Your Daily Phil: Slingshot’s ‘10 to Watch’ + SoCal Jewish News goes on hiatus
Good Wednesday morning!
The Slingshot Fund, which works with young philanthropists to promote Jewish innovation, has released its 2022 “10 to Watch,” a list of 10 relatively new Jewish nonprofits responding in original ways to the current concerns of American Jews.
This year’s list spotlights issues that have become priorities in Jewish communal discourse in recent years, including gender equality, mental health and Jewish racial diversity. Slingshot doesn’t fund the groups, but creates the list to draw attention to them in the hope that they’ll forge connections with Jewish philanthropists, especially younger ones, the group’s CEO, Stefanie Rhodes, told eJewishPhilanthropy.
“We’re speaking to our people and saying, ‘This is stuff based on what you’re interested in, and what your family funds, and the change you’re trying to make in the world,'” she told eJP. “Here’s 10 really interesting programs or projects that are worth your taking a deeper look at.”
This year, Slingshot changed its application process, no longer requiring organizations to submit a special application. Instead, it invited groups to send in a grant application or annual report they’d already written, which led to a greater number of eligible submissions — 53 this year, up from 37 in 2021. Rhodes also noted that roughly one-sixth of applicants focused on Jews of color. “It turns out, actually, that when you ask an organization to tell you about their work, and [do] not try to fit them into a template, you can get excellent, wonderful information,” Rhodes said.
Gabby Spatt, the executive director and sole full-time employee of The Blue Dove Foundation, which addresses mental health through programs related to Jewish culture and ritual, hopes that inclusion in the list will allow her to grow her $310,000 budget. But she also sees the group’s selection as a sign that the Jewish community is more willing than it has been in the past to openly discuss mental illness.
“It means that the community is thinking differently,” she said. “Over the last two years in the Jewish community we’ve seen an influx of this topic… This just shows that the community is ready to have these kinds of conversations.”
The full “10 to Watch” list includes:
- Rise Up
- The Blue Dove Foundation
- Mitsui Collective
- The Jewish Fertility Foundation’s Cincinnati branch
- The Rekindle Fellowship
- Jewtina y Co.
- Gender Equity in Hiring Project
- SEA Change Initiative
- Devorah Scholars
SoCal Jewish News, a fledgling local publication, goes on hiatus as editor undergoes surgery
Atop a mix of articles covering arts, culture and community events, the homepage of the SoCal Jewish News now features a letter, written by editor Kelly Hartog, that explains why the digital outlet will stop publishing for at least two months. In the letter Hartog discusses how her impending kidney transplant has impaired the ability of the Jewish News, which launched last July, to do its best work. But she told eJewishPhilanthropy that she still has high hopes for the site.
A new venture: Hartog founded the Jewish News last year along with a team of six other journalists, several of whom, like her, once worked for the region’s largest Jewish publication, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. In October 2020, facing pandemic hardships, the Jewish Journal suspended its print edition. Around that same time, Hartog, the Jewish Journal’s managing editor, was laid off.
Startup challenges: The Jewish News launched the following May and faced obstacles of its own, raising less than $5,000 through a GoFundMe campaign. But Hartog says the team has managed to bring in some money via advertising and donations, divvying up funds among the staff when possible while they supplement their income with other work.
Staying optimistic: Hartog’s illness has posed a test for the publication, which hopes to focus a hyperlocal lens on the Los Angeles Jewish community and cover arts and culture, all while pioneering a sustainable model of Jewish journalism for a digital age when many print publications have folded. “Had I known I was going to get this sick so rapidly, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but I didn’t know, so I figured I’ll just keep going,” Hartog told eJP regarding the publication’s launch. Following the surgery, she said, “I’m kind of going to be a brand-new person. I will be able to do even more than I was able to do when we started this.”
MISLEADING AND FALSE CLAIMS
The fight over biased ethnic studies courses is spreading to public schools nationwide
“As a Cuban American Jew who spent nearly two decades working on federal education and public history initiatives to reach diverse and underserved communities, I have observed what is happening in K-12 public schools with growing concern,” writes Ida R. Eblinger Kelley, senior advisor at StandWithUs, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Big picture: “In the big picture, our classrooms are increasingly caught in the culture wars between the right and the left. The impact of this on the Jewish community varies from place to place, but in far too many cases we have seen Jewish perspectives erased or anti-Jewish content actively promoted in public education. One example was the first draft of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) — an important effort to fight racism that was twisted into a platform for antisemitism, anti-Israel narratives and other forms of bias.”
Attack mode: “While California’s ESMC was revised over the course of two years, the writers of the first draft formed their own organization called Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute (LESMC). The leadership of LESMC has smeared the Anti-Defamation League – the largest organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism – as a ‘white supremacist’ group. Their website went further, attacking Jewish community relations councils and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. LESMC promotes the false narrative that Zionism is a ‘colonial ideology,’ erasing 3,000 years of the Jewish people’s history in their ancestral home… This problem is no longer confined to California.”
A national problem: “These challenges are not happening in a vacuum and should not be taken lightly. Rates of antisemitic crimes and incidents have skyrocketed, especially during the latest war between Israel and Hamas. This hatred grows partly due to widespread ignorance among young people about all things related to the Jewish community, from Jewish identity, history and diversity to antisemitism, Israel and Zionism.”
AN EQUITABLE SECTOR
Applying an equity lens to evaluation
“In parallel with the growing awareness of the historical and systemic drivers of inequality, professionals in the field of evaluation are also reflecting on the intersection between our practices and a more equitable society,” writes Allison Magagnosc, a senior project associate at Rosov Consulting, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Doing the research: “With this awareness, Rosov Consulting designed an evaluation that uses more equitable techniques and is in service of creating a more equitable Jewish nonprofit sector for our client, JPro. By surveying and interviewing professionals in the field, we hope to better understand what factors enable or hinder their access to professional growth opportunities so that JPro can make systemic changes to ensure those experiences are accessible to all.”
Applying an equity lens: “Although we are penning this piece before we have findings, there are ways in which an equity lens can be applied before any data is collected. One such resource is the Equitable Evaluation Initiative (EEI). These principles — in addition to being used here as a framing device — are valuable for our work with funders and grantees in the Jewish communal sector and push us to continually reflect upon and improve our work process and product.”
Have a Plan: Having a strategic plan will demonstrate that a nonprofit can be trusted to use philanthropic dollars wisely and encourage long-haul donors, Eric Ryan writes in NonProfitPRO. “For organizations about to embark on a campaign, having a strong strategic plan not only puts the organization in ‘the driver’s seat’ — in terms of their future, it also gives them credibility and differentiates them from other organizations that do not have plans… Today’s donors, especially newcomer Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, insist on knowing the financial health, objectives and long-range goals of a nonprofit. Much like an investment, they are basing their decisions on sound business practices versus an emotional appeal.” [NonProfitPRO]
Peptoc Hotline: On Feb. 26, the “Peptoc Hotline,” a series of bilingual recordings crafted to offer positive and encouraging mantras in challenging times, went live and is accessible to the public, writes Matt Villano for CNN. It was created as a public art project by students at West Side Elementary School in Healdsburg, California. “The effort was the brainchild of Jessica Martin, a local artist who doubles as the art teacher for the small school. Martin expected the effort to inspire some smiles and maybe lift a few hundred spirits in Healdsburg and the surrounding community. In less than a week, the project has gone viral, receiving between 300 and 500 calls an hour, and up to as many as 5,000 calls a day, Martin said. ‘The adults among us have been holding everything up for so long, it’s amazing to see what comfort children can bring,’ she said. ‘I was moved by the incredible collection of advice and encouragement they gleaned, and how easily and distinctly they were able to communicate it.’” [CNN]
NextGen Tech: Philadelphia nonprofit Coded by Kids is preparing young people from underrepresented backgrounds for leadership roles in technology, Nicole Wallace writes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “The students Coded by Kids work with range in age from 8 to 24. Participants learn about coding, software development, technology jobs, and more. A paid summer internship program teaches high-school and college students what tech start-ups do and how they work. Students get real-world experience creating apps, websites, and prototypes as interns with Draft Studios, the organization’s web-development company. Some stay on, and it becomes their job during college.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]
Word on the Street
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced plans to introduce a bill tripling Nonprofit Security Grant funding to $540 million. That number exceeds the proposals of Jewish organizations, which have called for $360 million in funding…
The Jewish Communal Fund’s special gifts fund committee approved a grant of $500,000 to UJA-Federation of New York’s Ukraine crisis response fund. The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles provided a $300,000 grant to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Ukraine Jewish community relief fund…
The Conference of European Rabbis received a donation of $3 million from the foundation established by Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia Milner…
More than 200 members of Chicago’s Jewish community gathered Monday night to pray for peace in Ukraine and raise money for humanitarian efforts…
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute released “Women Give 2022: Racial Justice, Gender and Generosity,” a new report exploring how gender and demographic factors affected giving to racial justice causes in 2020. The report, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the first study to explore attitudes toward the 2020 racial justice movement through a gender lens, examining who is giving, how much and how that generosity relates to various demographic variables…
The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles has relaunched its grants program focused on seeding and growing local innovative programs. Cutting Edge Grants 2.0 builds upon the predecessor initiative, which, since its creation in 2006, has awarded $21 million in funding to support more than 100 innovative Jewish causes and programs across Los Angeles. Under the reimagined CEG 2.0, applicants can apply for multi-year grants of up to $300,000…
Birthright Israel is reverting to a policy of funding free trips exclusively to young adults ages 26 and under. This summer will be the last opportunity for Jews ages 27 to 32 to participate in Birthright, with the exception of anyone older who had registered for a trip that was canceled because of the pandemic…
The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) estimates that 1.5 million passengers will pass through Ben Gurion Airport during the Passover holiday during April, close to the record number that passed through in Passover 2019, pre-covid…
A new report from the Israel Innovation Authority said women were a minority at each stage of the path toward the Israeli high-tech industry and along their career routes, from school to military to university as well as in their employment or entrepreneurial ventures…
Russian-Israeli billionaire Leonid Nevzlin says he is giving up his Russian citizenship amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine…
Ms. Miriam Gedwiser has been named rosh kollel at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education…
Gail Baer has been named vice president of major gifts & planned giving for the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix and the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix…
The National Religious Broadcasters board of directors, an evangelical Christian organization, has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism…
Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded grants to 10 recipients in support of family engagement programs. Each will receive a minimum of $100,000…
The Starbucks Foundation announced that it is expanding its Origin Grants program to help an additional one million women and girls around the world by 2030.?? The program has invested more than $14 million in more than 20 nonprofit organizations working to assist women and girls…
Charles Entenmann, who propelled his family’s New York bakery into a national brand, died at 92…
Pic of the Day
Ukrainian women and children arriving at Budapest’s Western Railway Station on Tuesday received flowers from local volunteers in recognition of International Women’s Day, which is widely celebrated in Eastern Europe. According to the U.N. refugee agency, more than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion; Hungary has welcomed more than 144,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Pitcher for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Jared Lakind…
Professor emeritus of sociology and Jewish studies at the University of Toronto, Y. Michal Bodemann… Sag Harbor, N.Y.-based painter, sculptor and printmaker, Eric Fischl… Radio and television journalist, he hosts the public radio program “Science Friday,” Ira Flatow… Author and political journalist, Michael Kinsley… Member of the Knesset from 1989 to 2021, he has served in many cabinet roles, now chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries, Amir Peretz… President and CEO of NYC’s flagship public TV station WNET, Neal Shapiro… Susan Liebman… Founder and president of NYC-based Gotham Media Strategies, Gordon Platt… CEO, chairman and controlling shareholder of Quontic Bank based in New York, Steven Schnall… VP and head of global communications and public affairs for Meta / Facebook, David I. Ginsberg… SVP at the D.E. Shaw group, Matthew Vogel… CEO of the Trevor Project, Amit Paley… Co-founder and CEO at ImpactTechNation, Hanan Rubin… Israeli-born singer, now one-half of the world music duo Shlomit & RebbeSoul, Shlomit Levi… Washington, DC-based journalist, Menachem Wecker… Partner in the Los Angeles office of Bocarsly Emden Cowan Esmail & Arndt, Rachel Rosner… Communications director for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Alissa “Sadie” Weiner… CEO at New Orleans-based QED Hospitality, Emery Whalen… Founding partner of Mothership Strategies, Jacob “Jake” Austin Lipsett… Director of adult education and Israel engagement at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County (Fla.), Marla Topiol… First round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Ozzy Wiesblatt… Private equity and venture capital investor, Howie Fialkov… Stephen Lent…
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