The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Melissa Kushner

b. May 21, 1980

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Melissa Kushner until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photograph of Melissa Kushner.

Courtesy of Melissa Kushner.

Having lost her own father at an early age, Melissa Kushner founded goods for good to ensure that orphans in impoverished countries were not left without support. In 2003, while interning at the United Nations, Kushner traveled to Malawi, arranging 4,000 pounds of items from Toys R Us and other American companies to donate to an AIDS orphanage and other relief centers there. After earning a master’s degree in international development from NYU, Melissa felt drawn to return and help the million orphans she had seen struggling in Malawi. In response to this crisis, she founded goods for good in 2006 with the goal of transforming orphan care. The nonprofit organization trains adults in marketable skills such as chicken farming and offers them the tools they need to create their businesses. These businesses then use their profits to care for orphans in their communities. As of 2015, the organization has helped over 80,000 orphans. Determined to maximize the impact nonprofits could have abroad, Kushner also founded nonprofit share in 2011, which coordinates efforts between nonprofits and ensures that aid gets where it needs to go. 

Melissa Kushner is a grantee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY), and is featured as part of a partnership between JWA and JWFNY spotlighting Jewish women social entrepreneurs.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Melissa Kushner." (Viewed on June 8, 2023) <>.


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