JFN’s annual conference is the premier event in Jewish philanthropy.
Hundreds of funders and foundation professionals come together to leverage the power of networks and immerse themselves in a vibrant dialogue about the pressing issues. Every conference is a place to connect, reunite, and bond with other Jewish funders, and a time for active learning. Panel discussions and programs feature leading experts in philanthropy illuminating tools and techniques that can make your giving more impactful and meaningful.
On this page you will find highlights from some of our recent conferences. For those of you who were at any of them, it will bring back some great memories. If you haven’t been yet, you’ll see why it’s a good idea to plan now to be at the 2018 conference in Israel March 11–15.
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#JFN2017 included plenary presentations from Sherry Turkle, Yehuda Kurtzer, Joshua Foer, Paul Bennett, and Becca Heller, as well as musical performances by the New England Conservatory of Music's Jewish Music Ensemble, Polyphony Ensemble, and Niv Ashkenazi.
2016: San Diego
Another record-breaking conference, #JFN2016 included plenary presentations from Israel Story, Jake Porway, and Randi Zuckerberg.
2015: Tel Aviv
The 2015 JFN International Conference in Tel Aviv broke our all-time participant record with over 560 attendees.
- Pre-conference program: Impact Investing Conference hosted by Impact Investing Israel;
- Breakout sessions that focused on a range of issues such as multigenerational giving, renewing Jewish identity in Israel, international and cross-sector funding, and giving circles, among many others;
- Themed site visit tours on:
- The Social Start-Up Nation, which explored the nature of social startups, discussed how to encourage new social ventures, met with profitable startups, and visited the incubators that make Israel a unique environment in which innovators thrive.
- Revitalizing Jerusalem, which investigated a cultural revolution taking place in the ancient city to change the status quo and attract a younger population to live, work, and study.
- Lines in the Sand – Fighting What Pulls us Apart, which looked at how and where Israel’s multifaceted populations interact, and asked how can philanthropy support an atmosphere of shared citizenship?
- Networking galore throughout the conference, with special opportunities at our first-time attendee welcome reception, opening night party, and home hospitality dinners on Tuesday night!
2014: Miami Beach
With more than 370 attendees, this was our biggest U.S. conference to date.
The 2014 conference was where JFN awarded the first Shapiro Prize for Excellence in Philanthropic Collaboration. Read more here.
2013: Los Angeles
Hundreds of Jewish philanthropists went Hollywood. Actually, they were in Beverly Hills. But it was still an incredible three days where funders and foundation professionals attended dozens of panels and workshops that tackled various funding areas and took an in-depth look at the latest grantmaking techniques.
Take a look at the program guide to see just how much is on offer at a typical conference. These articles from The Jewish Week and The Jewish Journal offer useful, concise summaries of some conference happenings. If you want to take a more comprehensive look at such topics as impact investing, day school affordability, and responsive grantmaking, videos of many of the panels can be viewed here.
2012: Tel Aviv
More than 400 funders and foundation professionals descended on the Tel Aviv Hilton (also site of the 2015 conference) to not only strengthen personal connections and build new partnerships, which are hallmarks of any JFN conference, but to also experience close-up the increasingly vibrant Israeli philanthropic landscape that was being redefined by the growing number of entrepreneurs and business leaders who were taking a more active hand in giving.
JFN was honored to hear from former Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres on opening night. "Leadership in our time is not to be on top, but to be ahead. If you want to be a leader you need the confidence of the people that you will serve them, not rule them," Peres said. Watch Peres's entire address below.
2009: St. Petersburg, FL
Attendees were treated to a lively discussion between Cory Booker, then mayor of poverty-wracked Newark, N.J., and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who leads Israel's poorest city. They talked about public-private partnerships to aid cities, efforts that could involve philanthropies. Booker, now New Jersey's junior senator, said the idea of tikkun olam needed to be applied on a broader scale in order to take on the more intractable problems that face many cities. Watch the full session below.