Your Daily Phil: A look inside the Grinspoon Foundation’s “Aspen in August” retreat + Sharsheret’s new legacy giving program

Good Monday morning!

The 20th anniversary of the founding of Sharsheret, which helps women and families facing breast and ovarian cancer, has inspired the organization to launch its first legacy giving program, Galit Reichlin, its director of development, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“We are an organization that supports women with cancer and we want to do this very carefully, but it’s important to acknowledge that these illnesses affect not just individuals but also future generations of their families,” Reichlin said.

Sharsheret is planning a Rosh Hashanah mailer to promote the program, in addition to a dedicated mailing to donors who have given $5,000 or more, and those who have given for 10 years or more.


David Rubenstein joined the Grinspoon Foundation’s Aspen retreat for a chat about giving


The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), widely known for its signature PJ Library program and its support for Jewish summer camps, is recognized in philanthropic circles for something else — “Aspen in August,” an annual meeting hosted by the foundation in the Colorado ski town to foster relationships and conversations about Jewish philanthropy. Last summer, the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year, HGF hosted “Aspen in August” again, adding a virtual component for those who couldn’t travel. The foundation invited eJewishPhilanthropy to attend one of last week’s online sessions, a conversation between Harold Grinspoon, the foundation’s founder, and David Rubenstein, a philanthropist who founded The Carlyle Group, an international investment firm.
Seeming contradictions: Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, HGF’s president, opened the session by requesting thoughts from Rabbi Ethan Tucker, a member of the HGF board who is president and head of the yeshiva at Hadar, the Manhattan-based educational organization. Tucker framed the discussion by citing two biblical passages that reflect on the nature of philanthropy. Tucker discussed two Torah verses that both appear in Deuteronomy, in Chapter 15, yet seem to contradict each other: “You will have no poor among you” and “For the poor will never cease to be in the land.” The first verse, he said, points to the philanthropic imperative of pursuing systemic change, while the second demonstrates that philanthropists must also sometimes work to do good while knowing that systemic change isn’t possible. Philanthropic leadership consists of knowing when systemic change is possible, he explained, and when it isn’t the right goal.
A mother’s priorities: Winnie Sandler Grinspoon then moderated a conversation between her father-in-law and Rubenstein, who discussed the Jewish roots of his giving, sketching his background as the only child of a blue-collar Baltimore couple, neither of whom had graduated from high school. His mother wasn’t excited about his success until he started donating money, and the only articles about him that she saved were about his philanthropy, he said. “She told me once, ‘Now you’re doing something really useful with your life. You’re helping other people,’” Rubenstein said, adding that after his mother died he found that she had supported more than a thousand nonprofit organizations with donations of about $10. Rubenstein’s philanthropy focuses on education and medical research, but he’s also interested in preserving American heritage, and supported the restoration of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Read the full article here.


Allies and activists


“Can non-disabled allies serve in leadership positions of organizations advocating for and serving individuals with disabilities? Can this be done without overshadowing or subverting the voices of people with disabilities as leaders of their own movement?” ask disability advocates Michelle Friedman and Jennifer Phillips, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Who can advocate: “If the disabled community were to say only people with lived disability experience can advocate for individuals with disabilities, wouldn’t that exactly be the opposite of inclusion?” 

All of us: “Nothing about us without us doesn’t mean only us. It means all of us but always keeping front of mind that the voices of people with lived disabilities must be heard, must be included at the tables of power and influence. They must be part of all conversations that impact the disabled community. And if a non-disabled activist is truly an ally ‘nothing about us without us’ will always be in the forefront of all conversations, all activism and all policies and decisions.”

Read the full piece here.


When continents break apart: Recognizing a new landscape of Jewish education


“If until the start of the 20th century it was possible to conceive of Jewish education as a unitary landmass largely characterized by a set of uniform practices, today, different continents have broken off, each with its own distinct ecosystem. This tectonic process has meant that in some sectors it is more fitting to describe the work of Jewish education as Jewish engagement—an activity centered on cultivating a connection to Jewish life and living,” writes Alex Pomson, managing director of Rosov Consulting, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Different skill sets: “In other places, however, those from which new continents separated, Jewish education continues to be concerned with cultivating cultural literacy and religious or ethnic commitment. The individuals who are educators in these places are expected to be reasonably knowledgeable about Jewish life and relevant content themselves and sufficiently adept in the educational practices they’re supposed to employ. This is not work that everyone is expected to be able to do.”

Career narratives: “The personal biographies of educators mirror the sectors in which they work too. Our data suggest that those who work in day school, supplemental school, and early childhood education were socialized in much more positive, educationally rich Jewish environments than their peers in other sectors of Jewish education. The career narratives of those who work in the innovation sector or in social justice organizations more commonly highlight experiences in college, on a trip to Israel, or with an organization much like the one where they work today. Those who work in informal Jewish education tend to highlight inspirational early experiences at camp.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

A Good Doctor: Gino Strada, a surgeon who founded the Italian charity Emergency in 1994 to help civilian victims in war zones, died on Friday at age 73 after suffering from heart problems, reports Angelo Amante in Reuters. Emergency had treated 11 million victims in 19 countries, often setting up entire hospitals, and made its founder a possible prime ministerial candidate in his home country. Strada’s daughter was on a boat helping rescue migrants in the Mediterranean when he died. “I wasn’t with him, but of all the places I could have been … well, I was here, saving lives,” said Cecilia Strada. “That’s what my father and mother taught me.” [Reuters]
Systemic Issues: In the Associated Press, Maria Cheng and Lori Hinnant write that COVAX, the international system created to share coronavirus vaccines between high and lower-income countries, isn’t working as wealthier countries like Bahrain, Britain, Canada and Saudi Arabia request and receive priority despite the fact that they have relatively high vaccination rates and other ways of obtaining the shots. In June, Britain received 530,000 doses, which was more than double the amount sent that month to the entire continent of Africa. “If we had tried to withhold vaccines from parts of the world, could we have made it any worse than it is today?” asked Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor at the World Health Organization, which with the vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations administers COVAX. [AP]
Return The Favor: Volunteers, always a scarce resource, have become even more precious after the coronavirus shut down 90% of volunteering, writes F. Duke Haddad in a NonProfit Pro article that urges nonprofits to consider a combination of virtual and in-person opportunities to renew volunteers’ enthusiasm for their organizations. Groups that depend on volunteers should research new apps and the use of email to make themselves more accessible to volunteers. “These individuals want more short-term projects and flexibility, and are now more cause driven than organizationally driven,” Haddad concludes. [NonProfitPro]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

The wealthiest Jews in Britain were born abroad, according to the Sunday Times Super-Rich list, published yesterday… Through Tmura – The Israel Public Service Venture Fund’s options donation model, Israeli nonprofits will gain around $12,500,000 from Outbrain and Riskified’s Wall Street IPOs… Emory University in Atlantawill receive a $3 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation to establish an endowed chair in biblical studies in the Candler School of Theology… With over $40 million in funding from Germany’s federal government, state, city and Jewish community, construction will begin next month in Frankfurt on what communal leaders hope will become one of the main centers for Jewish learning in Europe… Yad Sarah is seeing significant growth in a car-safety initiative that addresses the disparity in death and injuries to Arab and Bedouin children stemming from auto accidents… A diverse coalition of community groups marked the 30th anniversary of the Crown Heights riotsand subsequent efforts at reconciliation with a neighborhood festival yesterday… The YMCA of the USA appointed Suzanne McCormick as its first female president and CEO… 

Pic of the Day

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum restored a Bible lost during WWII to Susi Kasper Leiter and her grandson, Jacob Leiter, descendants of the original owners, who were taken to Theresienstadt and died during the war.


Julian Finney/Getty Images

Argentine professional tennis player, he was the 8th seed at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Diego Schwartzman… 

Solicitor General of New York State, Barbara Dale Underwood… Former member of Congress and both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, Richard Alan “Dick” Zimmer… Sportscaster known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” Brad Sham… President and CEO of the Business Roundtable, he was previously Chief of Staff in the Bush 43 White House, Josh Bolten… Media consultant, Sol Levine… Former IDF fighter pilot, he served as commander of the Israeli Air Force (04-08) and later as CEO of El Al, General Eliezer Shkedi… Senior partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Steven C. Demby… Founder of Value Retail Plc and co-owner of the New York Islanders professional hockey team, Scott David Malkin… Sports journalist and founder of Walk Swiftly Productions, Bonnie Bernstein… Johannesburg-born actress and singer-songwriter living in NYC, Caron Bernstein… Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of The Agenda, Michael Grunwald… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, Vladimir Beliak… Former senior editor of Kol HaBirah, Kami Troy… President of Profitero, Sarah Hofstetter… Co-founder of Johannesburg-based LLH Capital, Gil Oved… Political and public relations consultant based in Albuquerque, Jonathan Lipshutz… CBS producer, Matthew J. Silverstein… Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Julian Olidort… Studio manager at Barre3 Bethesda and founder of Atom, LLC, Anna Dubinsky… VP and chief of staff to the Global CMO at BlackRock, Phillip Schermer… Development assistant project manager at AIPAC, Rachel Berman… Former president of the Israel Alliance at Pomona College, currently in law school at George Washington University, Katherine Dolgenos… Member of AJR, an indie pop multi-instrumentalist trio, together with his two brothers, Jack Metzger… Submissions coordinator at Nishlis Legal Marketing, Galit Tassi… Assistant regional director in the New England office of J Street, Cooper Boyar… 
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