Rivkie Feiner is a dynamic leader with a talent for identifying winning ideas and making them happen. Harnessing her intuitive grasp of people and programs, Rivkie has had a transformative impact on FGS and has helped clients secure hundreds of millions of dollars from government and private funding sources.

Coming to FGS in 1994, Rivkie’s superb mastery of multiple functions rapidly propelled her to vice president and chief financial officer, positions she held from 2001-2013. In 2010, she became a partner in FGS, and in 2013 was appointed CEO.

In addition to her duties at FGS, Rivkie has served as program director of the Overseas Aid Consortium, Agudath Israel of America, from 1998 to 2001; a Fellow in the Community Connections Program of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council in 2014-15; and a tireless advocate for children’s safety, health, financial literacy and quality education. A powerful motivational speaker and workshop presenter, Rivkie has been a panelist in forums on government and foundation funding at the annual President’s Conference of Torah Umesorah – National Society of Hebrew Day Schools, the USAID conference in Washington, D.C., Agudath Israel’s lay leader conclaves and the Jewish Women’s Entrepreneur conference.

Rivkie and FGS have been the recipient of many prestigious honors and awards, including Honoree at the American Friends of Shaare Zedek Medical Center Women’s Division Luncheon; Avodas Hakodesh tribute from Yeshiva Darchei Noam; and the Tomche Shabbos of Rockland County Annual Dinner.

Executive Management

Estee is a master grant writer with expertise in program development, budgeting and reporting. At FGS since 2003, Estee Botnick has written and coordinated many successful grant applications, securing millions of dollars in federal, state, city and foundation funding for nonprofits. Her ability to interpret RFPs and regulations is superb, as is her understanding of program design, funding strategies, timetables and budgets.

Baila is a talented grant writer and capable project manager who has successfully spearheaded complex, multi-agency projects. She is FGS’s homeland security expert, with honed expertise in both homeland security and hate crime funding. Baila’s training as an MBA and her experience in education and youth work greatly enriched the proposals she works on. Baila has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Tova brings a broad range of organizational, technical and creative skills to her work. Supporting an organization that routinely deals with strict deadlines and high-profile international clients and funders requires a keen understanding of timeliness, discretion and respect for confidentiality, as well as meticulous attention to detail. Tova’s leadership and organizational abilities, combined with her graciousness, are critical components of FGS’s success. Tova has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a certificate in graphic design.

Our Team

Reuven Feiner provides administrative and technical support to FGS’s operation.

Miriam Dabbah has many years’ experience in office administration and technical support , including data management and organization of fresh web content. Miriam honed her skills in commercial lease abstraction and medical office administration which required meticulous attention to detail.  Her consummate professionalism, organizational skills, punctilious accuracy, overall efficiency and pleasant nature make Miriam a valuable member of FGS’ collaborative team.

Trany Steiner is the quiet backbone of FGS support services.  Utilizing her previous experience in management as well as her proficiency in software and online navigation, Trany applies her skills to both internal operations and client services.  Her expertise in tracking and compiling critical data, organizing files and preparing presentations continuously improves internal efficiencies.  Her talent in creating budgets and navigating online portals enhances the quality and look of our grant proposals.

Debby  brings many years of program design and proposal writing experience to UCN. For 33 years she served as the grant writer for the Board of Jewish Education, a major UJA-Federation of New York agency, where she helped secure funding for important education initiatives. A team player, Debby derives great satisfaction from writing compelling and well-crafted proposals. A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, Debby has a master’s degree in community organization and social work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, as well as a degree in  coaching.

Devora has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Thomas Edison University and a BA in Judaic Studies from Naaleh College. She also completed coursework in copyediting, copywriting and SEO. Devora’s wealth of knowledge and experience, coupled with her expert writing, editing and technical skills, make her a valued member of the FGS team.

With more than two decades as a CPA, Shoshana brings a wealth of experience to her work.  Prior to FGS, Shoshana was the Financial Controller for a nonprofit organization and a Senior Accountant at KPMG International, providing her the skills to draft high-quality, effective budgets.  Her professional experience gives her a disciplined approach to proposal writing with meticulous attention to detail as well as proficiency in meeting deadlines. Shoshana is results oriented and insightful, and with her sharp focus and clear and concise communication skills she has succeeded in consistently writing award winning proposals.  Her fluency in both English and Hebrew are a strong asset for our clients in Israel.  Shoshana has a B.S. in Accounting from Touro College, is a Certified Payroll Accountant (Israel), and is also trained as a parenting coach.

Debbie brings over 15 years of experience in grant writing and editing to FGS, having worked in both the private and academic sectors. This work involved proposal preparation for EU key funding programs and private foundations and serving as an expert resource on the grant application process regarding adherence to the proposal writing process, guidelines, and timetables. She has initiated and built partnerships between European and Israeli entities and led partnership management for participation in EU grant programs. Debbie has a strong background in the sciences and holds a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences and an MSc in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

With a background in psychology and English (BA, McGill University), Esther grew her administrative, management and communications skills during 15 years of executive management roles in the nonprofit sector. In that capacity, Esther honed her focused listening and communication skills to help organizations increase their productivity and success rates. Esther’s writing is crisp, focused and masterfully crafted, with meticulous attention to detail. Her clear and organized thinking, coupled with her adaptability and ability to remain calm under pressure, enables her to meet deadlines, and collaboratively support colleagues in producing an excellent grant presentation.

Eli Wachman has been involved in writing grants for over twenty years. Having served as a grant reviewer for the federal government, he has a unique perspective on what makes a winning grant. A PhD in Applied Physics with many years research experience in academia and industry, Eli adds keen intelligence and many spheres of knowledge to the FGS team.

An award-winning writer with a passion for helping others, Meirav capably fuses spirit and skill to create winning grant proposals. In addition to her gifted communications skills, Meirav enjoys science and mathematics.  She holds an Aerospace Engineering certificate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from Excelsior University.

As FGS’s resident researcher, as well as a gifted grant writer and editor, Aura has an intuitive understanding of what is required for a winning proposal. Aura enjoys researching opportunities for clients, and strategically designing proposals that will further the client’s mission. Prior to FGS, Aura served as an administrator for the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and worked as a computer programmer. Aura holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Queens College and pursued her interest in Near East Studies as a doctoral student at Brandeis University.

Chaya Sara brings a wealth of experience to her work, including more than a decade as a language arts teacher and training as an accountant.  Her combined understanding of the writing, editing and budgeting processes makes her a valuable addition to the FGS team.

Rivka is a gifted professional with experience in a broad range of areas, working from the Lone Star State of Texas .  Rivka honed her research, persuasive writing and communication skills developing curriculum materials, assessment tools and leading training seminars during her twenty-year career as a pediatric speech-language pathologist.  She is passionate about applying her experience and skills to help FGS clients grow their institutions.

Malky Caplan has performed many roles in her career: teacher, lecturer, math writer, and HTML webloading manager, responsible for posting content seen by millions each day. In everything she does, these traits stand out: efficiency, responsibility, accuracy.

Malky brings these skills to FGS to support the security team, assuming responsibility for tracking and compiling critical data, preparing presentations, and  loading applications onto sometime difficult-to-navigate online portals. Malky is an invaluable member of the security team.

For the last two decades,  Malky Leifer has provided expert fiscal support to FGS’s operation, allowing FGS staff to engage in their core mission of expanding the financial resources of their clients.

Rivki uses her superb communication and organizational skills to ensure that projects at FGS are proceeding smoothly and according to schedule. Rivki’s education and experience as a licensed speech pathologist, former home school teacher and medical transcriber contribute to her keen understanding of service delivery and timely and accurate reporting. Her proficiency in both English and Hebrew are a strong asset for clients with branches in Israel.

Ruchie Hartstein is a vital member of FGS’ tech team, bringing years of experience requiring attention to detail and critical thinking.  Her background in education enables her to understand project design and client need. A strong collaborator, Ruchie communicates effectively with clients and colleagues alike making her a great asset to the team.

Former Members

UCN Founder and President Ursula Lehmann grew a solo operation into an internationally recognized company that helps organizations worldwide access millions of dollars in aid. A brilliant visionary with a passion for championing worthy causes, Ursula came to grant writing via her involvement in academia and community development. Success as Director of Development of the Rockland Community Development Council prompted Ursula in 1993 to become an independent consultant and open her own grant-writing company. Under her able leadership, UCN grew and flourished.  Ursula retired in 2017 and is pursuing her many varied interests.