Your Daily Phil: Inside the 18×18 framework + How to strengthen Israel education
Good Tuesday morning!
Recode reporter Teddy Schleifer asked his 32,000 Twitter followers to share their favorite philanthropy podcasts and received a number of suggestions — including “Giving Done Right” and “Tiny Spark” — in this thread. Have any recommendations? Let us know yours by tweeting @eJPhil.
Dan and Jennifer Gilbert gave Detroit’s Cranbrook Academy of Art $30 million to accelerate the school’s efforts surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion, and to drive long-term fiscal sustainability.
Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has named the inaugural McKinney family fellow of environmental resilience and philanthropy. Through research, teaching and the convening of other scholars, Ashley Enrici will increase understanding of philanthropy’s role in addressing environmental issues as part of her research and teaching.
Meaning of Chai
Fellowship urges educators to get picky about priorities
Connect with Jews around the world. Access Hebrew and Jewish terminology. Experience Jewish arts and culture. Those are just a few of the items listed as the goals of a Jewish education in a new framework created by M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. The plan, “18 Jewish Things a Young Jew Should Know, Care About, and Be Able to Do by Age 18,” forms the basis of a fellowship program launched on April 7 whose goal is to disseminate the framework’s ideas throughout the community. But first, the fellows must identify which of the items are their top priorities. The choice is not easy, but it’s necessary, Debbi Cooper, director of engagement at PJ Library, an international program that sends free Jewish children’s books to families. “None of these 18 things are debatable as good outcomes,” Cooper told eJewishPhilanthropy. “But we have to choose, and the program helps us figure out which ones are most important to us. We can’t do all 18 well, all the time, for every family.”
Life goals: The framework, written by Barry Chazan, a professor at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership, and Ben Jacobs, an associate research professor at The George Washington University, proposes dimensions of Jewish life that educators can use to shape their curricula and goals. Other examples: caring about Israel and its people, and exploring sanctity, spirituality, and prayer. Commissioned by the Jim Joseph and Marcus Foundations, the Maimonides Fund and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, it was published in 2019 by the NYU Applied Research Collective for American Jewry.
Outside the classroom: Employees of national organizations such as Birthright Israel North America and the Foundation for Jewish Camp comprise the majority of the fellowship class, but it also includes staffers from local nonprofits: a federation, a Hillel and two JCCs. Neither day schools nor supplementary schools, such as those that are part of synagogues, are involved at this stage, due to M2’s emphasis on “experiential” education, which tends to happen outside the classroom.“Jewish education occurs across a wide range of venues and institutions, from camp to campus, from classroom to tour bus. The 18 x 18 fellowship is an attempt to bring all of those institutions into one discussion, to debate and determine what goals we are pursuing, what outcome are we working toward,” said Mark Charendoff, president of the Maimonides Fund, which supports a number of M2 programs and is funding this fellowship.
Principles and Processes
“Giving can be great. But great giving is hard. Whether physically close by or distant, recipients often live in a different world from ours,” write Rabbi Dr. Benji Levy and Michael Bloch in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Reactive giving: “While professional standards in the philanthropic sector are usually different to those of the corporate world, the challenges of ego and competing interests are still a factor. Due diligence on recipients is also difficult and objective cross-sector analysis is lacking. Consequently, much giving is driven ‘bottom-up’ in a more reactive and opportunist sense, rather than strategically decided upon ‘top-down’ from the giver’s values and aspirations to affect meaningful change.”
Philanthropic measurement: “From our plethora of conversations, we have seen that donors do not always give at a level commensurate with their means and many do not have as much time to invest in this space as they do in others. One of the many reasons for this is that the success of a financial investment can typically be measured by specific return metrics (such as the Internal Rate of Return or Return On Assets), whereas philanthropic investment needs to be measured by impact which can often lack clear objective metrics.”
Three lessons to strengthen Israel education
“If schools are serious about mission statements citing Israel education as central to Jewish identity, they should treat Israel education as equal to other subjects and incorporate it into everyday general studies,” writes Dr. Tal Grinfas-Davidin an opinion piecefor eJewishPhilanthropy.
Key quote: “When Israel is integrated into science, math, English and social studies, the subject belongs to the entire faculty, and educational silos are toppled. Educator collaboration increases, which improves staff morale and the school climate.”
Giving Back: Nonprofit health systems that seemed financially vulnerable during the pandemic have not only survived, but thrived, thanks in large part to federal bailouts, report Jordan Rau and Christine Spolar in the Washington Post. A funding formula that favored institutions with private instead of government insurance shaped the aid distribution policy, from which the Mayo Clinic and NYU Langone Health benefitted. The Mayo Clinic, which recorded a $728 million revenue surplus in 2020, has returned $156 million of its $338 million in relief funds: “Nonprofit doesn’t really mean no profit. It means tax-exempt,” said Dennis Dahlen, the clinic’s chief financial officer. “We still have to create earnings so we can reinvest in ourselves.” [WaPo]
Oral Exams: Tom Gjelten asks in an NPR article whether America’s “civil religion” — its collective embrace of the country’s founding fathers and texts — will pass the test to which it is being put as educators and students reflect on the realization that some Americans have not enjoyed the right to participate in society and political life. The key question that’s emerging in that conversation is whether today’s citizens can simultaneously honor the founding documents and criticize their application at certain points in history. “If we completely do away with key founding figures, and we start problematizing the founding documents, which are part of the American civic faith, then the American idea doesn’t have a lot to go on,” said Shadi Hamid, the son of immigrants from Egypt. “Foundations matter.” [NPR]
Initial Impact: A report from the Bridgespan Group uses Diane Isenberg’s Ceniarth, a U.K.-based family investment fund with $400 million in assets, as an example of a new kind of impact investing called “impact first,” because it doesn’t demand commercial returns. The strategy is gaining in appeal, despite the fact that its returns underperform the broader market in financial terms. “But Isenberg is quick to acknowledge it’s not an approach for everyone. For most high-net-worth individuals and family offices compelled to invest impact-first, the question is how to start, not how to go full tilt,” the reports’ authors acknowledge. [BridgespanGroup]
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Word on the Street
The Jewish People Policy Institute has published its annual Israel Pluralism Index… The U.S. Small Business Administration tripled the maximum amount that nonprofits can borrow under the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans program… Israel’s High Court of Justice overruled a decision by the Education Ministry to cancel the special funding received by pluralistic Jewish organizations for activities they provide in schools… The first-ever Jewish Psychedelic Summit is launching next month..
Pic of the Day
Yesterday the Jewish Book Council celebrated its 70th anniversary and distributed its 2020 awards in such areas as American Jewish Studies, Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice and Debut Fiction.
Longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the bandleader for Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show, Max Weinberg…
Rancho Palos Verdes, California resident who spied on the Nazis for the French Free Forces in the latter days of World War II, Marthe Cohn… Curator and former director of the Louvre, Pierre Rosenberg… Geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate (1985), Michael Stuart Brown… Author and former CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Gloria Feldt… Managing director at Tiedemann Advisors, Bob Hormats… Recently retired member of the U.S. House of Representatives (D-CA-53), Susan Carol Alpert Davis… VP of the New Israel Fund, Paul Egerman… Actor who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Vincent in the television series “Beauty and the Beast,” Ron Perlman… Partner in RMS Investment Group, Deborah Ratner Salzberg… Former member of the UK Parliament, Barbara Roche (née Margolis)… Principal of Dubin & Co. and a founding board member of the Robin Hood Foundation, Glenn Dubin… Author of six books and co-host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman… Former orthopedic surgeon who was the Democratic nominee for the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Alaska, Alan Stuart Gross… Youngest-ever Federal Reserve Governor, Kevin Warsh… Guitarist and founding member of the rock group “Staind,” Aaron Lewis turns 49… CEO and executive director of DC-based Sixth & I, Heather Moran… Director of government affairs at CUFI, Alexandria Paolozzi… Senior director of strategic partnerships at Dataminr, Morgan Hitzig… Lauren Epstein…