Your Daily Phil: JDC helps build clinic in Haiti + A likely recovery in day school fundraising

Good Thursday morning!

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working to construct a medical clinic in Haiti with its local partner, Heart to Heart International, Avital Sandler Loeff, the JDC’s executive director of disaster relief and international development, told eJewishPhilanthropy. The JDC is also speaking with Heart to Heart about how it can help address the need for shelter to assist those who were left homeless by the earthquake.

The Joint might send a team to Haiti in the near future, but because it doesn’t currently have one there, it is working instead through partners, which is considered a best practice in disaster relief. Bringing in outside assistance right away can create problems, Loeff said, by driving up prices for local goods and services and creating vehicle shortages, traffic and “needless confusion and lack of coordination among responders.”

The Joint’s first shipment of medical supplies to Haiti, sent jointly with the Afya Foundation, has reached its destination, and the organization will be sending additional shipments, Loeff said. JDC has worked in Haiti several times in recent years: after the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and during the cholera epidemic.

A new report released yesterday by Leading Edge, the organization that develops and supports Jewish nonprofit leaders, drew on ecological concepts to identify “keystones” — opportunities to create more gender equity, Leading Edge CEO Gali Cooks told eJewishPhilanthropy.

In ecology, a keystone refers to a species on which all other species in an ecosystem depend. The report highlights five dynamics, including search committee bias, boards that don’t make gender a priority and the perception that a primary caregiver can’t be a top leader, that if shifted would trigger other changes and ultimately result in more female leaders.

“We have made headway,” Cooks said. “We do have a lot more balance.” However, most people working at Jewish nonprofits are women, while the CEOs of most of the organizations are men. Almost two-thirds of JCC top executives are men, and out of 17 federations serving large metropolitan areas, 16 top executives are men.


A new Prizmah report quantifies the impact of the pandemic on day schools and yeshivas


Three-quarters of Jewish day schools and yeshivas said they will be able to meet fundraising targets for fiscal year 2021, a dramatic reversal over the prior year when many failed to do so because of the pandemic, according to a new report being released today by Prizmah, a support organization for about 300 Jewish schools. “Jewish schools are a communal priority,” Cheryl Rosenberg, Prizmah’s director of marketing and communications, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff, citing a 78% increase in federation support for schools related to the pandemic.

A very intense year: The report, “Year in Review 2021,” drew on several sources, including a group of more than 80 schools that collect data on finance, enrollment, fundraising and salaries for the purpose of creating averages against which individual schools can compare themselves. Almost 80% of those respondents to the Prizmah survey received pandemic-related funding from their local federation or other Jewish organizations, including JCRIF, the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund, an emergency fund launched in the early days of the pandemic, which also offered interest-free loans.

Possible recovery: The average total annual campaign in FY 2020 was about $1 million, yet almost half of the schools did not meet their 2020 fiscal year targets despite the surge of emergency relief, according to the report. The average shortfall was $160,000. By August 2020, most schools knew they were facing financial challenges on several fronts: the need for tuition assistance increased by 16% over the prior year, an average of $145,000 per school, while COVID-related expenses averaged $173,000 per school. Yet in fiscal year 2021, due largely to emergency campaigns and an increase or maintenance of gifts from major donors, 75% of schools reported that they will be able to meet or exceed their goals.

Read the full article here.


On the final night of summer 2021

Campers at Camp Tel Yehudah practicing their bear impressions this summer.

“As the final night of summer 2021 winds to a close here at Young Judaea’s camp in Barryville, New York, I find myself wishing everyone could see camp through my eyes. As an alum, a staff member and for the past two years as a parent, I see camp from a very different perspective. Fifteen months ago when COVID cancelled the summer camp season, I knew 2021 would be the most difficult year of my camp life and I also knew that I had to be a part of it,’’ writes Stu Stein, food service director at Young Judaea’s Camp Tel Yehudah, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Annual reinvention: “Every year I marvel at the energy of the 19 year-olds and 20-somethings, many of whom are second generation Judaeans, who make this place come alive. Every year they come and reinvent this place and make it something new. The alum in me recognizes that this is not the camp I grew up in. It’s not better or worse, it’s part of the magic of this place. What makes Tel Yehudah so special is that year after year it is the individuals who choose to share this space that create it.”

Conversations and dreams: “Now as a parent, I also get to see the echoes of past generations in the campers of today. There is the unmistakable mannerisms of a Greenberg or the casual amble of a Newberger or the leadership of a Preuss on display every day. As a staff member, I get to jump in from time to time, but for the most part I stay behind the scenes and I watch this new generation of Judaeans talk about gender identity and antisemitism under the same apple trees where their parents once argued about whether or not Jews and Arabs could negotiate with each other. Joined by new faces that have no past connection to this place, together they push a new conversation and dream about making the world a better place that only a teenager can see.”

Read the full piece here.


The silver lining behind COVID: Growth of organizational culture


“As the world stutters back from the COVID-19 pandemic, much has been written about workforce needs of the past and those of the emerging future and how it all affects workplace culture,” writes Elana Frank, founder and chief executive officer of the Jewish Fertility Foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Constant change: “At the onset of the pandemic, companies and their employees, like us, were suddenly thrust into uncharted territory. Sudden, erratic, uncomfortable adjustments on the fly, sometimes day to day, based on government, medical, political, and social recommendations, made us not only crazy and scared but also left us blind as to how it would all turn out. The silver lining? Willing or not, we adopted and adapted to the only option available, 100% remote work but business as usual. So, we started cautiously, continued confidently, and finally embraced a new normal.”

Every organization is different: “We’re lucky to be a small and flexible organization, but that wasn’t an option for everyone. Millions were forced to leave the workforce entirely. With schools shutting down, families either lacked sufficient means to pay caregivers or simply didn’t have time to be both full-time caregivers and full-time workers simultaneously.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Double Whammy: Fundraisers and communications professionals for international relief organizations are navigating the unexpected and unusual combination of two major crises, in Haiti and Afghanistan, as they work to spread the word about their efforts and let donors know they need support, writes Drew Lindsay in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The work in Haiti is complicated by the assasination last month of the country’s president, and in Afghanistan, some organizations are loath to raise their profile, lest they jeopardize the safety of workers on the ground. The American Jewish World Service sent a Haiti appeal to its 76,000 donors: “It felt counterintuitive for us,” said Stuart Schear, the organization’s vice president for communications. “We used to worry about exhausting our list. But when we went out more, people responded more.” [ChroniclePhilanthropy] 

In Plain Sight: In Mosaic Magazine, Jon D. Levenson asks why academia does not value religious diversity in the same way it does diversity of race, gender and sexual orientation. He acknowledges that in the modern era, religion is no longer considered the principal medium of truth, yet urges institutions of higher education to recognize that religious communities persist and even thrive despite the fact that they tend today to be a matter of voluntary association. “Encountering religion in its bewildering diversity is essential to the task of liberal education and by no means a matter only for the devout,” Levenson concludes. “Without it, misconceptions about the deepest formative convictions of a great many Americans abound.” [Mosaic]

Surprising Opportunity: The pandemic has inspired people returning to the workforce to push for pay raises, bonuses and benefits — and for more training and opportunities to build a career, reports Steve Lohr in The New York Times. Major employers of lower-wage hourly workers, such as Walmart and Amazon, have said they’re investing in tuition and training programs, and nonprofits such as Year Up, Per Scholas and NPower that focus on workforce development are experiencing a surge in applications. “But now, companies are increasingly looking internally and taking ownership of this challenge,” said Elyse Rosenblum, founder of a company that advises businesses on inclusive hiring practices. “That’s a completely different posture.” [NYTimes]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Salaries for fundraising professionals were on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and then fell by the end of 2020, resulting in overall flat growth, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ “2021 Compensation and Benefits Report”… Lincoln Center announced a $20 million gift from Lynne and Richard Pasculano to help revitalize opera, jazz, theater and dance programming across its campus… Harvard Medical School and Clalit Research Institute in Tel Aviv will receive a gift to establish the Ivan and Francesca Berkowitz Family Living Laboratory Collaboration… The Good People Fund is distributing $2.6 million in new grants to support grassroots organizations in the United States and Israel… Limmud U.K.’s annual Christmas week flagship event will be a hybrid gathering, combining digital sessions with on-site activities… Naomi Strongin has been promoted to vice president of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles’ Center for Designed Philanthropy… The Orthodox Union and the Anti-Defamation League are participating in the FBI Newark field office’s “Protecting Our Communities Together” national awareness campaign aimed at promoting the reporting of hate crimes and discrimination to federal authorities… According to a new survey, the inaugural course by the Jerusalem College of Technology and the Yedidut Toronto Foundation’s Career 21 initiative has enhanced the Israeli Haredi and National Religious communities’ preparedness for the high-tech industry…

Pic of the Day


The King David Harps’ workshop, nestled in the forest outside Jerusalem, was completely destroyed by wildfires earlier this week.


Mark Horton/Getty Images

Rapper, singer and songwriter, known by his stage name Hoodie Allen, Steven Adam Markowitz… 

Venture capitalist and early investor in companies including Intel and Apple, Arthur Rock… Past member of both houses of the South Dakota legislature, Stanford “Stan” M. Adelstein… Retired as president of Ono Academic College in Israel, she was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (2008-2010), Gabriela Shalev… 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton… Retired reading teacher for the New York City Department of Education, Miriam Baum Benkoe… Actor and director, Adam Arkin… Senior partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, Mark C. Rifkin… Co-founder and CEO of Apollo Global Management, Marc J. Rowan… Former chairman of the FCC and now a managing director at the Carlyle Group, Julius Genachowski… Managing editor of The New York TimesJoseph Kahn… Partner and talent agent in the motion picture department at William Morris Endeavor, Dan Aloni… Former member of Knesset and the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Omri Sharon… Executive administrator of Ventura, California accounting firm, Morgan, Daggett & Wotman, Carolynn Wotman… Actress and producer, best known for her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the TNT crime drama “The Closer,” Kyra Sedgwick… District Attorney of Queens, Melinda R. Katz… CEO of The Friedlander Group, Ezra Friedlander… Founding partner of Searchlight Capital Partners, Eric Louis Zinterhofer… Author and contributing editor for The Daily BeastMolly Jong-Fast… Businessman and investor, Brett Icahn… Co-manager and CFO of Peak Street Management, Ross Hinkle… Associate director at the Anti-Defamation League, Sasha Bloch… Private equity investor and chair-elect of The Associated Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Yehuda L. Neuberger… Digital marketing and PR consultant in Tel Aviv, Cassandra Federbusz

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