Your Daily Phil: Impact investing moves into the mainstream + New models of community emerging

Good Monday morning!

Jewish climate groups are celebrating the $370 billion slated to address climate change in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which cleared the House on Friday. The legislation came as somewhat of a surprise to activists after a strenuous saga of negotiation in the Senate, where the IRA was long-stymied by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Phil Aroneanu, chief strategy officer for Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, gave credit for the legislation’s passage to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Schumer “continued to negotiate with Sen. Manchin when a lot of people said, ‘it’s time to pull the plug,’” he told eJewishPhilanthropy. “But Sen. Schumer has really done an incredible job of moving the ball forward here, and we’re proud to have supported him in that effort.”

Schumer participated in a Dayenu rally for climate action last year. The climate funding in the IRA is the largest investment the U.S. has ever made in climate initiatives, and uses tax incentives to support clean energy sources like wind and solar. The legislation is estimated to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.

Some of the funding in the bill is already planned to reach the Jewish community, as Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability will soon launch an initiative to help Jewish institutions cut greenhouse gas emissions and be more climate conscious. A combination of private funding and grants through the IRA will support the effort.

“The opportunities opened by the Inflation Reduction Act are going to [contribute to] the vision that we had for supporting organizations and taking this seriously,” said Liore Milgrom-Gartner, deputy climate action director at Hazon. “It’s just going to facilitate it, speed it up and offer it up at the scale that we need to be seeing.”

Both Hazon and Dayenu see the climate funding as a victory, but not the be-all and end-all of the U.S. climate response. Hazon will continue to support its Jewish Youth Climate Movement, an activist group led by middle and high schoolers, to lobby politicians. Dayenu is already looking to the 2022 midterm elections, with a goal of engaging nearly half a million eligible voters to encourage them to cast a ballot. 

And Dayenu is now taking aim at pressuring the secular and Jewish investment worlds on climate action with its All Our Might initiative. “Urging banks and asset managers, the BlackRocks and Vanguards of the world…to move their money away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy,” Aroneanu said. “We’re also working really closely with Jewish institutions to align their own investments with Jewish values.”

Aroneanu and Milgrom-Gartner emphasized that Jewish climate activists are inspired by Jewish history to keep working toward action on climate change, even when progress looks impossible – such as when it seemed like the IRA would die in the Senate.

“We have fought, we have struggled, we have been the underdogs,” Milgrom-Gartner said. “We keep hope alive…we see where we want to go and what can be done. And we get there…sometimes it takes generations, sometimes it takes hundreds of years.”


Impacting investing goes more mainstream as ESG strategies change


Impact investing has moved from the fringe into the mainstream for both the broader financial industry and Jewish asset management, particularly for donor-advised funds. The change is driven by donor interest in an evolved form of impact investing, as the focus shifts from ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) screens to local loan programs and shareholder advocacy, reports Lev Gringauz for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Slow adoption: “We have a very small minority of donors who are like, ‘Never in a million years,’” said Beth Sirull, CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation, San Diego. “And then there’s just a lot of people who are interested, they want to learn more. Slowly but surely we keep talking about it. We have seen an uptick in some of our constituent agencies for whom we manage custodial funds….to [have] their money invested with Jewish values in mind.”

New tools: Impact investments are often in the form of recyclable loans. For example, the Jewish Vocational Service in Boston is part of a Massachusetts Pay for Success program, where donors can invest in service providers and have their investment repaid by the state. The Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the city’s federation, offered the opportunity to invest in the initiative — also known as a social impact bond — to its donor-advised funds, and has helped the JVS expand services to roughly 2,000 immigrants.

Read the full story here.


Once upon a community: Where did it go and how do we reclaim it?

Tinnakorn Jorruang

“Community has been understood as a sacred organizing concept in Jewish thought and practice. The centrality of community has served as a binding and essential value for the Jewish people. However, the unraveling of community is not merely a Jewish phenomenon but rather represents a generic civic trend among Western democracies,” writes Steven Windmueller, interim director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

What does it all mean? “How then do we understand the role and place of community in a changing American society? Why are we seeing a decline in community and civic engagement? What does all of this mean for Jewish life, as well?”

An open and competitive market space: “As the community transitions, the idea of a holistic, integrated communal model has given way to [a] new constellation of distributed power. The traditional organizing principles are being challenged and, in some instances, discarded. The concept of membership, the idea of affiliation and loyalty to denomination, among other organizing tools, are giving way to a more open and competitive market space. Emergent boutique models are being introduced, framed around alternative organizing principles and delivery models.”

Looking forward: “In the decades ahead, the imprint of entrepreneurial leadership, creative visioning and nimble funding strategies will define the Jewish public square.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Teaching the Teachers: In Religion News Service, Yonat Shimron looks at efforts by the The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) to educate teachers whose curricula include lessons on the Holocaust. “??TOLI’s director, Deborah Lauter, a lawyer who until recently led New York City’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, said Holocaust education is often perfunctory — a series of facts or a memoir of an individual writer. ‘In ninth grade world history, my teacher put up a picture of Hitler on a screen and turned and pointed at me, and said, “Deborah, you’re a Jew. Tell the class about the Holocaust.”’ TOLI doesn’t offer its own Holocaust curriculum, but rather guides teachers toward resources, strategies, materials and ideas for use in their own classrooms. It calls its method ‘inquiry-based learning’ intended to get students to raise questions and think critically on their own.” [RNS]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

The Russell Berrie Foundation announced that Lisa Capelouto has been named chief program officer, with responsibility for overseeing the foundation’s grantmaking portfolios in the United States and Israel…

Adam Rossano has been appointed executive director at Limmud, and Joe Hyman, the organization’s inaugural director of innovation and engagement, effective this fall. Rossano is currently associate vice president for global development of Moishe House, and Hyman comes to Limmud from JW3. Jon Freedman, Limmud’s deputy director since 2018, will be leaving the organization in January 2023…

Tony J. Westbrook Jr. has joined Repair the World as director of Jewish service learning. Previously he was assistant director of Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis…

Wilderness Torah’s oldest event, a multiday Sukkot gathering in nature, is returning this fall after a yearslong hiatus…

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new law that will require museums in the state to acknowledge artworks that were stolen from Jews by the Nazis. Crucially, the law extends the definition of this kind of theft to include forced sales of art…

MetallicaMariah Carey and the Jonas Brothers will headline a free concert in New York’s Central Park on Sept. 24 marking the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival organized by the international nonprofit fighting extreme poverty…

The NBA Foundation announced grants totaling $20 million to help drive economic opportunity and empowerment in the Black community…

The Motown Museum in Detroit received a $5 million gift from Rocket Companies and the Gilbert Family Foundation to complete the opening phase of the museum’s $55 million expansion…

Aharon Yadlin, a former education minister and Israel Prize winner, died at 96…

Elana Dykewomon, a trailblazing lesbian writer and activist, died at 72. Among other books, she was the author of Beyond the Pale, an award-winning 1997 novel that traced the intertwined stories of Jewish lesbians from Kishinev, Moldova, to the Lower East Side…

Yonatan Danilovich, one of the pioneering activists in the fight for equal rights for Israel’s gay community, died at 77. Danilovich made history in 1988, when he filed a lawsuit against his workplace, El Al Airlines, for refusing to grant free plane tickets to his partner – contrary to the practice for heterosexual couples. The case was decided in his favor and El Al subsequently lost all appeals, including at Israel’s  Supreme Court…

Israeli singer-songwriter Svika Pick died at 72…

Pic of the Day


At an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Israel-Asia Center, an Israeli delegation of investors, tech professionals and trade officials meet with local Indonesian business leaders, university presidents, entrepreneurs and investors. The group traveled to Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country — to learn about its potential for connections with Israel through investment, startup ventures and social impact initiatives.


Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Emmy Award-winning actress, she played Grace Adler on the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” Debra Messing… 

Founder of Slim-Fast, which he sold to Unilever in 2000, S. Daniel Abraham… Philadelphia resident, Irvin Farber… Recently retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Stephen Breyer… Former CFO of The Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg… Founder and chairman of the executive committee of Limmud FSU, Chaim Chesler… Economist, CPA, investment advisor and founding member of wealth advisor RVW Investing LLC, Selwyn Gerber… Artist and avid mountain biker, William Crary “Bill” Weidman… Former co-rabbi of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, Ga., Rabbi Mario Karpuj… VP of the Northeastern region for the Birthright Israel Foundation, Margot Atlas Ettlinger… Co-CEO and chairman of the entertainment production company Propagate, Benjamin Noah Silverman… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019, Elaine Goodman Luria (D-VA)… Israeli attorney, he has appeared in the Israeli versions of “The Amazing Race” and “Dancing with the Stars,” Raz Meirman… National college football reporter for ESPN, Adam Rittenberg… Student at the Simmons School of Social Work, Rachel Spekman… Executive director of New York’s Transit Innovation Partnership, Rachel Sterne Haot… Member of the Alaska House of Representatives, Grier Hayden Hopkins… VP of communications for Lemonade insurance, Yael Wissner-Levy… Co-founder of Irenic Capital Management, Adam Jason Katz… Product designer at Stripe, Talia Siegel… VP of technology policy at Retail Industry Leaders Association, Justin Goldberger… Director of product management at Publicis Sapient and founder at Ezra Venture Group, Ezra Mosseri… Real estate and business law attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Rosen Neuberger Lehmann, Meir Neuberger… Joe Farry… David Summer…Email to have your birthday included.