Your Daily Phil: Providing a safety net for Oct. 7 orphans

Good Monday morning. 

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on a new study on diversity in nonprofits by Candid, and feature an opinion piece by Jan Reicher on the role of “board culture” in carrying out an organization’s work. Also in this newsletter: Rabbi Burton Cohen, Amy Neustein and Daniel Lubetzky. We’ll start with a new nonprofit looking to support the hundreds of Israeli children who lost one or both parents in the Oct. 7 attacks.

Lior Krengel worked in high-tech for 16 years, including a six-year stint at the project management software company Monday[dot]com, until the devastation of the Oct. 7 terror attacks forced her to reconsider her life’s focus: helping the country, specifically the children who lost one or both parents in the massacres.

“[The attacks were] a wake-up call for me that our country needs everyone to be joining and helping and supporting. This is for all of us now to take care of,” Krengel told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz. She spent five months volunteering with evacuees from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, who had been relocated to Kibbutz Shefayim in central Israel.

“Everything is broken for them,” said Krengel, who now serves as the CEO of the nonprofit Atufim B’Ahava (“Wrapped In Love,” but known in English as the Israeli Children’s Fund).

“Some witnessed [one or both of] their parents murdered, others had to hide in a closet for 30 hours. All of them are refugees in their own country, many lost their best friends, other siblings, “ she added. “We need to make sure they’re fully supported and as fast as possible. Otherwise, those orphans today are the at-risk youth tomorrow.”

More than 643 children have lost one or both of their parents in the Oct. 7 terror attacks and the subsequent war in Gaza and fighting along Israel’s northern border, according to a recent study by Israel’s Knesset Research and Information Center. Of these, 251 are the sons and daughters of civilians killed in the massacres, while the rest are the children of fallen members of the country’s security services.

Shortly after the Oct. 7 attacks, Israel’s high-tech sector mobilized to contribute funds and expertise toward creating a system of support for these children as they encounter major milestones and minor moments over the next 25 years.

[It] started off as an emergency thing,” Krengel said, adding that initial efforts — including the distribution of more than $500,000 during the first weeks of the war — focused on the immediate future. Now ICF is taking a longer-term view, building governance, infrastructure, partnerships and solid foundations, organizationally and financially, she said.

“I have to make sure that we build it efficiently, that every dollar, every shekel that is given, is needed,” Krengel said. “It’s not replacing government money, [or] another organization’s money. It’s needed, [and there are] “a lot of partnerships, a lot of hands that need to be connected and held, so that we are all supporting them efficiently.”

Former tech CEO and member of ICF’s founding team Marni Mandell told eJP that philanthropically, ICF has an ambitious goal: to raise the needed funds within an 18-month period, while it’s still top of mind for donors. So far, they’ve already had more than 2000 donors over six months raising upwards of $20 million towards an $80 million fund.

One supporter, actor Mark Feuerstein, perhaps best known for his lead role in the procedural TV series “Royal Pains,” became involved after attending a benefit for the ICF at the home of his friend, angel investor and ICF supporter Joseph Varet.

“[After that] I knew I would do what I could for this cause,” Feuerstein told eJP. “These kids are the future of Israel — if we want Israel to remain strong in the face of suicidal jihadists, we will need this next generation.”

“I often worry about imposing on people to give, but in this case I genuinely felt, ‘I am giving people the opportunity to do a mitzvah, to give to a just and noble cause,’” Feuerstein added. “I hope and pray each of these children gets to live a normal life with what’s left of their families, that they have the means to pay for food, shelter and a full education, a normal life to compensate for the abnormal, tragic and traumatic day they were forced to live on Oct. 7.” (Feuerstein has, to date, raised more than $25,000 for the ICF.)

Right now, ICF is estimating the need at $200,000 per child, and the organization’s financial model accounts for inflation and other unpredictable variants, Krengel said. With this safety net in place, ICF leaders hope that mothers or other guardians will have the breathing room to focus on the day-to-day needs of their families, and to start healing from their own trauma.

“We all know when we look back to history, when we look back to the Holocaust, we see great stories of heroes and leaders that came out of this [trauma], built amazing lives and did great things for humanity. At the same time, we have too many stories of people that ended up in poverty,” Krengel said. “We are here to ensure that kids who lost one of their parents on Oct. 7 are all taken care of and that no one ends up being forgotten. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that all children have the opportunity to thrive.”

Read the full report here.


Study finds U.S. nonprofit sector is racially diverse, but less so as you climb the corporate ladder

Group of business people working together around a conference table. Stock

A new survey by the nonprofit research and analysis firm Candid found that the larger and wealthier a nonprofit is, the likelier it is to be led by a white man, though the majority of chief executive officers in the industry overall are women. According to the study, religious nonprofits are the only sub-sector of the field in which the majority of CEOs are male, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Threefold goals: To conduct the study, Candid — created from the 2019 merger of GuideStar and Foundation Center — gathered demographic data from 59,550 U.S. public charities from 2019 to 2024. The survey found that more than 12 million people work in the nonprofit sector. The researchers did not look into religious diversity for this study. The organization said its goal with the study was threefold: “To increase transparency about diversity in the sector… To highlight key findings about the demographics of the nonprofit sector at the macro level… To offer funders, nonprofits, and analysts a snapshot and baseline for demographics in the sector in order to better track our collective progress.”

The breakdown: The researchers found that while the nonprofit sector overall is more racially diverse and female than the U.S. population as a whole, the senior staff, boards and CEOs of organizations are less racially diverse than the general population. They also determined that racial diversity among leaders diminishes as organizations grow: Fifty-six percent of the CEOs of nonprofits with expenses under $50,000 are white, and 28% are Black, compared to 73% of those with expenses over $25 million who are white and 12% who are Black. In all nonprofit sub-sectors, there are more female CEOs than male ones (there is near-parity in those focused on international and foreign affairs), except for religious organizations, where male chief executives exceed female ones almost 2-to-1.

Why it matters: Citing academic studies, the researchers described diversity not as a goal in itself, but a boon to the organizations. “Research has shown that diverse collectives working together and capitalizing on their unique perspectives consistently outperform groups of like-minded experts,” they wrote. “Diversity also often sparks innovation, as bringing together different knowledge systems creates opportunities to recombine ideas and information in new ways.”


Creating a positive board culture in challenging times

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“As board president of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Bay Area, I have experienced how critical it is for boards to lead organizations with accountability, transparency and a commitment to the mission. A positive board culture goes a long way toward carrying out work in a manner that reflects these key principles,” writes Jan Reicher in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy. “Achieving that culture, however, does not happen overnight; it takes intentional, ongoing effort.”

Change operations to reflect new mindsets: “Instead of focusing on how to fit board members into our existing operating system, we are shifting to think about how to attract the right people and how to engage our board effectively. For instance, many of our board members have unpredictable and often full schedules. Family commitments and careers often complicate the time and energy our board members can dedicate to the board, so we asked ourselves how we could engage their expertise with flexibility while still meeting our board goals. Today, many of our board members have a ‘portfolio’ that includes both ongoing and discrete projects that they can commit to and manage largely on their own schedule; others sit on committees as part of their portfolio.”

Invite involvement: “We shifted the way we structure our meetings in response to members’ requests to use their expertise more, increase their value and maximize time for generative conversation. Our agenda includes ‘questions to ponder’ under each agenda topic, to encourage reflection. We conduct new business at the beginning of meetings — not at the end when everyone is itching to leave. We have a chunk of time for learning together, followed by a generative period that taps into the board’s expertise and helps our staff. We also explicitly give everyone a chance, and even a prompt, to speak.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Camp Ramah For Life: Following the recent passing of his father-in-law, Rabbi Burton Cohen, John Podhoretz recounts in Commentary the role Jewish day camp played in Cohen’s life — and the role Cohen played in Jewish day camp. “He was forever changed when, as a teenager, he went to the newly established Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. This was one of the great experiments of American Jewry, this summer sleepaway program and a few others across America. They took the camping movement — then all the rage among those determined to improve the social and physical health of urban youth and introduce them to the pleasures of fresh air and open climes — and added philosophical and practical Zionism to it… It was there he met his wife, Bobbie, with whom he would have three children and remain married for 57 years until her death in 2012. He made Ramah his life study and his profession… My father-in-law was one of those unsung stand-up guys who gave far more in his life than he ever got, a man of genuine modesty and gentle spirit, who never said a bad word about anyone — and yet with his own quiet tenacity helped to build and expand a lasting and vibrant institution that has done nothing but good when it comes to helping young people make the connection to Judaism’s astonishing past, its tumultuous present, and its vitally important future.” [Commentary]

Art of Distraction: In an opinion piece in Womens eNews, Amy Neustein accuses the U.N. of timing its public statements to detract attention from and undermine revelations about the sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. “[A] week after the release of [Sheryl] Sandberg’s documentary showing unimpeachable documentation of the execrable acts of sexual violence and torture toward females (and even males), the UN released a troubling story to Agence France-Presse (AFP) – headquartered in Paris and serving as the oldest news wire service in the world reaching out to over 150 countries. The flashy heading, ‘UN Experts Condemn Israel’s Sexual Assault and Violence in Gaza,’ was designed to catch attention though the article fell short of providing any meaningful details of sexual violence perpetrated by IDF soldiers against Gazan inhabitants. Nevertheless, this absurdly fatuous, unsubstantiated UN report, condemning Israeli military for horrific acts they didn’t commit, was intended as sabotage and subterfuge so as to divert attention from the blood-curdling incidents of rape and sexual torture copiously documented by Sandberg in ‘Screams Before Silence’… I am going to add my ‘screams’ by turning up the volume and shouting from the rooftops until the women’s movement and the UN acknowledge the horror and dreadfulness of the unprecedented sexual violence painstakingly captured in Sandberg’s ‘Screams Before Silence.’ To do anything less would be a betrayal to my sisters in Israel, and to womankind.” [Women’seNews]

Around the Web

Beth Sirull was appointed the National Organization on Disability’s next chief executive officer. For the past seven years, Sirull has served as president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego

Britain’s 100 wealthiest people gave £3.2 billion ($4.07 billion) to charity last year, £200 million ($254 million) less than in 2022, according to the Sunday Times Giving List, in association with the Charities Aid Foundation

The Israel Defense Forces recovered the remains of four people last week — Ron BenjaminItzhak GelerenterAmit Buskila and Shani Louk — who were murdered in the Oct. 7 terror attacks and whose bodies were taken hostage into Gaza…

Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of Kind Snacks, is the latest subject of a recent Washington Post piece about prominent Jewish figures who spoke with New York Mayor Eric Adams about Columbia University’s anti-Israel protests to denounce the story, accusing the outlet of misrepresenting the group’s efforts and willfully ignoring its calls for bridge-building and opposition to extremism…

The Associated Press profiles a new initiative, dubbed the Builders, supported by Lubetzky and a “coalition of artistic, political and philanthropic leaders,” aimed at combating polarization and encouraging cooperative problem solving…

Jewish Insider interviews Eli Rosenbaum, a former Department of Justice “Nazi hunter” who also investigated Russian war crimes in Ukraine, in which he rejects allegations that Israel is conducting genocide in Gaza but says that Hamas tried to perpetrate one on Oct. 7…

The Honey & Barry Sherman Legacy Foundation donated CAD 10 million ($7.3 million) to the Humber River Health Foundation in Toronto to improve health care to underserved communities…

Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper spotlights a delegation from Upper Galilee Preparatory School that traveled to the United States and Europe to learn more about Jewish communities around the world…

Last week’s arson attack on the Rouen Synagogue in northern France elevated concerns in the country’s Jewish community over rising antisemitism…

Seth Rosenzweig was named the next CEO of Classroom Champions, which provides mentorship to students. Rosenzweig held a number of positions in Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies from 2009 to 2015…

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) spoke at the Knesset Caucus for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students yesterday during a visit to Israel…

The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers and UCLA will testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Thursday about antisemitism on college campuses…

President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address yesterday at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta; defending his opposition to the anti-Israel demonstrations on college campuses, Biden said he supported “peaceful, nonviolent protest,” and described the war in Gaza as “heartbreaking” and called for a return of the hostages and a cease-fire…

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $60 million donation toward preventing drowning deaths around the world. This raises the foundation’s investment in this area to $104 million since 2012…

The execution of an Iranian Jewish man, Arvin Nathaniel Ghahremani, who was sentenced to death for killing another man in self-defense, has reportedly been postponed by a month…

Iranian women’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year while jailed in Iran’s Evin prison, said that she is facing a new trial on charges of “spreading propaganda” after she accused security forces of sexual assault…

The Financial Times questions the future of Aby Rosen’s real estate empire as his RFR Holding company has billions of dollars of debt coming due…

The Antonacci Family Foundation donated $30,000 to the food security nonprofit Rachel’s Table, which split off from the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts last year…

Yael Dayan, born into a famed Israeli family who became a trailblazing feminist and peace activist and served in the Knesset for over a decade, died on Saturday at 85…

Pic of the Day


Members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus address participants at the Jewish Public Affairs Committee Capitol Summit in Sacramento last week. The annual event brought together more than 450 Jewish leaders and dozens of state lawmakers, and more than 275 participants were attending the summit for the first time.

Joining the summit via video, California Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed his Golden State Plan to Counter Antisemitism — a road map to ensure Jewish inclusion in statewide education and keep Jewish communities safe from discrimination. “The events of Oct. 7 are horrific enough that the details are burned into our minds and need no repeating, and the rise of antisemitism has only accelerated since then,” said Newsom. “This kind of hate has no place in California, or anywhere for that matter, so we’re doing something — something specific — about it.”


Jonathan S. Lavine, co-managing partner and chief investment officer of Bain Capital Credit
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Actress and singer, known for her work in musical theater, best known for singing the title role in the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas,” Judy Kuhn

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