Of Oysters and Israel (Yom Ha'atzma'ut 5781)

One article changed my whole view of Zionism.

Since I’d grown up in a strongly Zionist environment, from my home to my day school to my camp, believing that Israel was a model country that could do no wrong, the article should have produced a crisis, and maybe even threatened my attachment to the Zionist idea. Yet, it did the exact opposite.

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Amid a Lack of Support, This Funding Collaborative Backs Jewish Arts and Culture

From Inside Philanthropy (March 26, 2021)

It’s been almost seven years since the National Foundation for Jewish Culture ceased operations. The closure of NFJC, which had been supporting Jewish artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and scholars since 1961, signified what many in the creative community were already painfully aware of: Philanthropists were not supporting Jewish arts and culture as they had in the past.

These developments alarmed Lou Cove, a senior advisor to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and founder of CANVAS, a Jewish Funders Network (JFN) collaborative that aims to create a 21st-century Jewish arts and culture renaissance. CANVAS launched in September 2019 and began making its first grants in March 2020, just as COVID-19 arrived in the United States.

Read the full article by Simone Ellin on the Inside Philanthropy site or download this PDF

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In Beacon Hill, the Golem Rises as ‘A Protector of All People’ for Passover

From The Boston Globe (March 23, 2021)

“Golem v. Golem,” Los Angeles artist Julie Weitz’s photo installation on the façade of the Vilna Shul, the historic synagogue and Jewish cultural center in Beacon Hill, is inspired by Weitz’s own confrontation with modern plagues.

“Golem v. Golem” is the centerpiece of Passover programming presented by the Jewish Arts Collaborative and Asylum Arts (other offerings are available online, in a program called “Reimagine Exodus”). It’s also part of “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” a host of Passover projects in nine cities sponsored by the [Jewish Funders Network-powered] funding collaborative CANVAS.

Read the full article by Cate McQuaid in the Boston Globe

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Ilia Salita Award to Recognize Research on Jewish Communities Worldwide

From The Jerusalem Post (March 18, 2021)

The establishment of the Ilia Salita Excellence in Research Award, funded by Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), was announced at the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) 2021 International Conference on Wednesday, March 17. The award celebrates the life and legacy of Ilia Salita z”l, GPG’s former president and CEO, who was a deeply respected and beloved figure in the Jewish philanthropic world.

The announcement was made during the plenary session of the conference by GPG CEO Marina Yudborovsky, JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny, and Josh Salita, Ilia’s eldest son. The award is inspired by Salita’s passion for informed, data-driven philanthropy and his promotion of innovative applied research techniques.

Read full article by Alan Rosenbaum in The Jerusalem Post

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Jeffrey Solomon Puts a New Focus on Teen Giving

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 16, 2021)

At this year’s Jewish Funder’s Network (JFN) conference, which began yesterday and runs through Wednesday, he’s promoting the rebranding and expansion of JFN’s youth philanthropy program, from the “Jewish Teen Funder’s Network” to “Honeycomb.” Founded in 2006, the teen network originally helped local organizations run philanthropy groups for young people. In 2017, with the hiring of Wayne Green as executive director, it created a new set of curriculum materials, in addition to training and consulting services for professionals who work with teens across Jewish settings, from federations to synagogues to camps.

Read full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.

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At Its Annual Conference, JFN Will Try to Host the ‘Hallway Chatter’ Online

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 12, 2021)

“What’s hard to replicate online is not the content, but the fact of everyone being in the same place at the same time,” David Ezer, JFN’s vice president of programs, told eJewishPhilanthropy. He knows that even after months of reflection and investment in an online platform designed to facilitate interaction, the conference might not fully succeed in turning attendees’ laptops and phones into the fabled hallways where introductions were made, ideas were pitched and deals were sometimes struck. He has lots of company in this quest; it’s part of what’s fueling the widespread popularity of Clubhouse, the informal audio-only app. Yet no interactive platform has enjoyed similar breakout success.

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.

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The Pandemic Is Teaching CEOs How to Say ‘No’

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 5, 2021)

Overwhelming stress is rooted in a sense of powerlessness, said Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, a service group for donors who give at least $25,000 a year to Jewish causes. In the beginning of the pandemic, he said, funders tried to give grantees more of a sense of control by offering more long-term funding in addition to services like technical assistance, as described in a letter to grantees signed by 18 foundations, including Crown Family Philanthropies, the Koret, Leichtag and Marcus Foundations and the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.

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Introducing the CANVAS Compendium

CANVAS, the Jewish arts and culture funding collaborative incubated at JFN, works to achieve a 21st-century Jewish cultural renaissance through grantmaking, advocacy, and education. The brand-new CANVAS Compendium is part of this effort — a newsletter designed to convey the highest quality and remarkable diversity of contemporary Jewish creativity. Sign up here to receive it in your inbox each week.

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As We Leave Egypt and Covid, We Cannot Simply ‘Go Back’ To the Past (Passover 5781)

If you have a European or Middle Eastern heritage and you grow up in the Southern Hemisphere, you suffer from permanent cognitive dissonance. You may read about stars and constellations, but you’ll never see the Ursa Major in the sky. Or you’ll find it between funny and pathetic to celebrate midwinter traditions — designed for colder climes — in the sweltering summer heat.

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Understanding the Grantee-Funder Relationship

Episode 20 of What Gives? the Jewish philanthropy podcast from Jewish Funders Network.

Dena Libman of the Azrieli Foundation and Jack Wertheimer of Jewish Theological Seminary talk about findings from Wertheimer's 2020 "Grantees and Their Funders" report, one of the catalysts for GrantED: Stronger Relationships, Greater Impact, a joint project of JFN and UpStart.

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