About Us

The Lemonade Fund helps breast cancer patients who are in financial crisis. Our one-time direct grants help patients cover basic living costs while they are undergoing difficult treatments and may be unable to work or incur extra expenses. Our goal is to quickly and compassionately ease some of the financial burdens that accompany breast cancer. So that patients can concentrate on healing, their families, and returning to the workplace.

Israel’s only breast cancer emergency relief fund 


Breast cancer is very common in Israel, impacting 1 in every 7 women. Israel’s unique population carries an increased risk for hereditary BRCA mutation-related breast cancer as well. For this subset, the incidence of breast cancer is 10 times higher than in the general population. Hereditary breast cancers often strike younger women and though rare, men as well. These younger patients often have young children at home, making a difficult situation even more complex and economically challenging.

Serious illness is expensive. Research has shown that in six months, a health crisis can force a family into bankruptcy or homelessness. Breast cancer treatment is long.Because of this, it has one of the largest financial impacts on patients of any type of cancer.

Lemonade Fund grants help with transport, housing, utilities, food and basic living expenses.

How does it work?

We work with social workers and hospital staff to identify and screen applicants based on demonstrated financial need. 

Criteria – Applicants must be: 

  • Within one year of breast cancer diagnosis
  • Israeli citizens 
  • Able to  prove financial need 

Grant applications are submitted via hospital and community social workers. Applications are vetted and verified using a detailed point system.

Our Story

A few months before her 50th birthday in 2010, our founder, Shari Mendes, found out she had breast cancer after a routine mammogram. During her treatment, she was shocked to learn how expensive it was to have a serious illness. 

Today the Lemonade Fund awards emergency grants to Israeli breast cancer patients from all over Israel, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion.


“I was lucky. I had the financial and emotional resources to help me through this incredibly difficult experience. But all around me, I saw, and heard, that so many others were not as fortunate and were suffering real financial distress because of their illness. I knew there had to be a way to help them and their families ease this burden to allow them to focus on recovery. Yes, life threw me and my family some lemons. But I knew we had to find a way to turn them into lemonade. A year to the day after that fateful mammogram, the Lemonade Fund was born.”


    -Shari Mendes, Founder & Director

Lemonade Fund Board

Debbie Hakimian, Co-Chair
Debbie is a veteran technical marketing and strategic communications expert. She works with medical and technological companies along their journeys: from startups to multinational conglomerates. She holds a degree in Computer Engineering from Columbia University.

Diane Shekter, Co-Chair
Diane is the retired Director of special projects at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A breast cancer survivor, she contributes years of experience as a resource development professional to the Lemonade Fund. Diane is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Dr. Sharon Galper Grossman
Sharon is a Harvard-trained radiation oncologist with a masters in Public Health. She is a graduate of the Morot L’Halakha program for at Matan Hasharon and lectures widely on issues related to Jewish law and healthcare, notably hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, reproductive medicine and public health.

Shanah Glick
Shanah is an attorney practicing corporate law at Mandel, Katz & Brosnan LLP. She holds a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Dr. Amalia Magen
Amalia is a medical social worker and certified in sex therapist. She served as head of the psychosocial oncology service at Meir Hospital for many years. She has a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Social Work and certification in sexual therapy and counseling by the Israeli Society for Sex Therapy (ISST). Her specialties include chronic illness, crisis intervention, sexuality, coping with breast cancer and more.

Zara Provisor
Zara is a veteran Resource Development professional and volunteer. The former director of the Leket Israel Sandwich for Kids Program (Nevet) and more recently head of UK Donor Relations at Leket Israel, she brings valuable skills and knowledge in coordinating the Lemonade Fund’s fundraising efforts and aiding its development. Zara holds a degree in Social Science and Administration from the London School of Economics (University of London).

Sharon Puritz
Sharon moved to Israel from London in 1977 and worked for many years in administrative positions. A breast cancer survivor, she is now retired and an active volunteer.

Onnie Schiffmiller
Onnie is a licensed tour guide, passionate about showing clients all that Israel has to offer. She has years of experience in Jewish communal service, spearheading campaigns for UJA-Federation in New York, as well as professional experience working with people with special needs. She holds a Masters in Education and Masters in Psychology from Columbia University.