Jewish Funders Network Unveils Guides to Enable Smarter Giving by Funders

NEW YORK, January 9, 2014—The Jewish Funders Network today launched a series of guides aimed at supporting funders to optimize the impact of their giving.

Called Greenbooks, they are written specifically for funders. Each guide will focus on a specific funding area in the Jewish community, outline issues, strategies and approaches funders can utilize as they seek to effect change.

 “Everyone is just looking for information that allows them to maximize their investment, whether they are investing time or money or whether they are looking to make a profit or have an impact,” said Ruthie Rotenberg, Director of Peer Networks at the Jewish Funders Network, who conceived the Greenbooks while a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow. While each Greenbook will explore a different topic, all will:

  • Be objective and thorough, featuring multiple approaches
  • Be grounded in practical considerations for funders
  • Include concrete steps and ideas for discussion

The Greenbooks will be coupled with JFN Greenbook Salons, a series of funder-discussion groups that will take place in different cities about issues raised in the Greenbooks. Each guide also includes instructions and discussion questions that funders can use to facilitate independent discussions.

 “The timing for this could not be better,” said Dorothy Tananbaum, chair of the JFN Board of Directors. “With so many different types of challenges currently facing the Jewish community, even large foundations have a hard time staying on top of the latest approaches. I look forward to using this resource so we can spend less time researching and more time actually working to solve problems.”

The first Greenbook is “Jewish Day School Financial Sustainability and Affordability: A Guide for Funders,” by Daniel M. Held, a doctoral student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. It was reviewed by an advisory group of active day school funders.

“When it comes to creating more affordable Jewish day schools, we have seen a great amount of frustration but also some great ideas,” said Daniel Perla, program officer in day school finance at the AVI CHAI Foundation, which funded the launch of Greenbooks and the first two guides. “What there hasn’t been until now is a single source to turn to for ideas and discussion as we all work toward finding better ways to strengthen our schools.”

The next Greenbook, to be released this year, will focus on programs that work to strengthen Jewish life and identity in Israel. JFN intends to release two Greenbooks annually.

Please go to to download the Greenbook or to purchase a copy.