In the News

HFLS Executive Director Shana Novick, who has led HFLS for 20 years, will retire in June 2015

Hebrew Free Loan Society


– Successfully Led New York’s Oldest Jewish Microfinance Organization for 20 Years –

New York, NY, January 6, 2015 – Shana M. Novick, whose leadership of The Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) brought innovative new interest-free microenterprise programs to the organization, has announced plans to retire after 20 years as executive director, effective June 30.  HFLS, a charter member of UJA-Federation of New York, is New York’s oldest provider of interest free loans to Jewish New Yorkers.

“For more than 120 years, the Hebrew Free Loan Society has helped improve people’s lives through interest-free lending, and since 1995 Shana Novick has done so much to help us successfully achieve our mission,” said Vivian Mamelak, President of HFLS. “All of us – our borrowers, our donors, our Board members and her colleagues are grateful for Shana’s numerous achievements and we all thank her for her outstanding service to those in need.”

Through Ms. Novick’s leadership, HFLS expanded its outreach to immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, to the Haredi community, and to those in need of special education resources. More recently, she led the efforts to offer a course for baby boomers impacted by the recession using the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac® NewVenture™ Entrepreneurship Program, now in its third year.

“It has been especially heart-warming to lead an organization which continues to play such a critical role in transforming so many lives,” said Ms. Novick. “Whether it was helping those devastated by Hurricane Sandy, working with a small business owner to start or expand a business, or see a person flourish in the Encore Entrepreneur program, this has been a gratifying journey.”

Since its founding, the Hebrew Free Loan Society has loaned more than $270 million – all interest free – benefitting more than 870,000 New Yorkers.  HFLS currently has more than $11 million in outstanding loans that are being used to fund microenterprise and small businesses, college tuition and student aid, Jewish continuity, emergency aid and a range of basic human needs.

“Our loans foster financial independence while preserving borrowers’ dignity,” said Ms. Novick. “This is a profoundly Jewish and centuries-old response to financial need, most famously articulated by Maimonides, who said, ‘A loan is better than charity, for it enables one to help oneself.’”

HFLS will soon launch a search to recruit Ms. Novick’s successor.