Grinspoon Launches Tzedakah Box Project

Landon Derikrava of Greenwich, CT enjoying his box. Photo courtesy PJ Library.

This holiday season, a philanthropist best known for giving out free books to children is mailing a quarter of a million tzedakah boxes to the same children - and more - to encourage and spread the spirit of generosity and giving. Harold Grinspoon launched the project at the holiday season because it is a time when families of different faiths try to teach their children about charity, fairness and justice. “Generosity of spirit is a learned trait, taught to children by their families and their communities and, if taught well, benefits those communities for generations,” said Grinspoon, the founder of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and its flagship PJ Library program. “These boxes are a Chanukah gift to families with young children who are already nurturing the spirit of charity, and an … [Read more...]

Aid to Holocaust Victims to Increase More Than 20% in 2015

In 2015, total Claims Conference allocations to social service organizations around the world will total $365 million, an increase of $80 million - 21 percent - over the 2014 amount, and will aid Holocaust victims in 47 countries. The money is used primarily for homecare, the top social welfare priority for these survivors, but is also used for hunger relief, medical care, winter aid, transportation and other vital needs. The increase stems from Claims Conference negotiations with Germany, where support for homecare has been an urgent priority for more than a decade. With this substantial increase in allocations, the Claims Conference will be able to provide more help for the essential and special needs of Holocaust victims, which continue to increase as they age. In addition to German … [Read more...]

Helmsley Trust Announces More Than $11m in Grants to Israel Related Groups

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced more than $11.3 million in grants to support Israel. These grants are in addition to the $9.6 million granted to Israeli institutions in October, 2014, and are part of a continuing effort to strategically invest in Israel’s leading institutions and critical initiatives toward the goal of strengthening Israel as a successful and secure nation. Since the Helmsley Charitable Trust began awarding grants to Israel in 2009, it has committed over $140 million to a wide range of charitable organizations in Israel. In addition to providing various grants to the medical/scientific/research communities, over $1.3 million was allocated to 8 organizations for educational trips to Israel: Academic Exchange: Trip for more than 20 … [Read more...]

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2015 is Now Available

The annual industry forecast for philanthropy was released today by GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center. Authored by scholar Lucy Bernholz, Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2015 provides a global perspective on how digital data and infrastructure are being used for socially-positive purposes. The report provides evidence that beyond the realm of traditional nonprofits and foundations in the U.S., global civil society is also made up of for-profit firms, religious bodies, informal associations, and networks that are making investments in the social good and using digital tools to do it. "A great deal of innovation in the use of digital for social good around the world is coming from outside of nonprofits," said Lucy Bernholz, visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on … [Read more...]

JDC Winter Relief Efforts Expanded in Ukraine

Family in Kiev; photo courtesy JDC

New York, New York, Dec. 8, 2014 - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s annual Winter Relief program - delivering tons of heating fuel, warm bedding, and clothing to needy Jews across the former Soviet Union - has been critically expanded in Ukraine this year to respond to a harsh winter worsened by the country’s energy crisis, skyrocketing costs, ongoing unrest, and the growing needs of displaced Jews. JDC staff and professionals at the thirty two JDC-supported Hesed social welfare centers in Ukraine are providing extra winter supplies and services to poor elderly, including Nazi victims, struggling families, and displaced Jews who often cannot afford their utility bills or have direct access to heating supplies. “While winter relief is a lifeline for tens of thousands of Jews in … [Read more...]

Significant Growth in Online Giving Seen on #GivingTuesday

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In just its third year, Tuesday’s national day of charitable giving - known as #GivingTuesday - attracted widespread participation, with $34.9 million raised online via five major donation processing platforms, according to initial estimates tallied by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and supported by the Case Foundation. Very early reporting of the amount for offline donations processed by some these platforms as of Noon on December 3rd included an additional $10.8 million was raised offline, for a combined $45.7 million. Giving results for #GivingTuesday 2014 are expected to grow substantially as offline donations continue to be processed. Online giving represents an estimated 6-10 percent of total annual giving. More than 296,000 online and offline contributions to … [Read more...]

NCJW Announces Grants to Further Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Israel

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced a new round of grants to eight Israeli organizations whose work is focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Israel. Empowerment and leadership programs for women and girls, as well as gender equality, are the cornerstones of NCJW’s Israel Granting Program. Recipients must have programs designed to address women’s rights and well-being in areas such as economics, politics, education, domestic violence, and social justice. NCJW’s Israel grants are made possible by generous contributions from individuals and NCJW sections across the country. “Each of the grantees we are recognizing has a track record of success in making people’s lives better and building a freer and fairer society that reflects Jewish and democratic values of … [Read more...]

First Limmuds for Israel’s Red City and Uruguay

The first day of summer vacation and brilliant beach weather notwithstanding, 140 participants from secular to Chabad gathered in Montivideo for the first “Taste of Limud Uruguay.”
 Photo courtesy David Telias.

By Martin Joseph Haifa, known as Israel’s Red City for its staunchly secular, socialist orientation, saw its first Limmud learning festival in mid-November. Over 200 participants, ranging in age from 12 to 85 and representing Haifa’s Jewish spectrum, chose from sessions on wine tasting and Israeli comedy, a Bible contest and chavruta dialogue, among others. "Limmud Haifa embodies this city’s spirit of Jewish renewal," Deputy Mayor Shay Blumenthal told the gathering as he thanked the volunteers. Haifa’s Department of Education has been promoting Jewish renewal within the school system for the last six years. “We reach the pupils in school, but Limmud brings the Jewish renewal experience to the general public,” Ilana Trock, Haifa education department director and chair of Jewish renewal … [Read more...]