About JFN

Jewish Funders Network is an international community of private foundations and philanthropists with over 2,500 members from 11 countries around the world whose mission is to promote meaningful giving and take an active part in the processes that change the thinking and action patterns of philanthropy in the Jewish world. JFN Israel, established in 2008, enables Israeli funders to exchange ideas about their philanthropic involvement and expand their giving circles, both in Israel and overseas. Download our membership brochure.


Founded in 1990, the idea for JFN grew out of a conversation between Sidney Shapiro, Jonathan Cohen, and Jeffrey Dekro. They then brought together 17 funders to plan the first JFN conference in Chicago in January 1991, attended by 59 funders. Read JFN's full history here.


JFN works with Jewish funders, at the individual and collective levels, to improve the quality of their giving and maximize their impact as they make the change they want to see in the world. JFN leverages the power and the creativity of networks to produce change in the Jewish world.



JFN's values remain the ethical underpinning of everything we do. We represent a broad spectrum of beliefs and attitudes in our membership. We do not shy away from confronting difficult issues, encouraging respectful dialogue, and making hard choices guided by the following principles:

Responsibility (Tikkun Olam—Repair the World)

Together, we face the many pressing problems that exist in the world and are committed to helping funders determine the responsible, ethical use of wealth in creating meaningful solutions. We have the courage to take risks and the willingness to fail in our attempts.

Equality (Betzelem Elohim—all of us are created equal)

We are an open and egalitarian community, where no one member has more power or influence because of his or her wealth, position, religious observance, age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We convene as a community of equals, united in our values.

Respect (Derech Eretz)

We listen carefully and respectfully to others.  We strive to create a safe place for provocative, confidential conversations about sensitive subjects, such as wealth, class, family dynamics, personal passions, Jewish identity, etc…

Inclusion (Eilu v’Eilu—"This and also this")

We are a pluralistic organization that values the richness of diversity and sees the opportunities for innovation and learning from conflict and divergent views. We promote shared inquiry, education, and informed action.

Partnership (Areyvut)

We do not advocate any particular funding cause, but act as an honest broker, striving to help donors connect with each other and root their giving in Jewish traditions, ethics and values. With humility, we facilitate the efforts of funders to be more effective, and to think critically about the possibilities for—and implications of—their philanthropy.

JFN is not a grantmaking organization and does not fund projects or individuals, nor do we promote any projects in need of funding in front of our members.

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History of JFN