Healing the world is a timeless Jewish value. Volunteerism and philanthropy play an important role in putting this value to work.
Wendy Manasse Wiese embodies both roles as she applies her passion for them to RUNWAY: The Beauty of Helping Others.
Now in its 6th year and scheduled for September 19, this fashion-focused fundraiser benefits JFCS of Long Beach & West Orange County as the agency continues its 60-plus year tradition of providing professional, affordable counseling and social services for residents of Long Beach and 22 surrounding communities. JFCS is non-sectarian and helps everyone regardless of religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or national origin. Over 80% of the people served are not Jewish.
As a veteran swimsuit designer for major brands such as Catalina and Jantzen, Wendy applies her knowledge of the fashion world and her design creativity to this annual event that has become the talk of the town.
Thanks to Wendy and David’s underwriting all expenses of the RUNWAY events, JFCS receives 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales, sponsorships, and the New York Experience opportunity drawing, consisting of air and hotel for two nights with a visit to the production floor and fashion closet of one of Hearst Magazines’ fashion titles -- Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, or Marie Claire. “Our attendees at RUNWAY appreciate the idea that every dollar they spend will help someone who is truly in need of an outstretched hand. As philanthropists, David and I feel that this is a very important goal that we are able to achieve with RUNWAY,” said Wendy.
Since 2014, the event has raised over $257,000 for JFCS to provide counseling services, domestic violence education, and emergency assistance such as food, gas cards, bus passes and paying utility bills for those who suddenly find themselves out of work. “We really believe in the JFCS vision of a community healed, one person, one family at a time, and are grateful that we are able to make a difference in so many lives,” added Wendy.
Wendy is an agent of positive change in all she undertakes. During her stint as Temple Beth Shalom sisterhood president, she was able to increase attendance and participation in meetings by gathering support to change the meeting time from mornings to evenings. She serves on the Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Cabinet and has successfully chaired their largest fundraiser. She also mentors and coaches fashion students at Long Beach City College and CSULB and is Outreach Chair for the JFCS board of directors.