Your Daily Phil: The underreported Jewish giving of Eli Broad + An Orthodox giving circle grows

Good Monday morning!

Eli Broad, the Jewish billionaire who died on Friday, was known for his ambitious philanthropy on behalf of such causes as city of Los Angeles and public education, but he supported the Jewish community as well, Jay Sanderson, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“Sometimes the Jewish piece of his philanthropy got underreported,” Sanderson said, “but he was a major donor to the federation, and whenever he saw me, he told me that I had his support.”

Andrew Cushnir, who worked for Broad when he was launching the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in the late 1990s, told eJewishPhilanthropy that his professional network was buzzing this past weekend with tributes from people who felt lucky to be exposed to such a “powerful problem-solver.”

Broad also cared deeply about Israel, taking an interest in the federation’s work there on behalf of poor children, Sanderson said. The foundation supported the Peres Center for Peace, and Broad dedicated its gift to an uncle who fled Berlin for Israel, where he helped found a grade school.

“He knew where he came from,” said Cushnir, who is now the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ executive vice president for donor relations. “He knew the value of being Jewish in his life and formulating his own identity.”

A large bipartisan contingent of House members is calling to double funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program for a second year to $360 million for the 2022 fiscal year, citing a “lethal threat to faith-based communities,” reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod

JI obtained a letter signed by 145 members of the House — approximately a third of the chamber — showing broad support for increasing funding to the Department of Homeland Security grant program, which provides funding for nonprofits and faith-based organizations to increase their security programs.

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) is offering $13 million to encourage communities to create endowments that will support PJ Library, a program that gives free Jewish books to families, in times of economic stress, Rachel Berezin, a PJ Library fundraiser who handles national and special projects, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

During the pandemic, some communities felt compelled to redirect funds to needs they perceived as more urgent than children’s books, but those that already had endowments didn’t have to face that choice. This spurred HGF to invite communities in Montreal, Detroit, Houston and seven other cities to create their won endowments by matching HGF dollars.

The Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization held a global moment of silence yesterday at 8 p.m. Israel time in cooperation with the agency’s emissaries around the world to honor the 45 people who died while visiting Mt. Meron for Lag B’Omer last week.


An Orthodox giving circle starts soaring

Daily Giving

Avigdor’s Helping Hand is a charity that provides financial assistance to families that have lost a parent. It’s funded by individuals, and in the past two years has also begun to receive an infusion of cash about every 40 days from Daily Giving, a nonprofit that collects a dollar a day from its members. “This is becoming a major support for us,” said Eli Glaser, the founder of Avigdor’s Helping Hand, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “We can go ahead and feel comfortable, that if a call comes in today from a widow in Los Angeles or Phoenix or Chicago, we’re going to have the money for her. We can help other people, because Daily Giving is there for us.”

Inspired idea: Based in White Plains, an inner suburb of New York City, Daily Giving is the brainchild of Jonathan Donath, a chiropractor, who conceived the idea while at synagogue in 2018. He put a dollar in the shul’s tzedakah box and felt the power of the mitzvah, or good deed, so deeply that he wondered if there was a way to make that feeling a regular part of his life. Back home, he sat down at his computer to try to find an organization to which he could give a dollar every day. Nothing like that seemed to exist, so he talked to friends and people he knew in the nonprofit world and decided to invent the crowdsourcing charity. “What we’re creating here is the Jewish people’s virtual tzedakah box,” he said, referring to the small banks in which people collect change and small bills for charity.

The circle grows: Daily Giving has raised $3.5 million since it launched on Jan. 31, 2019. At the end of its first year, it had almost 1,000 participants; now it has almost 6,000, and recently experienced a surge of growth that will enable it to add 10 more recipients to the list in the next month, said Donath. The group reflects two broader philanthropic trends: It’s a giving circle, in which a group of people amplify the impact of small amounts of money by coming together, and the donations are “unrestricted” because the recipients decide how to use the funds.

Read the full article here.


We’ll never do High Holidays the same again

Elizabeth McGuire Photography

“I have long felt that much of the way we plan for the High Holidays at Hillel conflicts with how we manage other programs and holidays. The High Holidays, with their complicated and at times unfamiliar liturgy, their position right at the start of the academic year, and the way that they attract many people who are not engaged with Hillel throughout the year, present some specific challenges and opportunities,” writesMaiya Edelson in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Pandemic programs: “The reality is the pandemic was a powerful disruption of how we brought the High Holidays to our students and community. Like much of our programming this year, our High Holiday programming centered around small groups, one-on-one experiences, and leveraging technology in new ways. As a result, we saw first-time participants who were not previously engaging with what we were offering. Building back the High Holidays post-pandemic means remembering those folks too and taking a moment to absorb what we learned in 2020 and apply it to further enhance 2021 and beyond.”

Rethink, reshape, and rebuild: “We are eager to assemble students in focus groups later this spring and early summer to explore what High Holidays might look like this fall at our Hillel. What is clear is that while we might dust off our machzorim and schedule templates from years past, our experience this past year has given us a platform to rethink, reshape, and rebuild what a Hillel High Holiday experience could be.” 

Read the full piece here.


A brief reflection on habitual burnout


“Since my article on burnout in Jewish communal professionals was published, I have been both pleased and worried by the response,” writes Dr. Betsy Stone in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Ongoing conversations: “It’s clear that the article touched a raw nerve among professionals — rabbis, educators, youth professionals, social workers and volunteer coordinators. They have told me they gave it to lay leadership, that they discussed it at staff meetings, that it was passed around the internet. The questions I tried to raise do not have simple answers and cannot be reduced to time off.”

The naysayers: “I’ve heard way too many stories of leaders saying, ‘Well, we’ve all worked hard’ and ‘It’s been a tough year for everyone.’ No doubt that is true. In no way did I intend to say that ONLY communal professionals were suffering. We’ve all suffered. My concern was, and remains, that these people are invaluable to the functioning of our communities and that we treat them like they’re fungible, as though we’re doing them a favor by employing them.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Adjusted Tax Rate: If President Joe Biden is considering raising taxes on rich individuals, he should also think about taxing universities and foundations, which hold at least $1.5 trillion in assets and pay 1.4% percent in federal taxes on their new investment income, suggests Henry Olsen in the Washington Post. Yet Biden and other Democrats are unlikely to do so, he writes, because these institutions skew to the left. “That shouldn’t matter, however. Wealth is wealth, and massive accumulations of it should be taxed regardless of the source if the federal government needs the money,” Olsen concludes. [WaPo]

Meeting Up: Until the pandemic, those who work in mainstream philanthropy had only encountered the concept of mutual aid in textbooks, reports Noor Al-Sibai in InsidePhilanthropy. The fit between grassroots mutual aid groups and philanthropy with its top-down decision-making processes is still not an easy one, but some relationships between the two have formed. Many foundations that are funding mutual aid organizations are also soliciting guidance from them about who else to fund. “I think that it’s been harder for bigger foundations and even private foundations to ignore what communities are doing just to keep each other alive,” said Crystal Middlestadt, executive director of the Colorado-based Chinook Fund. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Clock Watching: Fundraisers have managed to keep doing their jobs during the pandemic, by creating engaging and innovative new content and mapping out new strategies, but the sector needs to start talking explicitly about how fundraisers can take care of themselves or that energy will start to falter, Evan Wildstein writes in a blog post on the PhilanTopic website. It’s easy for fundraisers to feel that their work is never done — there’s always one more phone call to make — and also that they are disconnected from the organization’s main mission even as they labor to support it, Wildstein says. Setting limits is crucial: “For many, working from home has morphed into living at work. Don’t be that person. Instead, set real start and finish times for your workday — and stick to them,” he urges. [PhilanTopic]

Soothing Music: In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Eric K. Ward writes that combatting the white nationalist movement requires something bigger than policy prescriptions — a cultural response. Ward’s employer, Western States Center, started trying to create a culture that opposes hate by creating an Inclusive Democracy Culture Lab, whose initial grantees were artists whose fan bases are white, and who might be taking a risk in creating music that valorizes an inclusive democracy. “Philanthropic investments of this type shouldn’t just fall under traditional arts and culture giving but should be part of a broader response to the current crisis in American democracy,” Ward states. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

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Word on the Street

The Krakow Jewish Culture Festival returns as a live event in June… A decision is planned for July 29 on whether the U.K. Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre will receive planning permission for its proposed Parliament location… The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco has begun a new review of 10 artworks, which span the 15th to 19th centuries, to gather more information about their ownership… A report from the Equitable Evaluation Initiative and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations highlights how foundations are working to integrate an equity lens into their evaluation practices… Some 10,000 senior Israeli tech employees have become dollar millionaires in the past year…

Pic of the Day


Patricia Huamani from the village of Sallacancha- Ccasacancha, Peru, uses a solar light and smartphone charger provided by Israel-based SmartAID



Veteran of 13 NHL seasons who in 2005 sat out a hockey game to observe Yom Kippur, now an assistant coach for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Halpern
Founder of the New Americans Museum in San Diego, Deborah Shainman Szekely… Physicist and Nobel laureate in 1979, professor at University of Texas at Austin, Steven Weinberg… Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, David A. Siegel… Pioneer in late night television advertising for his company Ronco, marketing personality known for the phrase, “But wait, there’s more!” Ron Popei… Senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Ely Karmon, Ph.D… Host of a radio show and podcast produced by Santa Fe (NM) Public Radio, David Marash… U.S. Senator (R-Idaho), Jim Risch… Venture capitalist and economist, William H. Janeway… U.S. Senator (D-Oregon), his original family name was Weidenreich, Ron Wyden… Six-time Tony Award winning Broadway producer, Stewart F. Lane… Retired attorney who represented political clients on election law matters, Benjamin L. Ginsberg… Former chair and CEO of Mondelez International, Irene Rosenfeld… Real estate attorney and partner in the Chicago office of DLA Piper, Mark D. Yura… Political reporter and columnist for The Richmond Times-DispatchJeff E. Schapiro… Retired senior advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Susan Steinmetz… EVP for corporate affairs at Booz Allen Hamilton, Stephen Labaton… Russian billionaire who sold the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center, Mikhail Prokhorov… Lobbyist, previously deputy COS at the RNC and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Bush 43 administration, Scott A. Kamins… Israeli singer and actress, Miri Mesika… Reporter for Politico New Jersey and author of New Jersey’s PlaybookMatthew R. Friedman… Educated at the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco, he was a defensive lineman in the NFL from 2004 until 2011, Igor Olshansky… Managing director and head of executive communications of SKDKnickerbocker, Stephen Andrew Krupin… Co-founder and CEO of Democracy Works, Seth Flaxman… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, May Golan