Your Daily Phil: Jay Ruderman on his foundation’s next steps + Passover in a pandemic, round two

Good Tuesday morning!

The All Together Now (ATN) 2021 program has made more camps eligible for its $10.4 million in matching funds, according to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Launched in 2020 to help Jewish overnight camps offset pandemic-related deficits and costs, ATN included more than 100 camps, some independent and some affiliated with a camping movement, in its first announcement.

Now the matching grants will be made available to nine new camps,several of which are approaching the end of their time in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s (FJC) Specialty Camp Incubator, a three-year program of support provided through FJC and funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation. It helps start camps that offer a specific skills focus, such as sports or arts, in a Jewish setting.

“While there are so many fine nonprofit Jewish overnight camps, these were the ones that raised their hands and demonstrated that they were ready for the next step in their organizational growth,” said Sarah Eisinger, director of HGF’s JCamp 180 program, which runs ATN.

ATN is a 1-to-2 match, in which the program gives a dollar for every two the camps raise. The camp must be a non-profit, have a board that sets policies and procedures and does planning and be able and interested in learning more about governance, fundraising and strategic planning. The grant allocation is based on the camp’s size. In 2019, there were 164 nonprofit Jewish overnight camps, according to the FJC’s camp census.

Next steps

‘Narrow and deep’: Jay Ruderman on transformative philanthropy


After two decades of work on the issue of disability inclusion, the Ruderman Family Foundation is in the process of deciding on a new signature issue. The foundation is doing its own research into the Jewish’s most pressing community needs, and where it might make a significant impact. It also solicited community input by calling for concept papers. “It’s a transition period for us,” Jay Ruderman, the foundation’s president, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Philanthropic vision: The papers are due March 31, and the foundation will likely make an announcement or series of announcements about its new area of work sometime this year. Yet it will continue to support some of its disability initiatives even as it determines its next steps, Ruderman said. “We’re looking for a vacuum and interested in providing leadership,” he said. “We follow a philosophy of going narrow and deep. We’re generally not spreading ourselves out over many issues.”

Sticking with it: The foundation is currently in advanced talks, for example, with a major entertainment company that is considering signing its pledge to audition actors with disabilities for each new studio production, as NBCUniversal did in late January. “There are aspects of disability we’re not yet done with,” Ruderman said.

Read the full article here.

Post Pandemic budgets

A strategic reset for day school finances


“After decades of creating truly robust curricular and extracurricular programs, our [day] schools found themselves forced to scale back their programs in a myriad of ways,” writes Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

One year ago: “In the spring of 2020, school administrators and boards were bracing for a repeat of 2008. Already reeling from the sudden shift of education and school operation from a physical space to a virtual space, many of us found ourselves in the midst of a near total shutdown of our local economies with no end in sight. Looking ahead to the 2020-21 school year, we projected frightening financial scenarios of somewhat lower enrollment, significantly lower fundraising, and substantially higher scholarship needs due to job loss and deflated incomes.”

Fast forward: “Ironically and most unexpectedly, however, in place of the financial crisis we were expecting, many schools experienced a financial windfall of sorts instead. After decades of creating truly robust curricular and extracurricular programs, our schools found themselves forced to scale back their programs in a myriad of ways. Gone were the elaborate open houses replete with food and swag for hundreds of people. Gone were the Shabbatons, the trips and the athletics. There were no more tournaments or performances or interscholastic competitions. Not only were schools saving the program costs associated with in-person programming, but they were able to cut back on the personnel costs of staffing them as well.”

Read the full piece here.

Cultural touchpoints

Cultural touchpoints

Alex the Brown

“Despite the good news of vaccinations on the horizon, it doesn’t change the fact that many of us are facing yet another physically distanced Passover celebration,” write Rebecca Gruber and Laura Conrad Mandel in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Then: “In 2020, the reality of the pandemic was new, and many of us scrambled to teach family members how to use Zoom in order to gather for the Seder.”

Now: “Now in 2021, while life feels far from ‘back to normal,’ we believe that we have all come to a new place that is not just about helping our tradition survive, but enabling it to grow, evolve, and thrive. Because like the eternal story of the Jewish people, our success is in our ability to innovate, collaborate and adapt.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Feeling Safer: Growing numbers of people feel confident that they can safely attend religious services, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life. Three-quarters of U.S. adults who normally attend services say they are “very” or “somewhat” confident that they can do so without spreading or catching the coronavirus, which is 12% more than this past July. The majority still wants social distancing, mask-wearing and capacity restrictions to keep fighting the virus. [PewResearchCenter]

Sweet Home: Since 2017, nearly half of renters have spent 30% or more of their incomes on housing, while 54 million spare bedrooms sit empty, according to Noelle Marcus, an urban planner who founded Nesterly, a non-profit that facilitates home-sharing, in a blog post at Stanford Social Innovation Review. One solution is intergenerational home-sharing. “With an astute approach to scaling and reverent use of technology, home-sharing can help young people access affordable housing near jobs and opportunities, and ensure that our parents and grandparents age with choice and dignity,” suggests Marcus. [SSIR]

Balancing Books: Budget cuts to public higher education systems haven’t been as dire as economists predicted last spring, reports Mark Lieberman in Education Week. Federal relief funds and lower-than-expected dips in tax revenue have actually resulted in revenue stability and even growth in some states. Yet due to ongoing school shutdowns, “even school districts in financially healthy states can hardly breathe a sigh of relief just yet.” States that rely heavily on tourism or the energy industry have been hit harder than others, and still might need to slash their education budgets. [EducationWeek]

Think Again: Conservatives tend to resist policies aimed at preventing money from sitting in donor-advised funds, known as DAFs, indefinitely by requiring either that the contributor only get their tax deduction when the DAF makes a donation, or that the DAF must make that donation within 15 years, write Craig Kennedy and William Schambra in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. However, they argue, as self-described veterans of conservative and centrist philanthropy, these policies should be embraced as a way to blunt the broader philanthropic shift toward political activism. “Responsible conservative philanthropists should support all efforts to diminish the power of wealthy donors who see philanthropy as simply politics by other means,” they conclude. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

Apply! The Kirsh Foundation seeks a full-time NY-based Program and Special Initiatives Coordinator

Apply! Want to join the team at Jewish Insider/eJewish Philanthropy? We’re looking for a top-notch philanthropy editor. Learn more here.

Be featured: Email us to inform the eJP readership of your upcoming event, job opening, or other communication.

Word on the Street

The Shalom Hartman Institute has introduced Sources: A Journal of Jewish Ideas, a quarterly print and digital journal of longform essays that promote informed conversations and thoughtful disagreement… The European Research Network on Philanthropy has launched an event series aiming to bridge the academic-practice divide in philanthropy… The Canadian government is investing $1.2 million in the Jewish Community Foundation of Montréal to support city arts organizations…

Pic of the Day


An Israeli soldier voting in today’s election.



Israeli singer-songwriter and actress, Riff Cohen
Actor and producer, Mark Rydell… Former NFL referee for 23 seasons, Jerry Markbreit… Of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, he served as White House counsel for President Clinton, Bernard W. Nussbaum… Together with her husband, Theodore, she pledged $25 million to BBYO in 2019, Harriette Perlman… Mandolinist and composer of acoustic music, David Grisman… Writer and TV producer, David Milch… Professor of music at the Juilliard School, Yoheved “Veda” Kaplinsky… Los Angeles-based psychologist and author, Wendy Mogel… Footwear designer, Kenneth D. Cole… Mayor of Austin, Texas, Stephen Ira Adler… Former director of business development at Fannie Mae, Beth Millstein… Investor and commentator, Peter Schiff… Russian-American businessman, Eugene Shvidler… Senior writer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Daniel Radosh… French actress who has appeared in 40 films, her Holocaust survivor grandparents changed their name from Goldreich, Judith Godrèche… Client partner at Facebook, Scott Shapiro… Maryland State Senator, Craig Zucker… Israeli actress and television host, Adi Ashkenazi… Three-time Grammy Award winning record producer and songwriter, Ariel Rechtshaid… Member of the rabbinics faculty at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, Yehuda Martin Hausman… Staff reporter for The New York Times, Sarah Maslin Nir… Deputy chief of staff and public information officer for the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Fairfax County, Virginia, Benjamin Shnider… Tennis coach at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Julia Cohen… Former member of the National Israeli Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, Moran Buzovski… Television and film actress, Victoria Pedretti