate, informed giving is one of the main reasons she is drawn to the Community Foundation’s dollar-a-day program. “GiVE 365 helps you learn more about different areas and be more thoughtful.
“I think it’s a perfect reflection of Memphis, where Memphis has a lot of need and a lot of people who want to help that need. GiVE 365 is a great way for people from all over Memphis to come together and as a collective show that they care what happens to our city.” Wise words from someone who – whether from the vantage point seated in a boardroom or with boots on the ground – has seen the power of deliberate charitable action to strengthen a community.