February 27, 2020

Norah Weinstein: Supporting the Needy, One Baby at a Time

Norah Weinstein has come a long way since her corporate litigation days in New York.

As the co-president of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Baby2Baby, Weinstein leads a mammoth effort providing low-income families with diapers. For many families struggling to make ends meet, a diaper is a luxury they can’t afford. 

Weinstein and a team of 31 full-time employees have stepped up to fill that gap, providing families with children up to age 12 not only with new diapers but also backpacks, hygiene items, cribs, clothes, car seats, strollers —“everything a low-income child would need,” Weinstein said.

Since its inception in 2011, Baby2Baby has distributed more than 70 million items, aided by corporate sponsors that include Kimberly-Clark, which owns the Huggies diaper brand, the Gap, Old Navy, Mattel and Hasbro. While the organization initially was about providing individual families with donations, its present model focuses more on distributing items to large civic organizations — including the Los Angeles Unified School District, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Karsh Family Social Service Center at Wilshire Boulevard Temple — which, in turn, give the items to families in need.

Donations are stored in Baby2Baby’s 21,000-square-foot space and in secondary warehouses in Los Angeles and a few other states. Baby2Baby also has a national network that provides items to families during national emergencies.

“My children went to Wilshire Boulevard Temple preschool and I thought the focus on tikkun olam was really inspiring and I’ve seen so many temples be active participants in what we’re doing, and that makes me proud,” Weinstein said. “We’re doing that [at Baby2Baby] as an extension of that. I learned a lot from my own upbringing.”

“I was never far from caring about the issues. I always jumped on those opportunities, especially involving low-income women and their children.” 

The daughter of an Orthodox father from the Bronx and a mother from Memphis, Tenn., Weinstein grew up volunteering at the food pantry at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. 

“I was never far from caring about the issues. When we had the opportunity to do pro bono work, I always jumped on those opportunities, especially involving low-income women and their children,” she said.

Drawing on her relationships in the entertainment industry (she is married to Brian Weinstein, president and COO of Bad Robot Productions), Weinstein has attracted celebrities including Kate Hudson, Amy Adams and Chrissy Teigen to the work of Baby2Baby, which is named for one of the founding principles of the organization: items “going from one baby who has too much to a baby who needs it.” 

At Baby2Baby’s 2019 annual gala in Culver City, the organization drew more than 800 attendees and raised over $4 million.

“A lot of influencers and celebrities have been a part of our success,” Weinstein said. “They come and get to work here and roll up their sleeves.” 

She added that she was proud of her and Baby2Baby co-president Kelly Sawyer Patricof, a former model, for creating a “very female-focused organization,” with a board made up entirely of women.“[They are] all moms, from industries [including] venture capital to law to actresses and other CEOs.” 

“Baby2Baby has grown to be really huge and we’re so proud to have grown to have such a presence,” Weinstein said. “My partner and myself have really big hopes for it. I can’t say we were totally surprised [by its success]. We had giant dreams and those continue. We want to make it bigger and bigger while helping more and more children.”

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