Your Daily Phil: JWI announces new grant for domestic violence work + Why two JCCs announced vaccine requirements

Good Thursday morning!

BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness will host an online seminar today with the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) for directors of day and overnight camps and mental health professionals such as social workers and psychiatrists who work in camps, Drew Fidler, director of the center, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The seminar is a first for the center, which educates Jewish youth organizations on mental health. It was inspired both by the impact of the pandemic on teens’ emotional lives, and by FJC’s expanded mental health infrastructure, funded by the Marcus Foundation.

“The goal is to find out what happened this summer that was different from past summers,” Fidler said, noting that the pandemic exacerbated mental health challenges among teens such as eating disorders and anxiety around social life and health. “Big developmental shifts happened while these kids were stuck in quarantine.”

The seminar, for which about 85 people have registered, will generate insights that will inform both year-round programming and next summer’s camping season.

During the pandemic, the organization offered “BBYO on Demand,” used by 12,000 unique teens in the past year. More than 75% of that group participated in Friday or Saturday night programs timed to mark the start and end of Shabbat, because ritual can help teens build their identities and foster self-understanding, Fiddler said.


Jewish Women International to train JCC staff to help children exposed to domestic violence


Jewish Women International (JWI) has secured a grant to begin the work outlined in its recent report on domestic violence in the Jewish community, JWI CEO Meredith Jacobs told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff. The grant from the Senser Foundation will fund a partnership with the JCC Association of North America, through which JWI will train preschool, after-school and camp staff to support children affected by domestic violence.

Hidden victims: “This is really about dor ‘v dor,” said Naomi Senser, using the Hebrew phrase that means “from generation to generation.” “To stop abuse from recurring, we have to work with the children.” A former pediatrician, Senser has served as a volunteer and on the board of SHALVA, which offers domestic abuse counseling to the Chicago Jewish community. She was familiar with JWI, having cited its research in her own efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence, and approached the group after watching a presentation about the report in April. “They said, ‘Is anybody interested in helping with our issues?’ And I went to my husband and said, ‘This is perfect for our family foundation,’” Senser, who sees children as the hidden victims of domestic violence, said.

Supporting survivors: The report, funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, drew on JWI’s two decades of work on domestic violence to survey Jewish domestic violence programs on the question of what survivors most need. “We learned again and again that survivors are not supported by the community, that they are pushed aside, that they are shunned,” said Jacobs. JWI is also proposing programs that will help survivors build economic security and that will provide training and other services to the field of Jewish domestic violence programs. JWI’s report does not attempt to ascertain the rate of domestic violence in the Jewish community, which is difficult to quantify due to the taboo against discussing the issue. A paper updated in July on a National Institutes of Health website estimates that one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence, and that it affects 10 million people a year.

New goals: Concerns about how pandemic-related lockdowns were exacerbating abusive domestic situations inspired Schusterman Family Philanthropies to approach JWI. At that time, most Jewish clergy either didn’t understand or refused to recognize domestic violence in their own community, Jacobs said. Clergy and other community leaders now recognize that the problem exists, said Deborah Rosenbloom, JWI’s chief program officer. However, another shift is necessary, she said, because Jewish communal culture still tends to prioritize the needs and comfort of the abuser (usually a man), rather than the survivor (usually a woman).

Read the full article here.


Why two JCCs announced vaccine requirements


“It has not been an easy ride for the JCC field these past 18 months. Mandated closures, partial re-openings, staff layoffs, workforce shortages, capacity limitations, new operating protocols, contract tracing, mask requirements and mandated quarantines—a journey no JCC has faced on this scale for this extended and unknown duration,” write Brian Schreiber, president & CEO of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Dava Schub, CEO of the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Lessons learned: “We’ve learned a lot as well during this time — about ourselves, our collective level of resilience, our enduring commitment to address new and emerging needs, and our responsibility to safeguard community health. Through our experience on the ground each day providing child care, operating summer camps, distributing food to at-risk seniors, host blood drives, COVID testing and COVID vaccinations, we have found our ‘sea legs’ and strengthened our capacity to deliver critical services in uncertain times.”

On our own: “The mitzvah of preserving life taking precedence over other Jewish laws has been at the forefront of our minds these past weeks, as the Delta variant began taking hold of our communities. Unlike the initial COVID wave, where JCCs quickly complied with state and local directives, we are largely on our own at this time. We are left looking for ways to balance and integrate quality service delivery and supporting public health outcomes. The two distinct JCCs we oversee did not need to wait for a local directive around indoor mask wearing. We independently reinstituted that practice in early August as COVID transmission rates grew in our areas.”

Setting an example: “But our professional staff and boards saw a need to do more — to provide a leadership example to our local communities — and to prioritize pikuach nefesh as a fundamental Jewish tenet to power our decision making. And, now that all those above the age of 12 in fact can protect themselves with one of three vaccines, we see it as our individual and communal obligation to act to protect the children in our families, in our JCCs and in our communities at least until they are able to protect themselves. With these priorities in mind, our JCCs independently announced the decision of a vaccine requirement for members, staff, and guests over age 12 as an intentional and responsible approach for our JCCs to be part of a community solution to mitigating the epidemic, to reduce its severity, and to ultimately save lives.”

Read the full piece here.


How investing in talent is investing in students

Hillel International

“In 2016, with the support of the Marcus Foundation, Hillel set out to become a leader in talent development and management throughout the Jewish and nonprofit world. Since then, we’ve engaged 33% more Jewish students in campus Jewish life — and that is only the beginning,” write Adam Lehman, president and CEO, and Mimi Kravetz, chief experience officer of Hillel International in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy

Employee retention: “In the five years since the Marcus Foundation put its support behind our talent work, we’ve increased our annual employee retention rate from 50% to 90% by investing in hiring, growing and supporting our professionals. Today, more than half of Hillel directors and mid-level professionals are hired internally. This has put us in a much stronger position to establish stable, thriving Jewish communities on campuses around the world.” 

People first: “Investing in people also means ensuring that we can retain them through hard times. At the start of the pandemic, we helped local Hillels retain more than 80 student-facing professionals who would have otherwise been laid off or furloughed. This meant experienced Jewish educators and engagers were able to connect with and impact more students during a singularly dark year. Campus rabbis and Jewish educators provided pastoral care to grieving students who lost grandparents to COVID-19, and Hillel program professionals pivoted to front-line mental health support as their students grappled with remote learning, isolation, and economic crisis.”

Doubling down: “Success stories… and their impact on hundreds of thousands of Jewish students are why the Marcus Foundation has recently decided to reinvest in Hillel’s talent strategy, committing an additional $38 million to helping us grow this work over the next five years.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Good Energy: In Bridgespan’s Insights newsletter, Stephanie Kater, Erica Kelly and Sam Whittemore analyze 70 impact investments in the energy sector, which has attracted more impact investment than any other industry, although far from the $4 trillion necessary to transform it by 2030, according to the International Energy Association. Nonetheless, such investors play an important role in catalyzing additional investor interest, as in the Israeli company Ecoppia, which makes robots that clean solar panels. “Most energy sector impact investors share a deep concern about climate change and a strong commitment to doing something about it. But their tolerance for coincident financial and impact risks—particularly non-emissions related impact — can vary quite a bit,” Kater, Kelly and Whittemore write. [BridgespanInsights]

Nap Time: The National Trust, a U.K. charity that preserves historic houses, coastline and farmland, announced that it was giving some staff and volunteers the option to start their day earlier and take a longer lunch break during the summer in order to enable staff to take afternoon naps during the hottest part of the day, reports Stephen Jones in Business Insider. The trust also said a warming climate could hurt the tourism industry, citing declining visitor numbers over 84 degrees Fahrenheit. “It’s fair to say that as we experience more extreme temperatures, we will be looking to offer Mediterranean working hours, especially in the east which is likely to experience more frequent higher temperatures, to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers,” a spokesperson said. [BusinessInsider]

Better Intentions: Nonparticipation in the planning of a philanthropic program by its intended beneficiaries is not merely an inconvenience, but a risk factor that can result in inefficiency, counterproductivity or even immorality, if the program does harm, writes Daniel Parks in Stanford Social Innovation Review. To facilitate the inclusion of beneficiaries in planning, Parks reviews the existing tools that help philanthropic organizations consider this phase of their process, and creates a new framework that aims to better understand a program’s possible unintended consequences. His suggestions “can help start a necessary conversation, but those interested in making their programs participatory should be prepared to engage the process further, with the due respect and depth it requires,” Parks concludes. [SSIR]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Princeton University terminated an agreement with Ron Perelman, which would have given the investor naming rights to a new residential college at the school, after he failed to pay the agreed-upon $65 million… The Sassoon Family Continuation Trust unveiled plans to transfer all of its unsurpassed assets, valued at over $100 billion, from Switzerland and other countries to the United States… Britain’s UJIA says it will facilitate 10,000 visits over three years to Israel to make up for lost time during the pandemic… The CDC Foundation and partners including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and awarded grants totaling more than $30 million to community-based organizations across the U.S. to promote COVID-19 vaccinations… A new report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds the share of U.S. households that gave in support of racial and social justice increased from 13 percent in 2019 to 16% in 2020… A report from Room to Read indicates diversity in children’s literature is significantly lacking; 83.4% of children’s books are about white characters, animals or things.

Pic of the Day

The Jewish Agency for Israel

More than 100 children aged 6-16 from southern Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip are attending a camp run by The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for Victims of Terror, which helps alleviate severe trauma and anxiety.


Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Rapper, known professionally as Kosha Dillz, Rami Matan Even-Esh… 

Rabbi (now emeritus) of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman… Financial advisor in the Baltimore office of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, George Strum… CEO of Siegelvision, Alan Siegel… Owner of You Save On Meds, Martin J. Portnoy… Mayor of Tel Aviv since 1998, Ron Huldai… Partner at the DC law firm of Williams & Connolly, Robert B. Barnett… Former Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, Irving Slosberg… Sales representative for ADT Security, Jay Caplan… Co-owner of August Moon Imports and World Tae Kwon Do Center, Jane August… Board chair of Gap, a retail chain founded by his parents, Robert J. Fisher… EVP and managing director of polling and consulting firm The Mellman Group, Michael J. Bloomfield… Journalist and co-author of the Freakonomics series, Stephen J. Dubner… Member of the Maryland Senate since 2020, Shelly L. Hettleman… President of NARAL Pro-Choice America until three months ago, Ilyse Hogue… CFO at Cornerstone OnDemand, Perry Wallack… CEO of Fast Forward Innovations, a Canadian venture capital  firm, Lorne Abony… Partner at Silly Zak’s Gluten Free Bakery in Medford, Oregon, Robert Sacks… Senior associate dean at the Olin Business School of Washington University in St. Louis, Steven Malter… Deputy general counsel at ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the coordinator of the Internet’s naming system), Samantha Eisner… Founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based consulting and PR firm Inside Revolution, Ariel Maurice “Ari” Ratner… Member of the Knesset for Yesh Atid, she serves as Minister for Social Equality and Minorities, Meirav Cohen… 
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