Funders Unite to Launch Special Needs and Disabilities Network

The Jewish Funders Network has announced the formation of a peer network of funders dedicated to elevating special needs and disability advocacy in the Jewish community.

The network is a 2 year initiative funded by the partners and administered by the Jewish Funders Network. An outgrowth of ADVANCE, the October 2010 conference on special needs held by The Ruderman Family Foundation, JFN, Jewish Federations of North America and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, the network’s goal is to assess the current state of funding of special needs programs in the Jewish community, identify successes that can be duplicated on a larger scale, and bring attention to underserved areas that would benefit from additional funding. The network will feature a dedicated staff director, whose appointment will be announced at a later date.

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation said, “It is extremely gratifying to see how the ADVANCE conference has catalyzed the funding community around special needs issues. There is no question that a consensus is forming to elevate the whole discussion of special needs programming within the Jewish community, including finding ways to more fully integrate disabled and special needs individuals and families more fully into Jewish communal life.”

The network’s 14 founding members include, among others:

  • The Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation (TX);
  • The Ted Arison Family Foundation (Israel);
  • The J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation (NY);
  • Rachel & Larry Chafetz (MA);
  • The Jewish Federations of North America;
  • The Karma Foundation (NJ);
  • The Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation (NY);
  • News Corporation Foundation (NY);
  • Pears Foundation (UK);
  • The Ruderman Family Foundation (MA and Israel);
  • Saul Schottenstein Foundation B (OH); and
  • The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. (MD).