Victorian Bushfires Jewish Relief Appeal

As you may be aware, the beautiful land of Australia is burning. The country is experiencing the most devastating bushfires in its history. So far, more than 10 million hectares of Australian land has been burned. At least 28 people have died and over 2,000 homes destroyed. It’s been estimated that around 1.25 billion animals have been killed across Australia to date. No superlatives are able to describe the magnitude of this disaster. The damage is incalculable and it’s affecting the entire country.

The Jewish Community of Australia, led by local JFN members and our partner organization, Australian Jewish Funders has organized an appeal to provide immediate help to the areas affected as well as long-term relief and reconstruction.

We would like to support our friends in Australia with their appeal, donations can be made via JFN, please contact either Nan Rossien at JFN or Tracie Olcha at AJF. 

Andrés 

Below is a letter from Tracie Olcha, CEO of Australian Jewish Funders (AJF). 

 

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The Decline and Fall of Every Revolution (Hanukkah 5780)

22 years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev found himself in a situation he never imagined he’d be in: broke.

This was the man who had led a world superpower, signed groundbreaking nuclear arms control agreements, and initiated a transformation of the Soviet Union that  eventually transformed it into a free market economy before collapsing its domination of Eastern Europe into an outbreak of freedom.

In 1997, however, he was on the brink of bankruptcy. In what must have been an excruciating decision, and one which brought him ridicule, he agreed to film a commercial for Pizza Hut.

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What Israel Can Learn from the Hasmoneans

The Forward, December 19, 2019.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Israel is locked in conflict over how to treat non-Jewish people living in the land. Stark divisions are growing between radically different visions of what being Jewish means. Tensions are rising as lines blur between religious and civil authority. And the nation’s relationship with the world’s dominant superpower grows both closer and more fraught.

Welcome to 100 BCE.

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Successful Leadership Transitions in the Jewish Community

We are in the midst of a major demographic shift in leadership in the Jewish community. By some counts, 75-90% of our leaders are turning over right now. And a CEO transition can be a time of great potential risk or reward for an organization. So what makes for a successful CEO transition? How can lay leaders ensure a smooth leadership succession process?

Leading Edge, an organization founded in 2014 to address the leadership pipeline challenges in the Jewish community, recently published six case studies that break down successful CEO transitions at American Jewish World Service, Bend the Arc, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a JCC in the Midwest, Spertus, and Tufts Hillel.

Join Gali Cooks, President & CEO of Leading Edge, and Eben Harrell, Senior Editor at the Harvard Business Review and author of the case study series, for a conversation about the stories they unpacked and the lessons they learned from these case studies.

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Before the Next Recession, Philanthropy Needs to Redefine Efficiency

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), December 17, 2019.

In a crisis, short-term efficiency can be a shock amplifier. Long-term efficiency comes from building resilient institutions.

There will be another recession. Some economic indicators are already pointing in that direction, like the U.S. Treasury Bond yield curve. It may be mild or severe, and it may be sooner or later. But while we can’t predict the timing or severity, we can be certain that it’s coming. And so, we should be ready.

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Glass ceilings are made of glass, not concrete

(Pictured above: Ibrahim Nsasra, Yosi Nitzan (Mayor of Lehavim), Faez Abu Sahiben (Mayor of Rahat), Nir Zamir (Mayor of Bnai Shimon Regional Council), Sandrine Monstma (Bridges Israel) and Moshe Powel (Idan HANegev) after signing the economic partnership agreement between Bridges and Tamam.)

JFN Israel member and social impact investor Ibrahim Nsasra shares with the JFN international community his personal journey towards impact investment in Bedouin society.

In order to break through glass ceilings, one must first deeply internalize that they are constructed of glass and not concrete. 

For those of you who I have not yet had the pleasure to meet, my name is Ibrahim Nsasra. I am married to Naama and we have four children and we live in the Negev town of Lakiya, where I grew up with my 32 brothers and sisters. I am a 38-year old Bedouin economic and social entrepreneur.

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Change Agents: The Goals and Impact of Women's Foundations and Funds

By Women's Philanthropy Institute 

Women’s foundations and funds are a diverse and dynamic group of organizations with a history of leading philanthropy dedicated to women and girls.

Change Agents: The Goals and Impact of Women’s Foundations and Funds builds on the Women's Philanthropy Institute's previous research, including the recent Women & Girls Index report, to better understand how these organizations set goals, measure impact, and take action to advance women.

The study highlights ways that women’s foundations and funds provide a model for how philanthropic groups create social change, particularly within their local communities.

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A Perfect Political (and Electoral) Storm

An analysis by Yohanan Plesner, president of the non-partisan Israel Democracy Institute.

See also: Israeli Elections 2019, Take 2: What's at Stake?

With just days before the last deadline on before the Knesset disperses and Israelis head to a third national election within the past twelve months the political Gordian Knot that has tied up the country for almost a year has only gotten more complicated.  Complicating matters further is Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on one count of bribery and three charges of fraud and breach of trust.  A perfect storm of electoral deadlock coupled with a prime minister enmeshed in complex legal problems has left Israelis feeling that the system is lacking the tools needed to extract us from this situation.  On the other hand, the country continues to operate.  Unlike the reality in the US during government shutdowns, schools are open, government workers are showing up and taxes are being collected.

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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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