Your Daily Phil: A cancer fundraiser in Baltimore + Active threat training for Hillel professionals

Good Wednesday morning!

Ed. note: The next edition of Your Daily Phil will arrive on Tuesday morning. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we cover how teenage summer basketball games evolved into a sports fundraiser in Baltimore. Below, we look at new data on the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

Just over half of the applications submitted for Nonprofit Security Grant Program funding in 2022 were approved, according to new data for the 2022 application cycle — a slight improvement from the prior year, even as funding shortfalls for the program continued.

The program, which provides federal funding for nonprofits and houses of worship to improve their security, received 3,470 applications and granted 1,821, according to a source familiar with the data, for an overall acceptance rate of 52%. 

The applications totaled slightly over $447 million in funding requests, well outstripping the $250 million available for the program; 5% of that $250 million was also set aside for the states that play a role in distributing the funding.

Funding was increased to $250 million in 2022 from $180 million in 2021, leading to a slight increase in the proportion of applications accepted, even as the volume of applications and the total funding requested also increased. In 2021, 46% of the 3,361 applications submitted — totalling nearly $400 million — were funded.

Within the funding block allocated to urban areas — half of the total NSGP funding allocation — 70% of grant recipients were first-time applicants, and more than half were religious institutions, according to data analyses by the Orthodox Union and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Elana Broitman, senior vice president for public affairs at The Jewish Federations of North America, said that the data “reflects the same thing we’re hearing in our communities, that there is a great need for support to stay safe in the face of unprecedented levels of antisemitic incidents.”

Read more here.


Memory, philanthropy and three-pointers

Tour de Court

In 1995, a foursome of friends growing up in Baltimore created a biking and basketball competition that started off small but, over the decades, would become a community fixture. During the summer, they would hop on their bikes most days and find a basketball court in the neighborhood, usually in people’s backyards or driveways, for a friendly but hard-fought game of two-on-two. “We were just a group of bored teenagers looking for something to do,” Jon Minkove told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz

Playing with purpose: Thus was born the Tour de Court, a series of bike rides and basketball games that culminated in a tournament. Nearly 30 years later, the Tour de Court is still hooping (and cycling) it up, but with a new purpose and mission. While the first two decades were “purely for bragging rights,” tour co-founder Jon Minkove told eJewishPhilanthropy, today’s Tour de Court is powered by philanthropy, friendship and memory as a fundraiser to honor the Minkoves’ sister, Rachel, who died in 2012 at 28 after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To date, the competition has raised more than $300,000 for Maryland’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; the founders hope to raise another $60,000 this year, to support LLS and two other organizations — the Ulman Foundation and the Jewish Caring Network — that aid people experiencing cancer and other health challenges.

Providing support and bringing people together: The Ulman Foundation’s mission is to support young adults living with cancer, providing college scholarships, transportation to and from a hospital, if needed, and a lot of social events, Sam said. In the fall, the Tour de Court will be dedicating a courtyard at Ulman House, a hospitality home for young adult cancer patients, “where patients can unwind, shoot hoops and hang out, and have some normalcy for a few minutes during difficult times,” Jon said. The Jewish Caring Network helps community members who are undergoing difficulties — usually health-related — offering Shabbat meals or other support that the person needs. “Rachel was all about bringing people together,” Jon said. “And that is 100% what this is about.”

Read the full story here.


Making a ‘Ma’akeh’: Safety and security in the Hillel environment


“As Rosh Hashanah approaches and college campuses welcome back students, Hillel professionals across the U.S. are getting together for what has become an expected part of new school year preparations: the active threat training,” writes Jon Zeftel in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Lessons from Colleyville: “While terrifying in nature, these training sessions have become not only expected, but necessary in recent years. And while, statistically speaking, active shooter events are exceedingly rare, this training has become a professional, and even moral obligation. Look at the hostage situation that took place in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, back in January. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker credits his and his congregation’s survival to the active threat training they had been through before.”

Emergency preparedness training: “In my role as the manager of operations at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student life at NYU, I recently facilitated a different kind of emergency preparedness training. Hillel professionals from schools across the tristate area came together to explore what it really means to uphold safety and security for Jewish students in our campus environments.”

Torah study: “We framed the day with Deuteronomy 22:8. In Deuteronomy, the Torah instructs us to build a ma’akeh, or guardrail, on every roof. We discussed: Active threats may be the proverbial slanted roof of the Torah. We questioned: Are drills, security guards and building upgrades our only guardrail against them? It seemed only fitting, given we were a room full of Jewish professional leaders, that we should embrace our tradition of questioning and examine the very premise that brought us together in the first place.”

Don’t ignore the basics: “What we found was a shared desire to forge community – among the people that come into our Hillel everyday, with our neighbors and with our tristate Hillel colleagues. The ma’akeh has a literal interpretation: You’ve got to build that fence. Put in that alarm system. Apply for the grant to get the bulletproof doors. Train your staff to run, hide, fight and to ‘stop the bleed.’ Empower them to be situationally aware.” 

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Mature Decisions: Senior leaders responsible for setting the vision for long-term growth should use a five-step “maturity model” — reactive, proactive, collaborative, advancing and forward-looking — to assess the state of their organizations and inform their strategies in moving ahead toward their goals, Marc Rubner writes in NonProfitPRO: “The goal is to help nonprofit leaders identify their place on this continuum — what’s holding them back? What steps do they need to take to level up?…For example, you realize your participant and donor bases are aging out and develop an online live streaming and gaming fundraising initiative to engage new demographics on the fundraiser and donor level. You need help from a partner to get internal buy-in, reach content creators unfamiliar with your cause and initiative, and execute the new program. To level up, reach new audiences with compelling experiences including live stream fundraising and a strategy to reach high performing content creators and influencers. Invest in third-party technology with capabilities to power a compelling and experiential live stream fundraising event that will draw the attention of the online content creator community. These partners can go to bat alongside you, helping you create the business case, secure investment, and achieve ROI.” [NonProfitPRO]

Back to Ten: While participating in an interfaith group gathering, participants envisioned a message of climate justice hope and transformation using the Ten  Commandments as a frame, Yossi Abramowitz, who attended the conference, writes in Newsweek. “Do Not Bear False Witness: There are sins of omission — politicians not telling the truth about the real and immediate dangers of climate change; and there are sins of commission — the same leaders at the annual world climate conference, COP 27, who are approving new drilling and pipeline licenses. Together, says the writer David Hazony, these distortions of truth and policy lead to the sin of increased emissions. Keep the Sabbath: Emissions are down 30 percent over the sabbath every week in Israel and are almost zeroed out on Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest of the year). A global weekly non-carbon day of rest could reduce emissions of the world by a seventh, and can be observed by different faith communities on different days.” [Newsweek]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died at 91. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for negotiating a historic nuclear arms pact with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and his decision to withhold the Soviet army when the Berlin Wall fell a year earlier was seen as key to preserving Cold War peace. In 1991, Gorbachev lifted restrictions preventing Soviet citizens from traveling abroad, prompting Jews in the hundreds of thousands to emigrate…

Ten members of an EMT training course, specially designed for members of the Breslev community in Uman who fled Ukraine during the onset of Russia’s invasion, celebrated their graduation ceremony this week from a six-month course taught by United Hatzalah instructors in Jerusalem…

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame will induct six new members in September, including Brent Novoselsky, a University of Pennsylvania football player who went on to an NFL career with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings…

The National Philanthropic Trust awarded $5.53 billion in grants through donor-advised funds during fiscal year 2022, representing a 303% increase compared to pre-pandemic giving in fiscal year 2019…

Pic of the Day

Linnea Farnsworth Photography

Community members and Capital Chai honorees, local Jewish leaders under 40, enjoy The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park on Sunday. Pictured (left to right) are honorees Aaron Kaufman, Marissa Ditkowsky, Joshua Maxey and Danya Sherman.


Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Hamptons International Film Festival

World-renowned violinist and conductor, Itzhak Perlman… 

Howard Crim… Attorney and a member of the boards of UJA-Federation of N.Y., JCRC-N.Y. and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Joseph Rafalowicz… Screenwriter for television and film, Lowell Ganz… Member of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Steve Soboroff… Health care policy expert and brother of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), David Blumenthal… 2004 Nobel laureate in physics and professor at California Institute of Technology, Hugh David Politzer… Professor emerita of journalism and women’s studies at American University and author of seven books on marriage and relationships, Iris Krasnow… Owner of thoroughbred racehorses including the 2015 Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah, Ahmed Zayat (a/k/a Ephraim David Zayat)… Television host of, among other shows,  “Antiques Roadshow” and “Temptation Island,” Mark L. Walberg… Gold medalist in volleyball at the Maccabiah Games in 1997, she is currently the athletic director at Seattle University, Shaney Fink… Physician assistant now serving as a senior clinical director at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, Lyudmila Milman… Israeli poet, translator and literary editor, Sivan Beskin… Communications director at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Jessica Levin Raimundo… Senior account director at W2O Group, Nick Horowitz… Crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud… SVP for critical infrastructure at Venn Strategies, Bennett E. Resnik… Political reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York TimesThomas Kaplan… Israel’s consul general in New York, Asaf Zamir… Southwest regional political director of AIPAC, Deryn Sousa… Israeli fashion model, Yael Shelbia Cohen

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