In the News

April 2, 2021

Women in Business Spotlight- Ellen Friedman Sacks

Originally published by Arizona Jewish Life

Photographer Karianne Munstedt did a photoshoot with  Ellie Friedman Sacks, Executive Director of Jewish Free Loan and then featured her in her Women in Business Spotlight. The following is a Q&A Karianne shared:

Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I think a part of me always knew that I would work in the nonprofit field. The idea of being in an industry that allows me to feel like I am helping people and making a difference has always appealed to me and my career path happened very organically. I was working for a wonderful for-profit company when I was offered the opportunity to enter the nonprofit field. After much consideration, I took the leap of faith and have been fortunate enough to work for both direct service providers and funders of nonprofit organizations for nearly 25 years.

What sets you apart from others?
I believe what sets me apart from others is that, for me, working in the nonprofit sector really is like being a part of “the family business.” My dad worked for and led nonprofit organizations from the time I was 10 years old and my mom has been in the nonprofit field for as long as I can remember. She is currently the Director of Philanthropy for an arts education organization. (Interestingly enough, she and I have worked for two of the same organizations – at different times!) My brother is very active in a volunteer capacity with nonprofit organizations in his community and works for a very philanthropic-minded company. Having a family that understands the unique challenges and opportunities that come with nonprofit/communal service is truly a blessing and I really appreciate having the opportunity to learn from their experience as I continue to grow within my chosen field.

What one most important thing would you like to tell your younger self?
There is a lot of responsibility in life. BUT… you cannot do everything and be everywhere all the time. You have permission to do less than what is humanly possible.

What is your motivation; what gets you up every morning and keeps you focused?
My biggest motivation is definitely my kids. I want to make sure that I am leading by example for them and continuing the legacy of community service that my parents fostered in me. I want to know that I am doing my part to make the world a better place for my kids, my family, my friends and my community – as well as their friends and future families. Last, but certainly not least, I want to be sure that my kids understand that they are part of a bigger picture and that it is incumbent upon all of us to look out for one another and do what we can to make a difference – no matter how big or how small.

JFL is a nonprofit organization that provides interest-free loans to help support the needs of Arizona’s Jewish community. The interest-free loans provided help people maintain and secure safe housing, pay for utilities and other basic needs, assist with medical and dental expenses, and so much more. Learn more at

Karianne Munstedt is a portrait photographer, inspirational speaker and coach. For more information, visit