Your Daily Phil: The battle over Donor Advised Funds comes to Congress + An Atlanta giving collective


 Good Friday morning!

Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) will be operating on a hybrid work schedule by October that will include up to two remote work days a week, but JUF’s experience of working remotely during the pandemic has taught the organization just how important the office is, JUF Chief of Staff Jim Rosenberg told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“Our office is our primary workspace,” Rosenberg said. “It’s where we create our best culture together. It’s a reason we were able to be so successful away from the office.”

JUF is using the summer to start implementing the new schedule in three phases. Until the fall, there will be no set schedule, which will help the organization’s 300-plus employees adjust to going back to the Wells Street office. During the month of September, when the office will be closed for a number of days due to the High Holidays, teams will work together to decide which days they will be in the office, and starting in October, the entire staff will be together in the office for two days, while individual departments will be able to gather at a location of their choosing on another day.

The phases will help the entire organization make a smooth transition to post-pandemic life, Rosenberg added. Some staff, such as those with long commutes, found remote work a boon to their lifestyle, while others struggled to maintain boundaries between work and family. “We can’t just flip a switch,” Rosenberg said. “We have to ease into it.”

JUF is “strongly encouraging” employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but not currently requiring it, Rosenberg said. The federation is still considering its policy on this question.


Jewish organizations raise alarms about proposed regulations on philanthropic giving


A Senate bill introduced Tuesday that could create new rules to govern philanthropic contributions made through donor-advised funds (DAF) has Jewish nonprofit leaders warning of a fundamental change in giving that would “deprive those most in need,” Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.

Background: The Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act, sponsored by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would require donations made via donor-advised funds to be distributed to charities within 15 years from when an individual places money in the fund. Existing laws allow individuals to earn tax advantages when they donate to a DAF, but there is no timeline for when the money must be distributed to nonprofit organizations. DAFs have become a popular mode of giving for Jewish donors in recent years, with many funders using independent community foundations, such as the Jewish Communal Fund in New York.

Grave concerns: “We are gravely concerned that efforts to undermine DAFs, the fastest growing vehicle for charitable giving in the U.S., would fundamentally change the nature of philanthropy and deprive those most in need,” Eric Fingerhut, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, told Jewish Insider. “DAFs play an especially important role during times of crisis in their ability to immediately funnel life-saving funds.” JFNA was one of more than 80 groups to sign on to a letter from the leaders of major organizations urging congressional leadership to oppose the new legislation and include charitable groups in future conversations about reform.

Choosing sides: Critics of the current rules say that the lack of timeline for distributing donations keeps money from actually reaching charities and helping people in need, which allows donors to get a tax deduction without actually supporting nonprofits. Backers of current policies say that DAFs provide freedom and flexibility to donors — including an alternative to the more onerous process of creating a foundation — who want a place to put their money while they consider where to donate it.

Reconsider: So far, no senators other than King and Grassley have signed onto the legislation, and it remains to be seen whether the bill will make it to a committee markup, let alone a vote, but the bill does have some backers in the philanthropic world. Early supporters include the organizations Global Citizen, Give Blck and Rehabilitation Through the Arts. And the philosophy behind the bill — the framework of accelerating charitable giving from DAFs — has been endorsed by several prominent philanthropists, including Seth Klarman and John Arnold, as well as the heads of the Ford, Kellogg and Kresge Foundations.

Read more here.


10 Atlanta funders have created a collaborative

Atlanta Jewish Foundation

When the pandemic hit last spring, Lisa Brill and her daughter-in-law both endured many sleepless nights wondering how COVID-19 would affect Atlanta’s Jewish community, and whether they could harness the disruption for the community’s benefit. The result, after much discussion and planning with the Atlanta Jewish Foundation (AJF), was a collaborative of 10 funders, Brill told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

A chance to reach out: In addition to the Brills, participants include the Marcus and Zalik families and donors who range in age from their late 30s to the mid-70s. David Zalik is co-founder and CEO of Atlanta-based fintech company GreenSky. The Brills reached out to AJF, which is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and shared their desire to use the pandemic as an opportunity to work with other donors. “We’ve been in Atlanta since 1979,” said Brill, whose husband Ron Brill co-founded Home Depot with Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. “This is a dynamic city. We’ve seen the highs and the lows, and we know that things can always get better.” 

Holding off on the ‘ask:’ AJF, in turn, connected with Jewish Funders Network (JFN), said Jori Mendel, AJF’s deputy director. JFN is an education and support organization for family foundations, federations and individuals, and it has developed training and resources to help funders carry out scenario planning that would survey their community’s needs and begin figuring out ways to address them. The Atlanta donors were asked to invest only their time, until the collaborative process had generated decisions about what to fund, and at what level. The collaborative’s full name is the “Atlanta Jewish Foundation Funder Collaborative Powered by the Jewish Funders Network.” 

Local focus: “This collaborative funding model is something that hasn’t been done for a very long time,” Mendel said. “Donors have been working on their own instead of pooling their funds.” Atlanta’s Jewish community is a mix of established families — Jews have lived there since the founding of the city — and newer arrivals drawn by the city’s tech sector and such employers as Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Emory University and UPS. The funding collaborative reflects that diversity, Brill said.

Read the full story here.


New hope is born for Israeli families at first-of-its-kind pregnancy loss conference


When Elysa Rapoport lost her first baby girl in 2016, born without breath at 31 weeks, she found herself lost and alone. The Australian immigrant to Israel felt that the health system handled her traumatic experience of stillbirth “horribly,” lacking sensitivity and offering little professional support. Grappling with waves of grief, it took 10 months after her stillbirth for Rapoport, 37, to gain a spot in a support group in the city of Rishon Lezion, more than a half-hour’s drive from her home in Tel Aviv. She found the experience of meeting other women who had similar experiences, coupled with the moderation of trained professionals, a saving grace. A year later, Candles of Hope was born, writes Tamara Zieve for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Lighting Hope: Candles of Hope was founded by Rapoport together with her mother Rebecca Dreyfus, who flew from Sydney to Tel Aviv to lend comfort and support to her grieving daughter following her stillbirth. Frustrated by the lack of institutional support available to her daughter at the time, Dreyfus was the driving force behind the founding of the group.Last month, the NGO, helmed by Rapoport, held its first national conference dedicated to the subject of pregnancy and infant loss, shining a light on an issue often hidden in the shadows — to the detriment of those affected.

Group Healing: The conference, which attracted 120 people, featured speakers from various fields including therapy, research, the arts and media, advocacy and public leadership. Nurses, midwives and people who had experienced loss also participated. The name of the organization was inspired by the memorial candles traditionally lit for the deceased, and the hope that shines out of the light; for many, that hope is connected to a future pregnancy, and for others it represents hope to move forward to a positive place. “We see hope as so central and critical to healing,” Rapoport explained.

Big Numbers: Rapoport is far from being a rare statistic, and Candles of Hope seeks to provide a readily available support system to all those who will sadly but inevitably experience loss of this kind. In Israel, the rate of pregnancy termination is some 10 percent of all known pregnancies, Professor Danny Horesh of Bar Ilan University’s psychology department told the conference. Stillbirth occurs in 3.5 to 5 of every 1000 deliveries. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is well-known in Israel, but not its link to pregnancy issues.

Read more here.

Elsewhere: In ultra-Orthodox communities in New York, unsubstantiated rumors of infertility issues have dissuaded some women from seeking the COVID vaccine, Hannah Dreyfus reports in the New York Times



Lena Klimkeit/picture alliance via Getty Images

“A line wraps three city blocks around the Baltimore Convention Center, signs with arrows say simply, ‘Vaccines.’ The mood is at once somber and festive, communal and individual,” writes Matt Freedman in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Loss: “So much loss and destruction. The convention center that hosts a mass vaccination site also hosted a field hospital. Never over-full, it nonetheless bore grim witness that these were end-times of a sort. My nonprofit almost ended. Many others, alongside so many local businesses and all the people who worked for them did. And for far too many, loss of education, loss of socialization, and continued loss of economic opportunity meant, in other ways, these were, and for a long while have been, end-times.”

Story tellers: “As fundraisers we are, first and foremost, story tellers. We give voice to the voiceless, and then open doors for people to write themselves into the story, if they choose. We never really ‘raise’ money; we raise the story, create the opportunity, present the choice… And the choices we make now, as philanthropists and as citizens will determine the story we live.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Studying Chinese: Philanthropy in China is still an emerging practice, but a report recently published for the first time in English reveals that donors prioritize education, poverty alleviation, social welfare and the development of the field of philanthropy, reports Liz Longley in Inside Philanthropy. As China’s economy grows, so does its donor class, which is increasingly composed of tech billionaires instead of manufacturing tycoons, although both groups are focused on the problems and concerns of their home provinces. “Researchers believe Chinese social structures are the basis of that mindset, citing Confucian teachings that place individuals at the center of concentric circles of social influence,” Longley writes. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Due Process: Female leaders have made strides in the past year in both politics and philanthropy, writes Rena Greifinger in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, citing such examples as the accomplishments of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mackenzie Scott’s $5.7 billion in charitable contributions. Yet the pandemic has exacerbated steep challenges facing middle and low-income women, and what’s needed to help that group in a systematic way is what Greifinger calls a “feminist philanthropy” that can be practiced by people of any gender and emphasizes process, flexibility and an ability to work with grantees to define success. “The philanthropic world is rightly calling for longer-term, less restricted, and more trust-based giving. But we shouldn’t get so caught up in hands-off giving that we eliminate the opportunity for connection.”  [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

? Growing The Seed: In Forbes, Rob Kaplan explores the population of ultra-high net worth individuals and families who are so enthralled with impact investment that they are willing to accept a range of financial returns and outcomes. These individuals do want to make money, but because they have longer time horizons and a broader definition of a successful investment, what they need are wealth managers who understand those nuances and can locate or create such opportunities without being afraid of temporary dips in the financial value of a portfolio, Kaplan writes: “Families and individuals are … the ‘missing middle’ of investment capital that we need to bridge the gap between philanthropic or seed funding and the enormous sums of institutional capital sitting on the sidelines.” [Forbes]

? End Run: The Foundation for the Carolinas will soon announce that it has reached its fundraising goal of $18 million in private donations to support the city of Charlotte’s arts budget, but the initiative is controversial because it replaces the city’s Arts & Science Council (ASC) with a citizen-led grantmaking board, report Alison Kunitz and Catherine Muccigrosso in the Charlotte Observer. The city decided to work with Foundation for the Carolinas after ASC apologized for practices that perpetuated racial inequity, and when a plan to try to boost funding for it in 2019 failed, but the ASC has support from more than 40 clergy and 270 artists and community members who want the city to maintain its role and increase its budget. “Change is always frightening and hard, especially when you’ve just been through a pandemic and these arts organizations are really struggling to know if they can stay with their long-term plans,” said Charlotte’s mayor pro tempore, Julie Eiselt. [CharlotteObserver]

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Word on the Street

The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta will award its first-ever signature grant for a partnership between Jewish Family & Career Services and MACoM: Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah, the largest single project allocation ever funded by the organization… The Bronfman Fellowshiphas selected its 35th cohort of high school students from across North America… A Manchester, U.K., project documenting the stories of Holocaust survivors received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service — the country’s highest accolade for volunteering… Nearly half of Americans say they are unclear about what “charity impact” means,  according to a new report from BBB’s, the standards-based charity evaluation group… Online platform WikiCharities launched free profile pages for any U.S.-based nonprofit organization… A group of Christian American students arrived in Israel this week with Passages, an organization that brings American students to visit Israel… Bernard Arnault, recently named the richest person in the world by Forbes magazine, along with billionaire Howard Schultz and others, invested in the latest funding round for Israeli cloud security company Wiz

Pic of the Day


SmartAID staff and offices in India, Australia, the U.S. and Israel, the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust team with DHL, Blue Dart and the Ted Arison Family Foundation are distributing over 3,000 oxygen concentrators throughout India



Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel (2004-2017), he was previously Attorney General of Israel (1997-2004), Elyakim Rubinsteinon Sunday… 

FRIDAY: Heir to the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and minister in two British governments under prime ministers Major and Thatcher (1990-1994), Sir Timothy Alan Davan Sainsbury… Executive director of NYC-based government watchdog Citizens Union, she was elected as NYC’s Public Advocate in 2001 and reelected in 2005, Elisabeth A. “Betsy” Gotbaum… Chairman and CEO of American Eagle Outfitters, Value City Department Stores, DSW and lead sponsor of ArtScroll’s translation of the Babylonian Talmud, Jay Schottenstein… Israel’s deputy minister of education, Meir Porush… Longtime hedge fund manager and owner of the New York Mets, Steven A. Cohen… Past president and national board member of AIPAC, Lee ‘Rosy’ Rosenberg… Israel’s deputy minister of the Interior, Yoav Ben-Tzur… New Windsor, NY attorney, Barry Friedman… Served as an Illinois state representative and as Human Rights Commissioner, Lauren Beth Gash… VP of public affairs and government relations for Duke University, Michael J. Schoenfeld… President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami… Deputy director of the CIA, David S. Cohen… Senior advisor at Quadrant Strategies, former White House Jewish liaison and current president of New York Jewish Agenda, Matt Nosanchuk… Founder of Shabbat[dot]com, Rabbi Benzion Zvi Klatzko… Dean of TheYeshiva.netand noted public speaker, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson… Budget director at the City Council of the District of Columbia, Jennifer Budoff… Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, she participated in two seasons of the Israeli reality show Me’usharot, Nicol Raidman… Actor, performance artist and filmmaker, Shia LaBeouf… Israeli attorney and CEO of Dualis Social Venture Fund, Dana Naor

SATURDAY: Sportscaster for the NBA on TNT, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig)… Israeli statesman and scholar, Yosef “Yossi” Beilin… Rabbi emeritus at Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz County, California, Richard Litvak, a/k/a Rabbi Rick… British Conservative Party member of Parliament since 1992, son of a rabbi, Michael Fabricant… Dental consultant and recruiter, Kenneth Nussen… Peruvian banker and politician, José Chlimper Ackerman… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Hava Eti Atiya… President of the premium content group of ViacomCBS and CEO of Showtime Networks, David Nevins… EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington, D.C., Rabbi Levi Shemtov… Editor of Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown… Communications consultant at Singularity Communications, Eliezer O. “Eli” Zupnick… Founder and managing partner of the investment firm Thrive Capital and the co-founder of Oscar Health, Joshua Kushner… Managing director of the New American Economy, Hanna Siegel… Software engineer and co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, Blake Aaron Ross… Canadian tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow… Health counsel at the House Ways and Means Committee, Zachary Louis Baron… MBA candidate at Columbia Business School, Alexis Rose Levinson… Multimodal transportation coordinator at Montgomery County, Maryland’s Planning Department, Eli Glazier… Photographer and Instagram influencer, Tessa Nesis

SUNDAY: Professor at UCLA who helped develop ARPANET, Leonard Kleinrock… Founder of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff… Senior advisor for George Soros’s Open Society Institute, winner of a 1985 MacArthur genius fellowship, Morton Halperin… Chairman and CEO of Oppenheimer & Co. (1983-1997), Chancellor of Brown University (1998 to 2007) and CEO of Source of Hope Foundation, Stephen Robert… Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Lewis “Jerry” Nadler… Assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of retina surgery at Franklin Square Hospital, Michael J. Elman, MD… National political correspondent for NPR, Mara Liasson… Co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, Ben Horowitz… Founder and CEO of Overtime, Daniel Porter… Yoga instructor, Jenny Eisen Verdery… Family court judge of the City of New York, Judge Erik S. Pitchal… White House reporter for the Los Angeles TimesEli Stokols… Founder and CEO of NYC-based JDS Development Group, Michael Stern… Board chair of Girls Who Code, Marissa Shorenstein… Actor Max Samuel Spielberg… Film and television actress, she starred in the CBS sitcom “Two Broke Girls,” Katherine Litwack, known professionally as Kat Dennings… Deputy editor at Real Clear Investigations, Benjamin H. Weingarten… Retired NFL football player, he won the 2010 Outland Trophy, Gabe Carimi… Policy advocate at Protect Democracy, Ariela Rosenberg