Your Daily Phil: How inflation and the market are affecting Jewish nonprofit

Good Thursday morning!

Campers, staff, parents and alumni of Camp Airy in Maryland are reeling after the camp’s 550-seat dining hall, called the White House, was destroyed in a fire yesterday morning. The fire occurred shortly after 7 a.m., and no one was injured, according to the Frederick County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

The fire burned down the building, which also has office space, just days after campers arrived on Sunday, at the outset of what was meant to be a celebratory summer honoring the camp’s centennial. Airy, a nondenominational camp for boys from second through 12th grades, is partnered with the nearby Camp Louise for girls.

It took 100 firefighters three hours to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to other buildings. Crews were still there hours later to make sure the flames did not flare up again. Campers were able to eat lunch in a temporary location, and a mobile kitchen is reportedly on its way to serve the camp’s population in the interim.

Havi Goldscher, CEO of the nearby Capital Camps and Retreat Center, told eJewishPhilanthropy that she was “not at all surprised to see that [Camp Airy] staff leadership managed today with incredible grace and leadership and were able to mobilize and support the campers’ and counselors’ needs.”

“We are planning to carry on camp as regularly as possible,” Camp Airy’s director, Marty Rochlin, said at a press conference on Wednesday. “It’s a building most of us grew up in and had all of our meals in as campers and as staff, and thankfully it’s just a building. So camp can continue, because camp is the people, and it will be back and better.”

Now, the camp and its Washington, D.C.-area community are fundraising to rebuild the White House and ensure that camp can go on this summer. The camp has a donation page, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is allocating $25,000 in emergency funds to the camp.

“We’re going to help them out,” federation CEO Gil Preuss told eJP. “We also have a significant number of children from our area who go to the camp. It’s a great camp that, obviously, we know will rebuild this particular infrastructure.”

In the meantime, the camp community is grieving the loss of part of their home. One alum of the camp, who is also a parent of current campers, wrote on Facebook, “There are no words that could capture the devastation that occurred this morning.”


How supply chain troubles, inflation and stock market woes are impacting Jewish nonprofits

Business graph with arrows tending downwards


After two tenuous pandemic summers, Foundation for Jewish Camp CEO Jeremy Fingerman was expecting 2022 to bring a measure of normalcy to the Jewish camps movement. But as the summer season approached, basic necessities were hard to obtain because of supply chain backups. And due to inflation, everything cost more. It’s one example of how this year’s economy is posing fresh challenges for Jewish nonprofits nationwide, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz.

Trying to bounce back: “Costs have increased significantly with rising inflation rates, [so] the increased tuition revenues will not offset those increased costs,” Fingerman said. “We’re [expecting] the camps to run their business with all the challenges they’re confronting, [and we’ll do a] full accounting at the end of the summer.”

Still bullish: But some Jewish nonprofits remain optimistic despite inflation, in part due to an influx of government support and donations early in the pandemic. “In a time of economic crisis, philanthropy is part of the safety net,” Andrés Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, told eJP, citing the pandemic as an example of funders stepping up in ways they hadn’t before. Of JFN’s 2,500 members, 72% gave more during the pandemic than they had before it started.

Subsequent challenges: North America’s more than 170 Jewish Community Centers are a good example of what can happen to nonprofit organizations with the confluence of the pandemic and inflation. At present, they’re experiencing programming challenges because everything is more expensive, especially on the heels of constrained operations when facilities were closed due to COVID-19, Jennifer Mamlet, chief development officer of the Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCCA), told eJP. “Every time we think we’re coming out of it, we’re back in it,” she said.

Read the full story here.


Defending ourselves

congregation beth israel in colleyville

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

“Anti-Zionism, recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as synonymous with antisemitism, is rapidly rising in the United States. There are many causes for this increase, not the least of which is the influence of the mainstream media,” writes Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

BDS is failing, but: “The alarming extent of the danger was recently demonstrated by BDS, the movement that works to eradicate Israel through boycotts, divestments and sanctions. BDS has so far failed spectacularly — Israel is less isolated than ever and its high-tech economy is booming. But that did not prevent the organization from publishing an interactive map of ‘Zionist leaders and powerhouse NGOs’ in the Greater Boston Area… What are the chances that one or more of those sites, and the people associated with them, will be attacked?”

Defending ourselves: “That is just one of many questions that must be asked. Another is: why is BDS still legal when a racist group that published a map of another minority’s churches and schools would likely be outlawed? More crucially, though, American Jews must ask themselves ‘how can we best defend ourselves and our families’ institutions?’”

Secure Community Network: “The answer lies in support for the Secure Community Network, a committed force of more than 50 former police and federal law enforcement officials who constantly monitor antisemitic threats to some 12,000 Jewish centers of life throughout North America.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Second Chances: Business and philanthropy play a critical role the fight to create a more equitable society, particularly in helping previously incarcerated people or those with a criminal record) to get second chances, Celia Ouellette and Dylan Hayre write in The NonProfit Times: “One in three people in the United States has a criminal record, and a dense web of more than 40,000 laws and policies — often referred to as ‘collateral consequences’ — has the potential to turn each of those records into lifelong punishments and a basis for enduring exclusion and discrimination. Nearly three-quarters of those consequences are employment related, preventing or wholly impeding people who have served their time from finding work…Business leaders therefore have not only the capability to take action, but also the need. Doing that in a way that moves the whole business and policy-reform community forward is crucial. It requires deep, ongoing conversation among leaders across the field. Philanthropy can, and should, continue finding ways to facilitate that conversation.” [NonProfitTimes]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

With a vote of 92-0, Israel’s Knesset voted this morning to dissolve. Yair Lapid will become interim prime minister tonight at midnight and elections are set for Nov. 1…

Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’ssold its Israeli business interests to Avi Zinger, the current Israel-based license, effectively ending the controversy over Ben & Jerry’s announcement last year that it would no longer sell ice cream in “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The ice cream will be sold in both Israel and the West Bank…

Albert Bourla, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer, accepted this year’s annual $1 million Genesis Prize in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, announcing that he will donate the funds toward a planned Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he was born…

Top-ranked Polish-born tennis player Iga Swiatek will host a charity tennis event next month in Krakow, Poland, to raise funds for children and teenagers impacted by the war in Ukraine…

The New York City-based Jewish Queer Youth (JQY), which supports LGBTQ youth in the Orthodox, Hasidic and Mizrahi communities, raised $20,000 at a recent event for JQY’s “Official Unofficial High School Program”…

American Jewish University has named Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh vice president for Jewish engagement, effective Aug. 15. She is currently director of student life at the University of California, Los Angeles Hillel…

The San Francisco-based Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund is providing an initial $500,000 in emergency funding for abortion care to four reproductive health and rights groups…

The Women’s Foundation of Boston awarded $1.3 million to 10 nonprofit groups that advance economic empowerment and mentoring programs for women and girls in the Boston metropolitan area…

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a $13.4 million grant to the National Park Foundation to expand the National Park Service Mellon Humanities Fellowship program…

Pic of the Day

Philanthropist Terry Kassel received an honorary degree from Shalem College in Jerusalem on Wednesday in recognition of her work in the Jewish world, including her efforts on behalf of Shalem, a liberal arts college in Jerusalem. Other honorees included Israeli broadcaster Sivan Rahav Meir and writer and translator Hillel Halkin.


Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Reggae and alternative rock musician, Matisyahu

Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry and professor emeritus at Stanford University, Paul Berg… Rapid City, S.D., resident, Leedel Chittim Williamson… Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., resident, podiatrist, Dr. David Peter Bartos… Executive coach to nonprofit leaders, he was the founding director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, David Altshuler… Former New York State Assemblyman, Dov Hikind… Former Harvard professor and author of books on the Holocaust and antisemitism, Daniel Goldhagen … Staff writer at The Atlantic, author of 10 books and former Bush 43 speechwriter, David Frum… Chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Stuart Jeff Rabner… Professor of astrophysics at McGill University, Victoria Michelle Kaspi… Founding executive director and now a senior advisor at JOIN for Justice: the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network, Karla Van Praag… Professor at Penn State University, he is the co-editor of a handbook on 25 different Jewish languages, Aaron David Rubin… Columnist, author, poet and screenwriter, Matthew “Matthue” Roth… Partner in OnMessage Public Strategies, Kyle Justin Plotkin… Actress Elizabeth Anne “Lizzy” Caplan… Senior software engineer at Bloomberg LP, Noam Lustiger… Chief program officer at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Stephanie Hausner… Rhythmic gymnast who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games, Julie Ashley Zetlin… English teacher in Tel Aviv, Michal Adar… Associate area director for the North Shore of Long Island at AIPAC, Abbey Taub

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