Changing the Landscape of Eastern Europe

It is through the crossing of boundaries and the breaking down of institutional walls that dreams and ideas can soar, optimizing our financial, human, and natural resources. by Lisa Braun Glazer, Ph.D. So often, as philanthropists, we donate money to worthy institutions and causes but never actually meet those who are benefitting from our dollars, or if we do, the impact is limited to those people. My recent experience in bringing three vibrant young Jewish professionals from their Eastern European communities to the JCCA Biennial, a gathering of JCC lay and professional leaders from around the world this past week in San Diego, was simply the best and most personally fulfilling philanthropic experience I have ever had. It all started last April when I went to Poland and met Agata … [Read more...]

Redeeming Pluto: Funders Whims and Responsibilities

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Independent philanthropy must navigate a thin line between the fanciful and realistic; the far-fetched and proven; the merely risky and outright foolhardy. Cross that line in one direction, you are doing crazy stuff, cross to the other side and you are not creating change. by Andrés Spokoiny I played an April Fool’s Day prank on the Jewish Funders Network staff. I told them a major funder wanted to start a project to get Pluto designated a planet once again. As you may remember, poor Pluto was “downgraded” in 2006 and is now a mere “dwarf planet” that’s no longer a full-fledged member of the solar system. This imaginary funder was upset by this and was willing to invest significant philanthropic dollars in a scientific crusade, so to speak, to redeem Pluto. He also, … [Read more...]

Philanthropy is Social Service

by Rabbi Jay M. Stein There is a social service explosion. Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies originally connected this rite of passage to synagogue skills has been transformed from ritual to acts of kindness. The Mitzvah (the sense that we are obligated to do something) of “bar and bat mitzvah” is now, in many communities, tikkun olam, repairing the world. For many, the most attractive compelling case for Jewish identity comes from the teachings that stress our unique role in the evolution of the human project. The instructions that resonate most deeply with so many are the lessons of making the world a better place, while much of the ritual and ceremonial practices have less of an appeal. Schools both Jewish and otherwise, private and public have adopted the goal of moral education. In trying … [Read more...]

Giving Wisely and With Impact: Part 4

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For many Jews, giving is a part of who they are. After all, tzedakah literally means “justice,” even though it’s often translated as charity. It’s a way to create a world where fairness is the rule rather than the exception. Since giving is a central tenet of Judaism, tzedakah is also a way to manifest the values Jews hold most deep. But it is one matter to give. It is another to give wisely and with measurable impact. Achieving the latter goal is laudable but not easily attainable. To help with that process, Jewish Funders Network and the Jewish Communal Fund published “Your Jewish Philanthropy Roadmap,” a publication to help make Jewish philanthropy more strategic. This four-part series is adapted from the “Roadmap” and focuses on milestones that funders and donors inevitably … [Read more...]

Jim Joseph Foundation Awards $7m. in New Grants

The Jim Joseph Foundation has announced their newest round of grant-making totaling $7,769,357. The grants, awarded in December 2013 and February 2014, continue to focus on the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking priorities: 1) Increase the Number and Quality of Jewish Educators; 2) Expand Effective Jewish Learning for Youth and Young Adults; and 3) Build a Strong Field of Jewish Education. ##### Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Greater Boston, Inc. Up to $1,396,857 over four years (2014-2018) to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis A community-based Jewish teen education and engagement initiative serving the greater Boston Community. The grant is the first-ever as part of the Foundation’s funder collaborative on new community-wide teen initiatives on Jewish identity … [Read more...]

Giving Wisely and With Impact: Part 3

For many Jews, giving is a part of who they are. After all, tzedakah literally means “justice,” even though it’s often translated as charity. It’s a way to create a world where fairness is the rule rather than the exception. Since giving is a central tenet of Judaism, tzedakah is also a way to manifest the values Jews hold most deep. But it is one matter to give. It is another to give wisely and with measurable impact. Achieving the latter goal is laudable but not easily attainable. To help with that process, Jewish Funders Network and the Jewish Communal Fund published “Your Jewish Philanthropy Roadmap,” a publication to help make Jewish philanthropy more strategic. This four-part series is adapted from the “Roadmap” and will focus on milestones that funders and donors … [Read more...]