Your Daily Phil: Rep. David Trone gives $1.5 million to Jewish student life at Furman + General Mills, Ben & Jerry’s BDS updates

Good Tuesday morning! 

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we cover a donation from Rep. David Trone (D-MD) and his wife, June, to support Jewish life at Furman University. Below, we have an update on General Mills’ alleged BDS moves against Israel.

General Mills, the multinational food producer, is pushing back against claims that it is engaging in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. 

“General Mills today serves, and is committed to continuing to serve, our Israeli consumers with many brands across our large and diverse portfolio, including Pillsbury, Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Nature Valley snack bars,” the company said in a statement to eJewishPhilanthropy. “In fact, we are actively exploring bringing additional brands to Israel.”

JLens, the Jewish investor network, added the company to its Do Not Invest list last week after alleging that GM was removing all Pillsbury-branded products from Israeli shelves, amounting to a boycott of Israel. Pillsbury has been a target of BDS activists for several years, with the movement declaring victory after GM announced the sale of its stake in an Israeli joint venture in May.

The company passed off the divestment as a business decision rather than an act of BDS. JLens allegedly spoke with GM representatives for months about the future of the Pillsbury brand in Israel before deciding the company was misleading investors, and planned to cut the brand entirely.

Now, GM is refuting JLens’ claim. “Sales of Pillsbury products in Israel will continue after we exit the dough business next year,” its statement said. But Julie Hammerman, CEO of JLens, isn’t convinced — GM allegedly told JLens in writing that they planned to cut the brand — and the company remains on the Do Not Invest list.

“While we are pleased to hear that General Mills is willing to make changes based on the concerns JLens raised, the company has repeatedly shared false information with us,” she said. “We have requested and are awaiting additional information to better assess General Mills decision-making with respect to Israel.”

The GM statement was coordinated with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (GM is based in Minnesota). Steve Hunegs, executive director of the JCRC, rejected any accusation of BDS toward the company.

“The…statement is another clear rejection of the BDS movement by General Mills,” he said in a comment to eJP. “Claims to the contrary are unfortunate and inaccurate.”


Furman Jewish student group gets $1.5 million from Rep. David Trone


Rep. David Trone (D-MD) and his wife, June, have given Furman University, a liberal arts university in South Carolina, $1.5 million to create a Hillel Endowment Fund in support of the school’s Jewish Student Association, which is affiliated with Hillel International, reports Lev Gringauz for eJewishPhilanthropy.

More to come: “I’ve heard they’re going to try to help us out,” Alana Epstein, a rising senior at the university and student president of the JSA, told eJP. “They want to make sure that the current Jewish Students Association student body is helped, but also just to keep it going in the future. That’s all I really have heard so far, but I know they’re going to be telling us a lot more soon.”

Bigger picture: Though Trone, an alumnus of the university who sits on its board of trustees, was raised Lutheran, his wife and children are Jewish.  The Hillel gift is part of a larger $10 million donation from the Trone family to the university, with the rest of the money supporting student mental health services. The donation comes nine years after the Trone family gave $3.5 million to the university to renovate and rename its student center. Total Wine, which Trone founded in 1991, is reportedly the largest retailer of Israeli wine in the U.S.

Read the full story here.


Accountability, kindness and faith in relationship

Courtesy Foundation for Jewish Camp

“As adults, when we talk about being kind, it is hard not to first think about superficial niceties like a simple ‘hello,’ sharing a smile, saying thank you or offering a compliment. And while these are all great things to put out into the world, it’s important that we broaden our understanding of and appreciation for what kindness is, write Nila Rosen, Rabbi Avi Katz Orlow and Aimee Lerner, staffers at the Foundation for Jewish Camp, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Commitments to each other: “It’s the foundation of relationships and is tethered to our accountability and commitment to each other. We weave a tapestry of commitments in each of our relationships. These commitments can be found in every call or text to a friend, in who is going to do the grocery shopping this week, in every word we speak, in how and where we spend our time, and with whom we choose to spend it. Our commitment to others requires constant choices and decisions, which can be challenging in a world of many options and distractions. What we choose to focus on, what we choose to put in front of us, and who we choose as company are all reflective of the commitments for which we hold ourselves accountable.”

Culture of kindness: “In the case of Jewish camp, an intentional culture of kindness lays the groundwork for the building of community, lifelong friendships and an environment where children can develop into the best authentic version of themselves, and younger adult counselors take on a commitment to teach younger campers. How do camps do this? What is the secret sauce? We think it has to do with centering on belonging, accountability to an inclusive community, and kindness.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Which Report is Right?: With multiple reports on the state of philanthropy available to industry professionals, when one report says giving has gone up and another says giving has stagnated, “it is actually possible that they are both right,” Tracy Vanderneck writes in NonProfitPRO. “The next time you are asked to report on trends or hear data shared at a meeting, be sure you know what source is being referenced, whether the data is national or state, and whether it is reported in today’s dollars or adjusted for inflation. Knowing this information will help the report data seem less conflicting. As important as fundraising and philanthropic trends are, how your own organization is performing year over year is something to always evaluate. Your nonprofit’s fundraising outcomes compared to industry trends are relevant, but improvements compared to your own past performance is a true indicator of success.” [NonProfitPRO]

Athletes + Fans = Charity: Swysh, a platform that connects sports fans with athletes for video messaging, is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from every video message to children’s charities in Australia, Rachel Treisman writes in The Australian Jewish News. “‘The whole idea behind Swysh leverages the power and influence of athletes both on the impact they can have on their fans through encouragement, inspiration and celebration, but also the impact they can have on the community at the same time,’ [platform founder Mike] Roth told The AJN. Starting with 10 soccer players on the platform, Swysh has grown to 1000 athletes across Australia and New Zealand and has raised over half a million dollars for charity. ‘[Charity] is a special part of what we do, and it really differentiates the Swysh product, but the credit really goes to the athletes who are using their position in the community to help those who need it.’”  [AustralianJewishNews]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

A federal judge denied the latest attempt by ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s to get its parent company, Unilever, to stop manufacturing the company’s products in what it refers to as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”…

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute, part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, announced the honorees of the Black Women Give Back List, an initiative to showcase the important work and contributions of Black women philanthropists… 

The Marble Freedom Trust, a nonprofit group formed in May 2020 and led by conservative activist Leonard A. Leoreceived a total of $1.6 billion through a series of transactions originating with Barre Seid, a Chicago-based electronics manufacturing mogul. He is known to have donated to Jewish and Israeli causes, including Bar-Ilan University and Foundation for Jewish Camp…

Gilmour Academy, an independent, Catholic, coed, day and residential preK-12 school in Gates Mills, Ohio, has announced a $28 million commitment from the Howley Foundation

Pic of the Day

Courtesy of KKL-JNF

The Hula Lake region, an agricultural area in northern Israel with abundant fresh water, is a major stopover for birds migrating along the Syrian-African Rift Valley between Africa, Europe and Asia. A new project initiated by KKL-JNF is intended to enhance the bird-watching experience for visitors to Hula Lake. The project includes the installation of electric infrastructure and placing a system of online super zoom cameras controlled from eight different spots on Lake Hula’s grounds.


Patrick McMullan/PMC via Getty Images

First Iranian-American member of the New York State Senate, Anna Kaplan… 

Professor emeritus at MIT and 1987 Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Robert Solow… Owner of many car dealerships, art collector and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Braman… Owner of Paper Capers, a custom invitation and gift store located in Livingston, N.J., Leslie Haupt Mayesh… Former MLB player from 1969 to 1978, he was the first designated hitter in MLB history and later the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League, Ron Blomberg… History professor at Hebrew University specializing in pre-modern Islamic civilization, Reuven Amitai-Preiss… Retired general counsel of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Md., Richard Zeskind… Former member of Knesset for 23 years representing the Labor party and Zionist Union party, Eitan Cabel… Owner of A&A Wholesale, Bracha (Benita Amedeo) Radin… CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, Marc Swatez… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 , she served as a physician prior to entering politics, Kimberly Merle Schrier(D-WA)… Founder and CEO of Wonga, a British financial technology company, Errol Damelin… ESPN’s and ABC’s sportswriter, reporter and author, Jeremy Schaap… Founder and director of the Jewish Family Enrichment Project, Rabbi Josh Kohl… Former NBA head coach for the Pistons and Nets, now president of basketball operations for the L.A. Clippers, Lawrence Frank… National reporter for ProPublicaCraig Silverman… Israeli model, born in Haifa, Mor Katzir… Senior manager in the hospital and healthcare practice of Accenture, Avigail Goldgraber… Senior advisor for policy and speechwriter during the Trump administration, Stephen Miller… Actor best known for his role as Alex in the television series “Timeblazers,” Stephen Joffe

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