JFN Awards Inaugural Shapiro Prize to Foundation for Jewish Camp

MIAMI BEACH, March 9, 2014—The Jewish Funders Network has named the Foundation for Jewish Camp as the inaugural recipient of the Shapiro Prize for Excellence in Philanthropic Collaboration, for being the first funder collaboration to advocate for, promote, and strengthen Jewish camps on a wide scale.

“This is an excellent example of how a consortium of funders can achieve a dramatic and lasting impact that a single funder could not have achieved alone,” said Andrés Spokoiny, JFN President and CEO. “Thanks to the funders’ joint thinking and efforts thousands of children each year experience the joy of camp and have a richer and more meaningful camp experience.”

The new prize recognizes alliances of forward-thinking Jewish funders who collaborate to achieve broader impact in their chosen fields of interest. It was presented Sunday at the annual JFN conference in Miami Beach.

Until FJC was founded in1998 by Elisa Spungen Bildner and her husband Robert Bildner, Jewish camps ran independently or within their religious movements. The Bildners envisioned collaborating with other funders, and received support from The Samuel Bronfman Foundation and The Wexner Foundation.

“We are beyond grateful to the Wexners and the Samuel Bronfman Foundation for their faith in the Foundation for Jewish Camp some 16 years ago,” said Elisa Spungen Bildner, a JFN board member and former JFN chair. “We hope that they, like those we collaborate with now, and those we hope will join us in the future, experience the thrill of knowing that they have had a positive imprimatur on the shape of Jewish life.”

The creation of FJC expanded support for the field and brought long-term vitality to more camps and their programming.

“We are thrilled about JFN's recognition of our leadership in creating the Foundation," Robert Bildner said. "The Foundation's efforts have resulted in over $250 million of investment in the field of Jewish camp, transforming the field.”

Sidney Shapiro was a founding JFN Board member whose philanthropy was characterized as being responsive to pressing societal needs. Shapiro, who died in 2007, served as executive director of the Levinson Foundation, and was an early funder of Lilith magazine, the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education and the chavurah movement.

An award in Shapiro’s name has been given by JFN since 1997, and was previously called the Sidney Shapiro Tzedakah Award.