Our Team:

Jessica P. Zachs

Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Dignity Grows

Dignity Grows has been one of the most meaningful initiatives on which Jessica has ever worked. A lifelong donor to charities and long-time philanthropist, Jessica developed a deep passion for helping others at age 10, when she and her sisters began hosting carnivals to benefit Muscular Dystrophy in Queens, NY. Upon moving to Connecticut with her husband and young children, Jessica became actively involved with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the larger community.

She is guided by the principle of Tzedakah and is an ardent believer in the Winston Churchill quote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Jessica is inspired by the many individuals in which she has invested her volunteerism and philanthropic support.

Jessica has served on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation. She was a board member, vice president, co-president and co-chair of Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, where her children attended school, and she remains active well after they graduated.

Because of her work in the Hartford community, Jessica was asked to be a member of the Young Leadership Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America and campaign co-chair in 2001. She currently serves on the National Women’s Philanthropy Board and was co-chair of Recruitment and Engagement for the 2019 International Lion of Judah Conference. The entire Zachs family is proud to have been the first recipients of ADL’s Torch of Liberty Award.

A graduate of Cornell University, Jessica is a class officer for the University. She and her husband, Eric, have passed the values of gratitude, generosity, and Tikkun Olam to their three children. Now adults, their children have continued to make giving back a family affair and are actively engaged in Jewish non-profits in their communities.

As a professionally trained chef, Jessica loves entertaining family and friends. She is as comfortable cooking for 10 as she is for 50 or more. Her legendary meals are complemented with interesting conversations and often include dancing well into the night.

Jennifer Tolman Schwartzman

Chief Operating Officer

Her passion for giving back to the community has influenced Jennifer’s professional and personal life. Dedicating her career to numerous areas of communal service, she has focused on education and incorporating meaningful forms of engagement.

Jennifer’s career began at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta , where she served as an educator and as camp director. More recently, Jennifer served as Director of Community Connections at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, and as the Coordinator of the “WOW!” experiential education program. She is an experienced educator and curriculm designer and was awarded Atlanta’s “Jewish Teacher of the Year” in 1999.

Committed to volunteerism since she was a young adult, Jennifer worked with Play SAFE, a program providing a safe haven and enriching activities for children living in urban New Jersey neighborhoods. While studying at Boston University, Jennifer participated in volunteer opportunities on and off campus, promoting Alzheimer’s research as well as working with organizations that provide support to individuals affected by HIV.

The mother of three teen boys, Jennifer has begun to instill a passion for volunteerism in her children by fostering dogs for several local rescue organizations.

Board of Directors:

Paige Maehara

Head of Operations, Coterie

Sharon Kochen

Community Leader

Maria Lino

Principal & Founder, The Latino Way

Michelle Strawder, MPA

Senior Grants Officer, Goodwin University

Zoë Zachs, LCSW

Psychotherapist, Within Health

Advisory Board:

Janice Hartnett, MD

Medical Advisor
Head of
Hartford Hospital Women’s Ambulatory Health Services

Marco Signorello

Logistics Advisor
Director of Finance and Facilities, Solomon Schechter Day School

Caren Hosansky

Resource Advisor
Former Director of Human Resources

Dignity Grows provides girls, women, and all menstruators with the human dignity that comes from having their most basic personal hygiene needs met, one month at a time.