Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is thrilled to announce that Lois Frank will receive the 2023 Lifetime of Achievement award at our Annual Meeting on May 31, 2023. “Lois Frank’s name is synonymous with leadership, racial and social justice initiatives, and devotion to the State of Israel,” said Eric M. Robbins, Federation’s President & CEO. “She has expressed that commitment through activism, philanthropy, and a shining legacy of leadership.”
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Lois came to Atlanta to attend Emory University for her undergraduate degree. She became active in the local civil rights movement her senior year, she invited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Emory where he spoke to an audience of over 1,000 when a space for only 50 was provided by the University, which then was reluctant to host so potent an activist. She earned her master’s degree at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), a Historically Black University, graduating in 1963. “It was the height of the Civil Rights Movement,” she says, “John Lewis was the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); there were sit-ins and my class went to the march in Selma.”
Lois met her husband, Larry, in Atlanta. They went on to have four sons: Joshua, Adam, Aaron, and Isaac. It was in 1967, exiting a plane heading to the World’s Fair in Montreal, when the Six Day War broke out. Mike Gettinger, then Director of Federation, saw the distressed Franks rush to the TV monitor to get news on Israel. Gettinger recognized their passion for Israel and recruited them into The Federation Family. And it was due to a Federation retreat at Camp Barney with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg in the late 1960’s that the study of Judaism became central to Lois and changed the course of the family’s life.
Lois is a current Board member of the Blaustein Institute for Human Rights, Project Interchange, Past President of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of Atlanta, former National Chair for Jewish Council for Public Affairs, former Board member of Mazon, former National Chair of the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, and Past President of Women’s Philanthropy at Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Lois believes that Jews have responsibility outside of our own community. “It’s important for Jews to participate in social justice in the name of Jews.” The Hillel Midrash, “If I am only for myself, what am I?” informs that value. In addition to the Jewish organizations she has championed, Lois has been a member of the Juvenile Justice Commission for the State of Georgia, AJC’s Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition, the Southern Regional Council, and currently serves on the board of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.
When asked what issues she hopes to address in the near future, she speaks of the importance of civility. “People are too easy to dismiss each other; there’s a lot we can learn from one another with respectful listening.”
Together with her husband Larry and son Isaac, the Franks created the Frank Leadership Mission. which engages the next generation of leaders in Atlanta. The mission sends emerging leaders to Israel, building a lifelong relationship with our homeland.
Federation is proud to present Lois Frank with the Lifetime of Achievement Award in honor of her long—and ongoing—commitment to making the world a better place.