Jim Joseph Foundation Awards Approx. $24 million in Grants

The San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation has announced grant awards from its two winter board meetings totaling nearly $24 million to organizations and institutions engaged in Jewish education. The Foundation focuses on creating effective and compelling Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults in the United States. A full breakdown of the Foundation’s grants is included in its Portfolio Analysis. More information can be viewed in the Foundation’s recent biennial report. Major Grants Awarded American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: JDC Entwine (2015-2017) Total Awarded: Up to $3,000,000 Purpose: To support the expansion of Entwine, JDC's young adult service division, including to increase the number of young adults participating in immersive Jewish service … [Read more...]

Israel – A Social Start-Up Nation?

social investing

By Marina Leytes and Beth deBeer This blog is the first in a series which aims to educate and to clarify some of the confusion around the emerging field of impact investment in Israel and globally. It will present a high-level overview of the challenges and opportunities for transforming the nature of Jewish philanthropy. The blogs over the coming weeks will provide readers with (1) a better understanding of what impact investment is (2) an overview of the current landscape in Israel (3) strategies to engage for both individuals and institutions. Around the world, philanthropic organizations are exploring innovative and sustainable models to solve social issues as people seek out more meaningful ways to allocate their time and money. Impact investing can provide an innovative way for … [Read more...]

Helping the Homeless through Socks

Adina Lichtman handing out socks to those in need

By Adina Lichtman Let’s start with the basics: Why socks? To those of us who are fortunate enough not to be homeless, it’s a reasonable question. After all, we often see people asking for food, for money - but never for socks. But sometimes it’s the smallest things, the things we rarely take the time to think about, that can be most important. A few months ago, I was handing out sandwiches to people experiencing homelessness in NYC when one man approached me. "It's great that you're giving out sandwiches,” he said, “but one thing we really need is socks, especially as winter approaches." Here I was, sandwiches in hand, assuming I knew the best way to help people. In reality, helping is about listening, and hearing the needs of different communities. It was a powerful lesson, and I wanted to … [Read more...]

William Davidson Foundation Awards Challenge Grant to ShalomLearning

ShalomLearning, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating a lifelong love of Jewish learning among Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the William Davidson Foundation. In making the grant, the William Davidson Foundation indicated that its decision to invest in ShalomLearning stems from its deep commitment to advancing Jewish education by merging ancient wisdom with modern technology. The Foundation was able to witness the impact of ShalomLearning partnerships with Detroit-area synagogues as well as other pilot projects around the country. The grant has been awarded in two parts: the first $1 million of support is immediate, and will be utilized by ShalomLearning to scale up operations and outreach across the United States. The balance of the grant … [Read more...]

Making a List, Checking It Twice: Jewish Mega Donors and the Public Relations Challenge

dollar sign

By Robert Evans Jewish professionals and lay leaders bemoan the fact that the wealthiest Jews are supporting worthy non-Jewish causes such as universities, museums, and hospitals. Sound familiar? It should. That is exactly what they were saying back in the 1980s, when I oversaw the annual campaign for a major metropolitan Jewish federation. The story hasn’t changed much since. The reasons are manifold: Younger generations are less particularistic and less connected to Jewish life than their predecessors. The most prestigious institutions, once all but closed to Jews, now welcome Jewish donors and board members with open arms. Giving to religious institutions, once the leading recipient of American philanthropy, has been sliding for decades. Despite all that has changed in philanthropy - the … [Read more...]

Helping Teens Evaluate Charities

“To give away money is an easy matter … and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter. Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy and noble.” Aristotle By Tamar Snyder In mid-March, 20 teens who are members of the JCC Rockland Teen Leadership Initiative (TLI) will sit around a table in the teen lounge and review requests for funding from several local Jewish communal agencies. They will have a maximum of $5,400 to allocate toward grants for local organizations whose projects help those in need. Like most of us, the funds at their disposal are limited. It will be impossible to fund all of the worthy projects for which they receive proposals. How then will they decide … [Read more...]

Building Your Very Own Giving Circle

Give Better. Give Together. A 7-Part Series on Launching and Sustaining a Successful Jewish Giving Circle By Felicia Herman This article is Part 3 in a series about giving circles. (Don't forget to check out Part 1 & Part 2.) Giving circles, groups who pool donations and decide together which causes to support, are a powerful tool for providing anyone - at any age, in any place, at any giving level - with access to an exciting, intentional giving experience. Giving circle members learn and do something about the issues that mean the most to them within their community of friends, family, fellow program alumni - anyone. As part of our effort to expand and strengthen giving circles in the Jewish community, Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement is proud to present this seven-part … [Read more...]

Three Trends in Jewish Philanthropy

Figure 1 for Friedman eJP article - February 16

By Simone Friedman In my role managing Emanuel J Friedman Philanthropies (EJFP), I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be in regular contact with hundreds of people involved in Jewish philanthropic life across the United States. The individuals with whom I speak include philanthropists donating millions of dollars per year to charitable causes; trustees of foundations charged with stewarding the wealth of their families or the wealth of their foundations' original funders; professional foundation staff with deep expertise in philanthropic strategy and Jewish communal life; leaders of Jewish organizations; Jewish social entrepreneurs who create new approaches for expressing and participating in Jewish life; and Jewish young adults who are involved with many of the programs and projects we … [Read more...]