Your Daily Phil: A new crypto-DAF’s roots in summer camp + ‘Software eats the world’


 Good Wednesday morning!

OneTable, which helps people in their 20s and 30s create Shabbat dinner experiences, anticipates that, by the end of 2021, their platform will have been used to host 30,000 dinners, OneTable CEO Aliza Kline told eJewishPhilanthropy.

That number is about double the dinners in 2020, which was itself twice the number held in 2019. The number of dinners increased in 2020 despite the pandemic as quarantine and social distancing rules created the need for more, if smaller, events. Founded in 2014, OneTable offers advice, tips and an online platform that matches hosts and guests, in addition to a stipend for hosts that helps pay for food, candles and cookbooks.

The organization arrived at its 2021 estimate by projecting the same increase seen so far this year compared with 2020 for the rest of 2021. The platform currently offers solo dinners and virtual dinners, including indoor dinners for up to 10 people and outdoors for up to 20. During the pandemic, the options offered were solo, for people who lived together and virtual.

During the pandemic, many OneTable participants reported realizing they enjoyed celebrating Shabbat alone or in small groups. “We are learning from our surveys that the OneTable community hopes to sustain both intimate dinners with just their roommates as well as to make up for lost time and gather in larger groups,” Kline said.


Camp friends start a donor-advised fund to encourage crypto-gifts


Endaoment, a nonprofit donor-advised fund (DAF) that accepts donations in cryptocurrency, has its roots at URJ’s Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Mass., where Robbie Heeger, the CEO, and Zach Bronstein, the chief operating officer, spent nine summers together, they told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

An ancient mission: In 2007, Heeger and Bronstein helped the camp community adopt its current mission, which emphasizes the rabbinical saying, “You are not required to complete the work, nor are you free to ignore it.” They say the mission motivates them to this day, and their shared history helps their collaborative efforts. “It’s really hard to start something new,” said Heeger, Endaoment’s CEO, who hired Bronstein, the company’s chief operating officer, as his first employee. “When you’re starting to build a team, it’s almost a secret weapon to have someone who you really trust.”

Seeing a need: Heeger, who worked for six years at Apple Inc.’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., started Endaoment in 2019 to combine his interest in cryptocurrency with his philanthropy. Bronstein has worked in Jewish communal roles, including as a program developer at Eisner, and earned an MA/MBA from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program in 2016. Heeger was inspired to create a nonprofit DAF that converts cryptocurrency into dollars for the purpose of charitable donations because he saw a gap in philanthropic infrastructure. There were nonprofit DAFs, such as the one at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (SFJCF), which accept donations and direct them to charitable institutions at the giver’s recommendation. Heeger himself holds an account there.

Conflict of interest: DAFs are a popular vehicle for charitable contributions — assets in DAFs rose 16.2% to $142 billion in 2019 — because they provide the same tax deduction as individual donations, but simplify the associated paperwork by centralizing records of checks and receipts. Most nonprofit DAFs, however, lack the technology to process cryptocurrency donations. Fidelity Charitable, which has made $51 billion in grants recommended by its DAF holders since its inception about 30 years ago, and other big DAFs affiliated with for-profit companies do have that technology. But for those companies, DAFs are part of their business, Heeger points out. Their instinct to keep donors’ money in their accounts, and charge fees on them, is in conflict with their stated purpose of getting the money out to nonprofits who need it, in his view. He argues that Endaoment’s mission is better aligned with the spirit of philanthropy. 

Read the full story here.

Bonus: Donor-advised funds (DAF) are often criticized as a charitable vehicle for their lack of an incentive to move money through them and on to a grantee, which critics say can cause donors to park money in DAFs indefinitely. In a blog post on the PhilanTopic website, Andrew Hastings shows that the DAF payout rate is typically at least four times higher — at more than 20% — than the legally required minimum of 5% that private foundations usually give each year. “The DAF payout rate has been above 20 percent for each of the last ten years,” Hastings writes. “DAF donors are committed to the charities they support over both the short and long term.”


Teen travel to Israel: A light at the end of the COVID tunnel


“After more than 18 months of pandemic life, Jewish teens are being offered an ‘opportunity of a lifetime’—to travel to Israel with their friends in numbers that even weeks ago no one thought was possible for the 2021 summer,” writes Simon Amiel, executive director of RootOne, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

#Summer 2021: “[F]ollowing the recent violence in Israel and Gaza, the upcoming RootOne trips to Israel this summer take on an even greater sense of importance and urgency. Teens — smart, savvy, critical thinkers, consumers of information and news — have questions and concerns about the news they watched and the social media posts they consumed just over a month ago. Our community has a responsibility and an opportunity to offer an experience and the space to get answers.”

Deeper learning and engagement opportunities: “Before, during, and after the trip, teens are now immersed in robust and varied educational experiences to tap into their interests and their thirst for knowledge. As teens excitedly register for trips, they are participating in ‘Early Experience Learning’ opportunities over Zoom — soaking in an average of 8 hours of ‘pre-trip’ education — one of the conditions for receiving a RootOne travel voucher… Then, when teens return home, they will be met by RootOne and [a] cross-section of community organizations, creating a pipeline of engagement in Israel and in Jewish opportunities that are most meaningful—and most relevant—to them as they age into young adulthood.

Read the full piece here.


Ten ways technology is transforming philanthropy


“Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape, and now a leading venture capitalist, coined the phrase ‘software eats the world’ to reflect the power of technology to transform sector after sector. Philanthropy is getting the ‘tech treatment’ as well and various facets of philanthropy are being impacted, some in very significant ways,” writes Michael Bloch, a co-founder of Israel Impact Partners, in an opinion piece for eJewishphilanthropy.

Our research: “Specifically, in our research for a client, we identified ten ways in which technology is creating new opportunities for the philanthropic sector which can be grouped in three categories: transforming discovery and relations, making giving frictionless and enabling new giving models.”

Transforming discovery and relations: “Donors are increasingly eager to fund effective and impact-oriented organizations while developing more intense relations with the organizations they support, moving from a yearly update to a more continuous stream of interactions.”

Bottom line: “Technology is increasing donor expectations while offering new opportunities. Nonprofit organizations would do well to consider these trends and carefully think through which ones they can incorporate in their fundraising approaches.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

? All Over Again: Both politics and philanthropy are focused right now on the problems of discimination and hate crimes against Asian Americans, but this population has received such concern already, after the September 11 attacks, and it didn’t help in any significant way, argues Sayu Bhojwani in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Existing organizations were supported and new ones were created, but in hindsight, the community lost an opportunity to build solidarity across racial groups. “Right now, there is no place at the top of the racial triangle for anyone but white people. With every demand for greater visibility, we must ask who we are rendering invisible,” concludes Bhojwani. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

? The Constant Change: In Inside Philanthropy, Dawn Wolfe chronicles the journey of a family foundation, Panta Rhea, that is celebrating its 20th anniversary by reorganizing its funding programs, changing its leadership and launching a new website. Founded by Hans Schoepflin, a German venture capitalist, the foundation is now run by his daughter Lisl, but also by Holly Roberson, a non-family member, as co-chairs, and together they have created three new funds — Food Sovereignty, People Power and Global Roots — that reflect their new priorities, Wolfe writes. “I’m excited to let myself and the foundation be transformed by the process rather than hold on to some incorrect entitlement of power and decision making,” said Lisl Schoepflin. [InsidePhilanthropy]

? Strong Faith: Skilled leaders, who can make their way through uncharted territory and bring people along with them, often have strong religious identities, writes Melissa Spas in Insights, the newsletter of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. The challenges and opportunities facing religious organizations are especially productive training grounds for leaders because those people need to both acknowledge others’ doubts and rally them to the faith while integrating the current moment with the community’s history and imagined future: “We might think of those skills as primarily applicable to spiritual, personal, or pastoral contexts, yet it is apparent to me that the translation to organizational leadership and even cultural transformation is not only possible, but happening again and again.” [Insights]

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Word on the Street

Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz is joining Rosov Consulting as director of survey research… A new survey, conducted in late April by Nishma Researchshows vaccine acceptance amongst the overall Orthodox Jewish population to be generally consistent with overall vaccination rates in NYC… BBYO’s Edmonton, Canada chapter is holding a fundraiser to sell over 17,000 Montreal-made bagels… The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has received a $15 million gift from the Paulson Family Foundation, to be used to upgrade the museum’s main building… The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology announcedthat the Master of Business Administration program has been named The William Davidson Master of Business Administration Program… This year’s Jerusalem Jazz Festivaltaking place at the Israel Museum June 24-26, will feature only Israeli artists due to COVID-19 travel restrictions… The Pears Foundation said it will double every pound up to £100,000 donated until August 31 towards the Vaccinaid fundraiser…

Pic of the Day


The Office of President Reuven Rivlin and Vibe Israel launched the Hamsa Aleinu photo exhibit Sunday in the area just beyond passport control at Ben-Gurion Airport.


Jacque fresco via Wikimedia Commons

Jerusalem-born actress, producer and director, Natalie Portman… 
Standup comedian Jackie Mason… Longtime journalist at CBS and the founding director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, Marvin Kalb… Retired Israeli diplomat who served as ambassador to Italy and France, and World Chairman of Keren Hayesod — United Israel Appeal, Aviezer “Avi” Pazner… Author of twelve books and founding editor of Ms. Magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin… British businessman and co-founder with his brother of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi which became the largest in the world, Charles Saatchi… Diplomat, historian and former national editor of Washingtonian magazine, Kenneth Adelman… Founder and chairman of Commonwealth Financial Network and chairman of Southworth Development, Joseph Deitch… Professional mediator and previously a syndicated advice columnist, Wendy J. Belzberg… Israel’s Minister of Defense and Alternate Prime Minister as the head of the Blue and White party, he was previously the IDF’s Chief of General Staff, Benjamin “Benny” Gantz… Canadian journalist and film producer, Steven Hillel Paikin… Producer and screenwriter, Aaron Benjamin Sorkin… Former lead singer of the Israeli pop rock band Mashina, Yuval Banay… VP of legal solutions at Guidepoint, Craig Appelbaum… Screenwriter, director and producer, Hayden Schlossberg… Founder and CEO of Delve LLC, he was previously a White House Jewish liaison (05-06), Jeff Berkowitz… Online producer, writer and director whose React video series has over 12.5 billion views on YouTube, Rafi Fine… Independent writer, Haley Cohen Gilliland… Managing principal at DC-based Precision Strategies, Jeff Solnet… Ice hockey player for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and best-selling author of children’s books, Zachary Martin Hyman… Founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies, Daniel Fine… CEO of Jewish Women’s International, Meredith Jacobs… Co-founder of the Gender Equity in Hiring Project, EVP of Jewish Funders Network, Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu
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