Jewish Arts Institutions Respond to Racial Injustice—and Covid-19

From Hadassah Magazine (January 2021):

"...As they weather the corona-virus storm, arts institutions are facing what Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, executive director of the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM), described as “an existential upheaval.” Particularly hard hit are the centers with small endowments that depend on admissions fees and gift shop sales for the bulk of their revenue. One such place is the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Seventy-five percent of its $11.5 million operating budget comes from such income; by April of last year, the museum laid off or furloughed more than 100 full-time and part-time staffers and reduced its budget by 70 percent.

In May, in response to the financial needs in the Jewish arts and culture field across the United States, a consortium of five Jewish foundations working with the Jewish Funders Network launched the CANVAS initiative, which funneled more than $900,000 to the Council of American Jewish Museums, the Jewish Book Council, LABA and other groups to distribute to Jewish institutions and individual artists..."

Read full article in Hadassah Magazine.


Dan Ariely: The Brain Science of Doing Good

Episode 18 of What Gives? the Jewish philanthropy podcast from Jewish Funders Network.

Israeli-American behavioral economist, Wall Street Journal columnist and best-selling author Dan Ariely is an advisor to Keshet, the new donor-advised fund JFN and its partners brought to Israel. In this episode, he talks to JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny about strategies for promoting positive social outcomes, including getting people to be more philanthropic. They also discuss uniquely Israeli approaches to problem-solving, how Dan's personal history shaped his career, and the cookbook he wants to write.

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Behind a Pledge to Mobilize Billions in New Giving for Jewish Causes

Inside Philanthropy, January 11, 2021

"It’s been more than a decade since billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates launched the Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages the most affluent people in the world to join Buffett and the Gateses in donating most of their wealth to charity. 

Enter the Jewish Future Pledge—a new campaign that’s based in part on the Giving Pledge but geared toward Jewish philanthropists of all income brackets." 


Andrés Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network and a member of the Jewish Future Pledge’s advisory board defended the effort, as well as financial tools such as endowments and DAFs."


Read the full article by Simone Ellin in Inside Philanthropy.


Conference Registration Opening Soon

I’m thrilled to announce that registration for our 2021 International Conference will open in just a few more days.


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Israel Heads Toward Its Fourth Elections

After failing to meet the December 22 deadline for passing a budget, Israel's Knesset has now dispersed, and the country is headed towards a once unfathomable fourth election in less than two years. It should now be clear that the country will be stuck in this seemingly intractable situation of recurring elections until one of two things occur. Either a government will eventually be formed without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or he will eventually achieve a majority in the Knesset that allows the passage of laws or regulations that stall, or completely halt, his trial on corruption charges. The results of the last three elections in 2019-2020 did not allow for either of these scenarios. We are about to see if the results from the fourth elections in 2021 will be any different.

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Jewish Philanthropists Have Increased Their Giving During the Pandemic

According to a recent report by the Jewish Funders Network, a majority of Jewish donors are rethinking their strategies in response to the pandemic, loosening application requirements for grants and increasingly giving unrestricted gifts that can be used for any purpose rather than for specific projects or new programs.

“We’ve been talking about this for years but when the pandemic hit, people really adopted wholeheartedly this more flexible way of giving,” said Andres Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network.

Read "Jewish philanthropists have increased their giving during the pandemic — but prioritizing causes has never been more difficult" in JTA.


Our Top Videos and Podcasts for 2020

Happy New Year!

While I can't imagine any of us will be sorry to bid adieu to 2020, I am proud that JFN members have responded to the Covid pandemic, as well as other challenges this year, with generosity, thoughtfulness, and passion.

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JFN Report in the Jerusalem Post

Jewish charitable giving has increased exponentially amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by the Jewish Funders Network (JFN). 

The study notes that Jewish philanthropists and foundations "significantly" increased charitable donations during the ongoing health crisis - awarding more grants in areas previously ignored, while loosening reporting and application requirements to receive said grants.

Read the full article in The Jerusalem Post.

Download a PDF of the article.

Download the JFN report.


Israeli DAFs Featured in Inside Philanthropy

Thanks to the work of JFN Israel, donor-advised funds are now available in Israel, and we are confident they will be a game-changer for Israeli philanthropy.

Inside Philanthropy, a leading philanthropy website, recently published this article about JFN Israel and Keshet-DAF, the nongovernmental organization we established together with our partners at Tel Aviv University's Institute for Law and Philanthropy and the Committed to Give organization. 

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JFN Members Increased and Expanded Their Giving This Year

I’m delighted to share an important new report have published documenting JFN members’ generous philanthropy during the first six months of the Covid pandemic.

Our study finds that faced with unprecedented needs, Jewish philanthropists and foundations significantly increased their giving, broadened their giving to include more grantees in areas they had not previously funded, and loosened their reporting and application requirements. And the overwhelming majority plan to continue giving at the same level or higher in the next 12 months.

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