Principles for Honorable Conduct in Jewish Philanthropy

funders-powerRecent years have witnessed a degradation of public discourse in the Jewish world. Even with the best of intentions, funders can sometimes exacerbate fractures in the community. Seeing this problem, a diverse group of Jewish funders came together under the auspices of Jewish Funders Network to discuss how Jewish funders can align Jewish philanthropy to Jewish values in the service of a vibrant and respectful Jewish community. The principles in this document are the fruits of those deliberations.

They are intended to spark reflection, conversation, and policy change among Jewish funders. Initially prompted by concerns of civility in discourse, the guidelines also extend to issues of honorable conduct more broadly. The document was formally adopted by vote of the JFN Board during its most recent meeting.

“‘Funders & Power’ will help us maintain an ongoing conversation about how to be a mentsh in philanthropy,” said Andrés Spokoiny, President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. “That’s a pretty broad goal, and for good reason. Polarization and demonization were the concerns that got this project started, but when the group began to try to articulate what it means to be truly civil, we realized that you can’t meaningfully isolate civility from good citizenship more broadly. It isn’t enough to be nice to grantees; we have to work with them as equal partners. It isn’t enough to refrain from attacking those who disagree with us; we have to make an intentional practice of listening to diverse opinions.”

The principles in the document are:

  1. Take Covenantal Responsibility
  2. Treat Grantees as Partners
  3. Consider the Entire Community
  4. Consider & Honor Diverse Viewpoints
  5. Be Ethically Consistent
  6. Build Reflection into the Process
  7. Fund Positive Change, Not Hostility

‘Funders & Power’ is available for download.