Women of Strength: Amy Pollokoff

Amy Pollokoff | Photo: David Stuck

Despite a career, a marriage and two daughters, Amy Pollokoff, a lay leader at The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore and currently the chair of the Associated Women’s Campaign, still has found time over the years to dedicate herself to improving her local community.

Pollokoff grew up in Pikesville as the daughter of Ellen and Joel Fedder. Calling them her role models, Pollokoff noted that both of her parents were active in The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore for many years.

After attending Syracuse University, Pollokoff worked as a nurse in the fields of oncology and neurology, she says. She left the nursing field some 20 years ago to work in her family’s commercial real estate business.

A resident of Stevenson, Pollokoff is married to her husband, Bob, and has two daughters: Heidi Topazi, 35, and Alexa Grossman, 32.

In her mid 20s, after moving back to the Baltimore area around 1985, Pollokoff felt the urge to meet some new people and replant her roots, she says. She chose to join what at the time was known as The Associated’s Young Women’s Leadership Council and their two-year leadership training program. During this period, she was introduced to the inner workings of The Associated. After a year of attending YWLC’s monthly meetings, in her second year the group asked her to be its president.

“(The) goal of YWLC was to introduce you to Jewish Baltimore, to learn about the Jewish agencies under the auspices of The Associated and to help you find basically your Jewish volunteer path,” Pollokoff says. “To help you find a place where you’d like to volunteer, whether serving on a board of an agency, serving on a committee of an agency, it kind of helps you find things that you’re interested in.”

From YWLC, Pollokoff went on to serve on the committees or boards of other agencies, she said. By the mid ’90s, while parenting a pair of tweenage girls, she served on a committee of The Jewish Big Brother & Big Sister League, helping to lead their new program, The Girls Project, and get it off the ground. The project focused on reinforcing the strength and body image of young girls and helping them find their path in the world, she says.

At the time, there was a significant disparity between how boys and girls were perceived, particularly when it came to education, Pollokoff says. The project strove to ensure a greater degree of equity both within education itself and within the perception of what girls and boys were capable of achieving.

By around 2014, Pollokoff also led a women’s mission to Israel called “Heart to Heart,” affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America, she said. With the goal of introducing women to Israel through the lens of the Federation, many of the women on the trip had never been to Israel before.

“So it was incredibly meaningful for me to see these women experiencing Israel for the first time,” Pollokoff says.

Pollokoff was quick to share credit for her accomplishments with The Associated as a greater whole.

“Remember, as a lay leader, and especially with The Associated of Baltimore, they have phenomenal professional staff that are your partners whenever you’re doing these things,” Pollokoff says. “So you always have just incredible support, and it’s really a team effort. I don’t want to take credit fully, because you really can’t do it without them.”

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