A Fiscal Makeover at MetroWest

from New Jersey Jewish News:

New agency funding procedure marks new era for federation

United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ is revamping its process of allocating funds to local agencies in a move meant to sharpen its focus on programs serving Jews and to better communicate its mission to current and potential donors.

Starting in October, some 80 percent of the federation’s allocations to five key beneficiaries will be earmarked for specific programs.

It is a notable departure from previous years, when 100 percent of allocations to federation beneficiary agencies were received without instructions as to how the monies must be spent.

… The designated allocations process reflects broader trends in Jewish philanthropy, according to Stephen M. Cohen, professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College in New York.

“For years, philanthropists have sought to make their contributions more targeted and effective,” he said. “They used to give as an act of affiliating. Now they want to give as an act of expressing how they feel the world could be a better place.”

Cohen said federations and other Jewish institutions “are trying to be adaptive of the ethos of American-Jewish life. They may be guessing right, or they may be guessing wrong. But they are to be commended for acting in a reflective manner.”