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The Miracle of Small Miracles (Chanukah 5782)

Mythical stories in all cultures, which developed mostly before literacy was common, rely on portentous and unusual images to be memorable: Elijah ascending to Heaven in a chariot of fire; the Red Sea splitting for the Israelites; Jesus walking on water. These images violate the apparent order of things, so once you visualize them, your brain will make sure you remember them for good.

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JFN West Conference Featured

From eJewish Philanthropy (November 18, 2021)

JFN West's upcoming regional conference, "Be the Story -- Creating Inspired Philanthropy" was featured at the top of the eJewish Philanthropy newsletter.

JFN West, which is the organization’s first regional network, held its first conference remotely in December 2020. The theme of January’s event is “Be the Story — Creating Inspired Philanthropy,” and JFN expects between 50 and 150 attendees, including the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Diane and Guilford Glazer Family Philanthropies, individual donors and foundation staff.

“We know that storytelling is one of the most effective mechanisms for inspiring change,” said Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug, director of JFN’s West Coast office. “We will take a deep dive into the process of storytelling as a powerful philanthropic tool.”

Read the full article in eJewish Philanthropy.

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Let’s Do More Together: The Benefits of Collaborative Research Projects

From eJewish Philanthropy (November 18, 2021)

JFN members Stacie Cherner of the Jim Joseph Foundation and Menachem "Manny" Menchel of the William Davidson Foundation write about the "Career Trajectories for Jewish Educators" study they jointly funded and the programming it spawned, including a series of JFN webinars that you can watch here.

Our foundations learned a lot from each other during this research journey. We each started with different ideas about how the research would progress and the learnings we might uncover. These predictions were clearly products of our respective foundations’ lens of grantmaking—and they were proven to be too narrow. Through collaboration, the perspectives and experiences of the other grantmaker helped shape our own understanding of the research and how the findings could be relevant and usable in our work. Because of the tangible benefits we experienced, we want to continue learning with more funders and practitioners. We want more convenings and communication with other leaders. The challenge of creating a reliable pipeline of Jewish educators demands a response inspired by a larger collective. Collaboration certainly comes with challenges—we experienced those too—but, ultimately, it leads to higher quality research insights that better benefit the field.  

Read the article in eJewish Philanthropy.

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Leadership Changes at JFN Israel

After more than a decade of outstanding service, Maya Natan will step down from her role as Executive Director of JFN Israel. While we will of course miss Maya, we're delighted that she is leaving JFN Israel in excellent and very capable hands: Sigal Yaniv Feller, the Deputy Director and Senior Director of Advisory Services at JFN Israel, will become JFN Israel's new Executive Director.

Maya’s contribution to JFN and to the field of philanthropy in Israel is truly beyond measure. She built a remarkable team and brought JFN Israel from a small, niche operation to a philanthropic powerhouse with enormous influence in Israel and beyond. 

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Impact Investing Certificate Course Featured

From eJewish Philanthropy (November 12, 2021)

JFN's new Certificate Course in Jewish Impact Investing was featured at the top of eJewish Philanthropy's daily newsletter. 

The Jewish Funders Network (JFN), known for offering its members classes and resources about philanthropic practices and issue areas, is offering an eight-week class about impact investing with New York University (NYU), its first-ever course in partnership with a university, JFN CEO Andres Spokoiny told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“The field of impact investing has grown enormously in the last few years, and this is another milestone in our community benefiting from this emerging practice,” Spokoiny said.

An introduction to investing in ventures that pursue both profit and social goals, the course will also serve as a professional credential. It was designed by Michael Lustig, a philanthropist and proponent of the practice who is a professor of finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

JFN board members Vanessa Bartram and Douglas Bitonti Stewart have also helped encourage a conversation about impact investing among JFN’s members, who give a minimum of $25,000 a year in the name of Jewish values. JFN hopes the course will inspire more foundations to consider impact investing, Spokoiny said.

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Philanthropic Lessons from an Epic Syrian Relief Effort

From eJewish Philanthropy (November 11, 2021)

 

In this op-ed, JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny shares the philanthropic lessons that can be learned from former JFN Board Chair Georgette Bennett's book, "Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By." As he notes, the lessons are "not unique to a civil war or a natural disaster but can be applied to any philanthropic field."

 

Read the article on eJewish Philanthropy.

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Georgette Bennett: Bringing Together Jews and Muslims to Help Refugees

Episode 25 of What Gives? the Jewish philanthropy podcast from Jewish Funders Network.

JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny talks to former JFN Board Chair Georgette Bennett talks about her new book, "Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By," about growing up the child of Jewish refugees, and how to forge multifaith coalitions.

 

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Get a Certificate in Jewish Impact Investing!

Want your investments to reflect your values? Wish you had more tools available for doing good? JFN is partnering with New York University to offer an eight-week online course, starting on January 4, 2022.

Participants will earn an NYU Executive Education Certificate and, with it, the knowledge and skills to begin making their (or their foundation’s) assets yield social as well as financial returns. 

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Yasher Koach to JFN's Georgette Bennett!

JFN's Former Board Chair Dr. Georgette Bennett's new book, "Though Shall Not Stand Idly By," is hot off the presses! Published by Post Hill Press, the book documents how Georgette helped bring together Israelis, American Jews, and people from a wide range of backgrounds to mobilize a massive relief effort for Syrian refugees.

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Nominations Are Open for Two JFN Awards

I'm delighted to announce that nominations are now open for two important awards given by JFN:

  • The Ilia Salita Excellence in Research Award (ERA) recognizes and highlights research projects that can impact Jewish life in a direct and positive way. This is a brand-new award! More details are here and below!
  • The J.J. Greenberg Memorial Award honors foundation professionals engaged in grantmaking, age 40 and under, who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in Jewish philanthropy. More details are here and below!
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