Observations and Actions on Overhead: What I Learned from Grandpa Sidney

As a teenager, my Grandpa Sidney Musher told me his goal as chairman of PEF, an early donor-advised fund (DAF), was to keep the overhead to 1.5%. He accomplished this by utilizing some of the business characteristics of a DAF, which earns income based on funds being held. For the last 25 years, I have worked with investors to maximize ROI on invested capital in private companies. With the benefit of this experience across sectors, including social services, I have come to appreciate the wide range of business models required of both for-profits and nonprofits to meet various societal needs, and how 1.5% is unrealistic for any nonprofit overhead, and probably tight for a DAF these days too.

Complementing Lisa Eisen and Barry Finestone’s important eJP article about nonprofit overhead, based on the work of The Bridgespan Group and five leading U.S. foundations, I would like to contribute an additional perspective. In “Ending the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle,” the authors provide a range of excellent analyses that one could consider as an activity-based costing approach for nonprofits. The authors dive into the true costs of running a nonprofit compared to the expectations of funders.

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Why Jews Should Defend Liberal Democracy

Liberal democracy is in danger.

From Hungary and Poland to Brazil and Venezuela, democracy is in retreat. Even in solid democracies like Israel and America, cracks are appearing in democratic norms.

As liberal democracy is increasingly questioned, Jews face the temptation of falling into an old and dangerous Jewish habit: putting our trust in autocratic kings.

We must not fall for it. Jews, more than anyone else, must stand up for liberal democracy.

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JFN Chair Dr. Georgette Bennett Wins 2019 AARP Purpose Prize

Mazal tov to JFN Chair Dr. Georgette Bennett for being awarded a 2019 AARP Purpose Prize!

The prize honors extraordinary people ages 50 and older who tap into the power of life experience to build a better future for us all. Georgette has been honored for her vital work with founding the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees.

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Video—Briefing: Antisemitism in Brooklyn and Community Solutions

The startling spike in antisemitic crimes in Brooklyn in the past few months is part of a larger trend occurring more broadly across the country and the world.

Faith and community leaders representing populations in New York’s diverse neighborhoods have banded together to find solutions and reverse this trend. What are some of the best practices that are working and can they be replicated in other communities nationwide?

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JFN Book Club: Member Suggestions

We just announced the first four books to be discussed in the JFN Book Club. They were chosen following a round of suggestions from JFN members, who provided us with phenomenal suggestions! But while only four of those books will be featured in the upcoming program year, we wanted to provide you with the full list of fascinating books suggested by JFN members. Enjoy!

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Announcing our Book Club Selections for 2019-2020

This summer we announced the launch of the JFN Book Club, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council. Our Book Club will give members a chance to engage in real depth with some of the most important voices and ideas in the Jewish and philanthropic world. We'll convene three times online, and once in person at the conference, to discuss each book and connect with one another as we integrate what we're learning into our philanthropic practice. There's no commitment necessary; join one discussion or join them all.

We're thrilled to announce the first four book selections and meeting dates. Authors will be joining our discussions, so be sure to mark your calendars!

You can RSVP below for the first two Club meetings, and please join us at the JFN conference in Palm Beach for the third.

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Video—Waste Not, Want Not: Strategic Interventions for Sustainable Food Systems

Up to 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted, while one in five Americans is unsure where their next meal is coming from. Similar statistics are true in Israel and throughout much of Europe.

This webinar brings together field experts Lisa MoonPresident and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Food Banking Network, Michal Bitterman, CEO and Co Founder of The Natural Step, and Aviva Paley, Senior Director and Co-Founder of Kitchens for Good, to discuss models for changing how we approach food waste and food rescue, and explore how philanthropy can work towards a more sustainable food system. Mitchell Davis, Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation, moderates.

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Naomi Adler: Solving Jewish poverty

Episode 6 of What Gives? The Jewish philanthropy podcast from Jewish Funders Network.

Guest: Naomi Adler, President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

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Bonus Episode: At Home in the World? (Sukkot 5780)

Tonight begins the holiday of Sukkot, so I wanted to drop into your podcast feeds for a bonus episode to share a word about the holiday, and how I’m feeling about it this year.

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At Home in the World? (Sukkot 5780)

Until now, I’ve always felt at home in the world.

I have lived in five different countries and visited close to a hundred. I’ve always felt that the world was a place of opportunity and promise, a place where I could feel at home. After visiting most countries I’d say to myself, “I think I could live here.” If I felt particularly ill-adapted to a specific country, I always knew that there are many other places in which I can feel “at home”.

Lately, however, I’ve been besieged by the opposite feeling: a sense of homelessness in the world.

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