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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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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