Your Daily Phil: Dan Snyder’s giving + ADL rejects Kyrie Irving’s donation
Today’s Your Daily Phil looks at the donations of Dan Snyder, the Washington Commanders owner who may soon sell the team. We also feature an op-ed on antisemitism and the midterms by JTS’ Shuly Rubin Schwartz and a column on the weekly Torah portion by YU’s Erica Brown. Also in this newsletter: Kyrie Irving, Jacksonville’s David Miller and Miron C. Izakson. We’ll start with a rebrand and expansion at the organization formerly known as the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York.
In the years after Lara Mendel co-founded The Mosaic Project, an effort to prevent ignorance, prejudice and segregation by convening children from different backgrounds, her efforts seldom qualified for Jewish philanthropic support, she told eJewishPhilanthropy. Mendel is also executive director of the organization, which has served more than 75,000 people through its various programs.
Then along came the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York — which at its annual convening yesterday revealed its new name, Elluminate (derived from “elle,” the French word for “her” or “she”), to match the organization’s expanded footprint and mission. Mendel became part of the third cohort of The Collective, a small group of women social entrepreneurs and activists who support each other, troubleshooting challenges and serving as professional peers for one another.
When it was founded in 1995, the foundation was conceived as a women’s grantmaking organization, CEO Jamie Allen Black said. Now, Elluminate is providing cohort support for women leading organizations, and is eyeing further expansion.
It hopes to launch an incubator for small organizations, and to be able to provide back-office support so that organizations don’t have to bear the cost burden of duplicative effort. Elluminate also hopes to build out an emerging leaders’ program for women to learn about organizational governance during their early stages of philanthropic development, with the aim of placing them on boards at Elluminate and in other organizations.
It also aims to hold a summit every two years on emergent issues related to women’s leadership and visionary philanthropy; bringing philanthropists and organizational leaders together to discuss how funding and advocacy can be harnessed to make change.
Because cohort members come in as accomplished leaders already, Elluminate’s goals include “honing their skills, finding out what they need and giving it to them, giving them a safe networking space to collaborate with other leaders,” the group’s board president, Rachel Weinstein, told eJP. “It helps one to grow and work through problems and adapt.”
Another major change from the group’s original mission is the geographical specificity of its original name: once accurate in describing its donors as being “of New York,” the organization is now headquartered in New York but has cohort members and donors worldwide.
The organization is also receiving external funding for the first time, from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, which has given the organization $50,000 to recruit its fifth cohort.
“Elluminate’s efforts to expand and democratize Jewish leadership will result in a more inclusive pipeline of dynamic women leaders that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of U.S. Jewish and Israeli communities,” Rebecca Shafron, Schusterman’s program officer for U.S. Jewish grantmaking, told eJP. “We look forward to experiencing more of the impact these talented leaders will continue to have.”
off the field
Dan Snyder may be selling the Washington Commanders. Will it affect his giving?
After years of facing controversies — ranging from accusations of workplace harassment to protests that his team’s former name was a racial slur — Dan Snyder may be preparing to sell the Washington Commanders NFL franchise. How that will affect his philanthropy is unclear, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.
Looking into it: Snyder, who is Jewish, announced on Wednesday that he has hired Bank of America to “consider potential transactions” related to the team. According to the sports publication The Athletic, that could mean Snyder, whose family owns 100% of the Commanders, is thinking about selling his controlling share of the team or a minority stake. In either case, a sale will mark a new chapter for Snyder at a time when he faces a string of investigations conducted by the NFL, Congress and local attorneys general.
His donations: Unlike other Jewish (and non-Jewish) NFL team owners, Snyder isn’t widely known as a philanthropist. Forbes gave him a “philanthropy score” of one out of five, the lowest possible, indicating that he’s given away less than 1% of his wealth. He has an inactive family foundation. Snyder has been charitable via his team. The Washington Commanders Charitable Foundation donated $2 million to community organizations in 2021, according to its annual report, and has given a total of $31 million since it was founded in 2000. A spokesperson for the Commanders did not respond to a request for comment.
Jewish gifts: A local Jewish community leader in Washington told eJP that they have no recollection of Snyder donating to mainstream Jewish organizations in the area. But he, or his family, have given to two area synagogues. Snyder asked to postpone a deposition before the House of Representatives this year in order to commemorate the anniversary of his mother’s death in Israel.
On the eve of the midterms, antisemitism is front and center
“In some ways, the period after World War II felt like a Golden Age for American Jews. Appealing Jewish characters and entertainers gained wide popularity in film, theater and television; Jews entered professions that had been closed to them in record numbers, and one even ran for vice president on a major party ticket. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, overt antisemitism receded dramatically. Those of us who grew up in that era could easily have concluded that antisemitism would never again rear its head in this country,” writes Shuly Rubin Schwartz, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
It’s been worse: “Our parents and grandparents knew better. Many who grew up here had experienced bullying, housing discrimination, social ostracism, quotas and accusations of dual loyalty. Most remembered virulent, populist, antisemitic rhetoric from the likes of industrialist Henry Ford, aviator Charles Lindbergh and Catholic priest and populist leader Charles Coughlin (better known as Father Coughlin). Our immigrant and survivor forebears had experienced much worse.”
Commonplace hatred: “Sadly, antisemitism is out in the open again in the United States. Its tropes have found fertile ground in public discourse — in extremist media outlets, on social media platforms and among politicians who even a few years ago would have shied away from publicly uttering the kind of remarks that have now become commonplace.”
Heeding the early warning sign: “Should American Jews be worried? Has something significantly shifted in the United States, harking back to earlier, darker times? I believe so. Truthfully, we all should be alarmed. For as history teaches, antisemitism serves as a canary in the coal mine. The late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote that antisemitism is about the inability of a group to make space for difference. And because we are all different, the hatred that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Antisemitism has long been the world’s most reliable early warning sign of a serious threat to freedom and human dignity. Indeed, the inflammatory language of the past several years has not demonized Jews alone. It’s become commonplace to hear barely coded language used to debase and attack Blacks, Latinos, Asians, immigrants and more.”
the torah of leadership
Reputation nation: Lech Lecha
“In chapter 14, Abraham found himself amidst a battle between four kings and five kings. The verses are not easy to follow, given the number of leaders involved and the complex geography. All war brings confusion and collateral damage. As the battle ends, ‘King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine’ and blessed Abram for winning the war. The Jewish ritual of blessing wine and breaking bread originates with a foreign king. Abram then gave a tenth of what he owned to King Melchizedek as some form of tax or tribute. Then the King of Sodom, another of the kings who fought, said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, and take the possessions for yourself,” writes Erica Brown in a weekly column for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Not a thread or strap: “When wars are over, it is time to tally up losses and split rewards. Abram, however, was not willing to take a thing. ‘Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I swear to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth: I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap of what is yours; you shall not say, ‘It is I who made Abram rich.’” Rashi observes that Abram was confident that God would provide him with wealth, as implied from in Genesis 12:2. He did not, therefore, want a human being to take the credit.”
Making a positive impression: “Abram wanted nothing from these skirmishes. He gave a portion of what he had without taking as much as a shoelace. He did not even take a small and insignificant item. The Talmud (BT Hullin 89a) concludes from this that Abram’s descendants would merit two commandments that involve a string or strap: the thread of sky-blue wool worn on ritual fringes and the strap of the phylacteries. Abram, it seems, wanted to make a statement to those around him about his personal integrity as a leader and about the kind of God he served. Abram attributed his success to God — his singular God — alone. War, to him, was not about bounty or despoiling and exploiting the vulnerable. It was about mediating unfortunate obstructions to the divine promise he received. Societally, he was within his right to take what he had captured, but gave away his money instead. By not taking the loot of war, he was also making a positive character deposit in the minds of the leaders who surrounded him. Abram was forgoing short-term gains for the long-term investment that was his reputation. When it comes to our reputations, there are no shortcuts.”
Campus Conundrum: Stanford University’s report on its past discriminatory practices against Jews, and the current affirmative action cases before the Supreme Court, show the difficulty of trying to rectify university discrimination, Mark Oppenheimer writes in an op-ed in The New York Times. “Given that history, and the increase in antisemitism today in the United States, the most noteworthy aspect of the Stanford report is its long list of proposed steps for atonement, or teshuvah, to use the Hebrew word invoked by its authors. The recommendations show noble intentions, but they also reveal the limitations of official university action in fighting what may be the world’s most enduring prejudice. How universities balance the ethnic compositions of their student bodies is an urgent question right now, as the Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments on two cases challenging affirmative action, at Harvard and the University of North Carolina… These fights are nothing new.” [NYT]
Cultivating Cultural Competency: Organizations need to understand the communities and people they serve; this kind of deep understanding is cultural competency, writes Celeste Frye in NonProfitPRO, “the ability to communicate across cultural divides in a way that’s respectful and rewarding.” “A culturally competent nonprofit can speak the language of their constituents, both literally and figuratively. It knows what issues matter to them most; it knows when and how to reach them; and it knows their preferred method of talking about key issues. But cultural competency is more than a skill. It’s also an ingredient that allows nonprofits to truly thrive. When you’re fluent in the different cultures and communities you interact with, you’re better able to serve them, listen to them and improve their lives…Each and every member of your organization has a unique background and experience that defines their perspectives, their culture and their values. You should tap into these backgrounds, and also the backgrounds and experiences of others — funders, board members, your constituents. To do this, make it clear within every cultural competency workshop, survey or other tactic you host that everyone’s opinions are valued equally.” [NonProfitPRO]
Around the Web
The FBIposted to Twitter that it had “received credible information of a broad threat to synagogues in [New Jersey]. We ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility.”…
The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games last night after he declined to state to reporters that he wasn’t antisemitic, instead answering, “I don’t know how the label becomes justified because you guys ask me the same questions over and over again.” He added, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from,” perhaps an allusion to the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Blacks are the true Jews, which was parroted by the conspiratorial film Irving promoted on Twitter. In the wake of that statement, the Anti-Defamation League rejected a $500,000 donation from Irving.
In a statement, the Nets said, “Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team.
A few hours after that statement, Irving posted an apology on Instagram, writing, “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters… I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate…
The Jerusalem Campus for the Arts opened in the central district of Israel’s capital yesterday, with facilities for four arts schools. The $50 million campus was funded by UJA-Federation of New York, Jerusalem’s municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation and Eden, the Jerusalem Economic Development Company…
As the 10th anniversary of Giving Tuesday approaches, Metawill match 100% of the donations after a second gift is made via Facebook’s charitable donation features. The match is up to $100 per donation, $100,000 per nonprofit and $7 million in total between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31. The top-grossing fundraisers this year have been centered around the aid in Ukraine, the COVID-19 crisis in India and the wildfires in Australia…
Following antisemitic messages being displayed at TIAA Bank Field and elsewhere in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, local insurance executive David Miller and his family are matching $1 million of donations to the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida to fight antisemitism…
Author Miron C. Izakson won the Jewish Book Council’s Paper Brigade Award for New Israeli Fiction for the novel Furthermore, which was translated by Joseph Faust…
Pic of the Day
With antisemitism on the rise, YouTuber Meir Kay stood in a public square with a sign offering hugs (and fist bumps) “If you support your Jewish friends and the Jewish people.”
Former president and CEO of American Jewish World Service, prior to that she served as the Manhattan borough president, Ruth Wyler Messinger celebrates her birthday on Sunday…
FRIDAY: Political scientist and author Edward Luttwak… Chair of the House Budget Committee, he is Kentucky’s first Jewish congressman, John Yarmuth (D-KY)… Former chief of the general staff of the IDF, minister of defense and member of Knesset for Kadima, Shaul Mofaz… Uruguayan biologist, he served as mayor of Montevideo and then as a national cabinet minister, Ricardo Ehrlich… Professor of medicine at England’s University of Birmingham and a leading British authority on organ donation and transplantation, James Max Neuberger… Board member of Jewish Funders Network and a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, Dorothy Tananbaum… Marketing and communications consultant focused on Israel advocacy and the Jewish community, Robert L. Kern… Professor at UCSF and winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine, David Jay Julius… U.K. politician who served as a Conservative Party MP and cabinet minister, he was chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Baron Richard Irwin Harrington… Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Kenneth I. Gordon… Former CEO of the Hudson Institute where he is now a distinguished fellow, he is a senior advisor at the Brunswick Group, Kenneth R. “Ken” Weinstein… Author of five books, comedic actress and television host, Annabelle Gurwitch… Professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University, Claire Elise Katz… Israeli screenwriter and film director, Eran Kolirin… Partner at Paragon Strategic Insights, a consulting firm for nonprofits, Jeremy Chwat… Editor-in-chief at Semafor, Ben Smith… Director of reputation risk at McKinsey & Company, Max Gleischman… Opinion columnist at The Washington Post, Catherine Rampell… Founder and CEO at Denver-based Fresh Tape Media, Jared Kleinstein… Founder and CEO of a health organization working for early detection and prevention of cancer, Yael Cohen Braun… Deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Addar Weintraub Levi… Former White House special representative for international negotiations and now director at Affinity Partners, Avraham “Avi” Berkowitz… Recording artist, songwriter and entertainer known as Yoni Z, Yoni Zigelboum… Israeli professional stock car racing driver, he is the first Israeli to compete in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series, Alon Day… Founding editor of Healthcare Brew, Amanda E. Eisenberg… Elise Dolgow… Bob Rubin…
SATURDAY: Former hedge fund manager and Olympic fencer (Munich, 1972), he described both activities as requiring “Defend, Adjust and Attack,” James Laurence Melcher… Former governor, legislator and supreme court justice, all in the Oregon state government, Ted Kulongoski… Singer, poet and actor, best known as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel… Co-founder and chairman of Rexford Industrial Realty, Richard Ziman… Television and film critic, Jeffrey Lyons… French public intellectual, media personality and author, Bernard-Henri Lévy… Economist and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University where he remains a university professor, Jeffrey Sachs… Israeli ceramic artist and sculptor, Daniela Yaniv-Richter… Psychologist and wife of Benjamin Netanyahu, Sara Netanyahu… Director at The Gottesman Fund, Diane Bennett Eidman… Music producer and entertainment attorney, Kevon Glickman… Outgoing prime minister of Israel, Yair Lapid… CEO at Healthcare Foundation of NJ, Michael Schmidt… Senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, Benjamin Wittes… Host, anchor and correspondent for CBS News and CBS Sports, Dana Jacobson… General counsel of The Jewish Theological Seminary, Keath Blatt… Jerusalem-born pianist, Orli Shaham… Executive director of Chaya Community, a non-profit focused on the Jewish Iranian community, Tara Khoshbin… Senior reporter covering legal affairs at Business Insider, Jacob Shamsian… Private foundation project manager, Talia Katz…
SUNDAY: Belgian theoretical physicist, a Holocaust survivor and 2013 Nobel Prize laureate, François Englert… Former commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul… Former aide to President Bill Clinton and advisor to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal… Research scientist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, Barbara Volsky… Senior chair of Sullivan & Cromwell, Joseph C. Shenker… Actress and cellist best known for her lead role in the 1984 film “Footloose” and the television series “Fame,” Lori Singer… and her twin brother, founder and music director of the Manhattan Symphonie, Gregory Singer… Managing director of the NFL Players Association, Ira Fishman… Founder of Nourish Snacks, she is the host of NBC’s “Health & Happiness” and author of 12 New York Times best-sellers, Joy Bauer… Principal in Douglass Winthrop Advisors, Andrew S. Weinberg… SVP of investments in the Beverly Hills office of Raymond James, Seth A. Radow… Chairman at IDTFS Bank in Gibraltar, he is a partner in Covenant Winery, Geoffrey Rochwarger… Executive at Elliott Management and author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, Dan Senor… Program director for Jewish life at the William Davidson Foundation, Kari Alterman… Film producer together with her husband Robert Downey Jr., Susan Nicole Levin Downey… South Florida entrepreneur, Earl J. Campos-Devine… Head cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, Yaakov “Yanky” Lemmer…
Email Editor@eJewishPhilanthropy.com to have your birthday included.