10 Atlanta Funders Have Formed a Collaborative

From eJewish Philanthropy (June 11, 2021)

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, Brill said.

They reached out to the Atlanta Jewish Foundation (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.”

AJF, in turn, connected with Jewish Funders Network (JFN), of which they are members, 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 result was a funder collaborative of 10 funders that started in an unusual way, Brill said — there was “no ask.” In addition to the Brills, who initiated the collaborative, 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.

Read more in eJewish Philanthropy about this unique collaborative powered by JFN.