Ethics for Giving Circles

By Ingrid Steinberg On a recent Shabbos afternoon, my family gathered with several other families from our Jewish community, IKAR, to talk about money. Specifically, we were meeting for the last time to talk about what to do with the $3,600 that we had pooled together as part of our Giving Circle. Our meeting was a culmination of a series of monthly gatherings during which we discussed various aspects of Tzedakah and our relationship to it. We had arrived at this last meeting with a fairly long “shortlist” of charitable organizations. Each family had contributed to the shortlist, basing their recommendations on several core values that had emerged from prior discussions. Now we were tasked with narrowing down the list to two or three organizations. At times the discussion became a little … [Read more...]

The Difference of a Year

From the teen leaders, to adult program directors and facilitators to volunteer community champions, it is clear that teen foundations work because teens have the chance to interact with strong leaders. By Briana Holtzman [This article is Part 3 in a series about the long-term impact of Jewish teen philanthropy. (Read related articles here.) Jewish teen foundations have successfully engaged a new generation of philanthropists, with thousands of teens giving away millions of grant dollars to nonprofit organizations while learning Jewish values. As part of this series, the Jewish Teen Funders Network releases “Jewish Teen Philanthropy: What is the Long-Term Impact?” a report that features program data and alumni testimonials highlighting the powerful results of participating in Jewish teen … [Read more...]

Thinking Outside the Box: How Partnerships Grow a Foundation’s Impact

By Amanda Levine One thing that particularly strikes me about what we do here at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACBP) is that we operate programs within the foundation; we don’t just write checks. But you already know that from reading other posts in this series. Partnering isn’t done the same way everywhere, and what I particularly appreciate about our model is that it includes sharing strategies about how to start a new project, and engaging individuals and organizations to recognize the value of pooling resources together and challenging other funders to put up the funds. Our relationship with our grantees is an open door; we look to our grantees to show us what it means to execute programs - specifically our operating programs - and our grantees look to us as the funder, … [Read more...]

$100m. JNF Boruchin Israel Education Advocacy Center Opens

The Jewish National Fund has created the JNF Boruchin Israel Education Advocacy Center to focus on Israel and Zionist educational programming. The Center is designed to be one of the most powerful new initiatives in the Jewish world. Initial funding comes from a $100 million distribution from the Boruchin Family Estate. The Center will concentrate its resources on advocating for Israel, Israel education in the Diaspora, and countering the BDS movement, all with the goal of strengthening the connection of all Americans to the land and people of Israel. The center, administered within JNF, was created as a result of an estate gift of the late John and Dora Boruchin of California. No previous bequest has ever funded such a bold initiative to promote and develop Zionist education on this … [Read more...]

What is the Jewish Community Doing to Take Advantage of Record Levels of Generosity?

Courtesy GivingUSA

Charitable Giving Reaches an All-Time High! By Robert Evans Charitable giving to religious organizations has rebounded from the lean years of the Great Recession - and then some. In fact, philanthropy has reached an all-time high, both in real dollars and inflation-adjusted dollars. Giving USA’s annual survey reports that contributions to houses of worship reached $114.90 billion, or 32 percent of all giving. (Faith-based social service organizations are not included in this figure.) Granted, that is well below the 56 percent mark reached in the late 1980s, but religious organizations still receive the largest slice of the philanthropic pie. Giving USA, considered the most respected annual study of American philanthropy, is a joint-project of the Chicago-based Giving Institute and … [Read more...]

Making the Investment

By Max Levitt [Intro: This article is Part 2 in a series about the long-term impact of Jewish teen philanthropy. Jewish teen foundations have successfully engaged a new generation of philanthropists, with thousands of teens giving away millions of grant dollars to nonprofit organizations while learning Jewish values. As part of this series, the Jewish Teen Funders Network releases “Jewish Teen Philanthropy: What is the Long-Term Impact?” a report that features program data and alumni testimonials highlighting the powerful results of participating in Jewish teen philanthropy programs. This report follows the release of “Where Did the Money Go?” JTFN’s biennial survey of Jewish teen foundations’ grantmaking activities. As part of our mission to create, connect, and support Jewish teen … [Read more...]

Detroit’s Jewish Fund Teen Board: Creating a Now Generation of Grantmakers

Detroit Jewish Teen Fund Board; courtesy.

By Vivian Henoch Imagine creating a whole new take on giving back to the community. Suppose someone gave you $50,000 and said, “Take this money and use it to make our community a better place.” What would YOU do? Last October, 29 high school students from the Jewish community set out to do just that ... to make our community a better place by learning the ropes of philanthropy and grantmaking through service to the inaugural  Teen Board of The Jewish Fund. Given $50,000 as a special allocation from the Jewish Fund, the group has worked for the past eight months to research and identify those areas where the funding would make the most impact to create a positive change for the youth of Detroit. “The Teen Board of The Jewish Fund began with a very ambitious goal ... to help mold our next … [Read more...]

The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta Issues 2015 Grant Allocations

The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta (JWFA) has issued its 2015 grant allocations to fifteen programs that expand opportunities for Jewish women and girls. The grantees, located both in Atlanta and throughout Israel, share JWFA’s mission to promote social change through a gender lens. Eighty-two JWFA Trustees, all female philanthropists from the greater Atlanta area, participated in the hands-on collective grantmaking experience. The group awarded the following grants, totaling $100,000: Legal Education and Outreach for Civil Action Against Get Refusal, Center for Women’s Justice - Intensify the impact of damage suits for get refusal by making them available to all Jewish women in Israel. Securing Israel’s Future through Employment, IT Works - Raise position of low-income and unemployed women … [Read more...]