JFN in the News

The latest articles in the media about JFN, as well as op-eds published by JFN members and staff. For a list of articles from before December 2020, email JFN Communications Director Julie Wiener at [email protected]

Looking To Make Your Grantmaking More Inclusive? Try Participatory Grantmaking.

From eJewish Philanthropy (May 18, 2022)

One of the most famous lines from Pirkei Avot, the compilation of Talmudic wisdom that it’s customary to read at this time of year, is Bar Zoma’s question: “Who is wise? He who learns from all people.”

This teaching is at the heart of participatory grantmaking, an inclusive philanthropic approach that encourages funders to learn from – and in some cases share decision-making power with — the individuals and communities that the funding is designed to benefit.

Read op-ed by JFN Senior Program Director Tamar Frydman in eJP.

Download JFN's "Participatory Grantmaking in the Jewish Community and Beyond."



JFN West Regional Conference Urges Participants to ‘Be the Story’

From eJewish Philanthropy (May 13, 2022)

On arrival at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel earlier this week, there was joyful reunion in the form of cautious hugs, elbow bumps and smiles from mostly maskless participants in the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) West conference, as some 50 philanthropists and fundraising professionals from the western United States gathered for nearly two days of discussion and writing.

“You’re here today because you want to learn, you want to be even more strategic and impactful in your giving, and you want to do it in community with other funders,” JFN West Director Tzivia Schwartz Getzug said in introductory remarks at the event.

Read full article by Esther Kustanowitz in eJewish Philanthropy

Learn more about Be the Story, JFN West's first-ever in-personal regional convening.


It’s Time to Bring Back In-Person Gatherings: Here’s How

From eJewish Philanthropy (May 2, 2022)

“It is so great to be together in person again!”

Last month, at the Jewish Funders Network conference in Palm Beach, Fla., I heard variations of this statement over and over again. After two years of COVID, more than 500 members of our philanthropic community were finally able to meet up in person for a mix of structured programming and informal networking. It was magical! 

As one of the first major Jewish organizations to hold a large in-person conference since COVID upended our lives two years ago, we have learned a lot about how to return safely to in-person gatherings at a time when the pandemic has abated, but not disappeared — a situation that may continue for a long time. In-person gatherings require more planning now than they did in pre-COVID times, but at JFN, we strongly believe that it is worth the extra effort. While we will continue to supplement our in-person gatherings with online ones, we are an organization focused on building networks and relationships, which need human, in-person connections in order to grow and thrive. Because this is a new world that presents new challenges, we thought that sharing our experience may be of help for the broader community as more of us seek to regain the magic of “in person.”

Here are 10 lessons learned...

Read the full article by JFN Executive Vice President Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu in eJewish Philanthropy


How Israeli Philanthropy Is Changing in the COVID Era

From eJewish Philanthropy (April 28, 2022)


“There’s a steady rise, slow but stable, in the amount of money donated and the number of donors giving in Israel,” Sigal Yaniv Feller, executive director of the Jewish Funders Network in Israel, told eJP. “More people understand that it’s important to give, and have the ability to give.”

Historically, Israel was a developing nation whose populace had a strong tradition of volunteerism and national service, rather than a culture of financial giving. Israel’s mandatory draft, which conscripts most 18-year-olds for two to three years, continues to reinforce an Israel ethos of giving time and physical energy. As of 2020, Israelis on average donated 1% of their disposable income, as opposed to Americans, who donated 2% on average.

But there are signs that as Israel has become more affluent, and particularly as its tech sector has brought wealth to the country, Israelis are beginning to open their wallets. According to a study commissioned by the government and Tel Aviv University, Israeli philanthropy grew 43% between 2009 and 2015 in total shekels given, and native Israeli philanthropy accounted for more than a third of donations in the country.


Read full article by Linda Gradstein and Ben Sales in eJewish Philanthropy


Incoming UAE Envoy to the Vatican Says Warming Ties with Israel is the Real Deal

From The Circuit (April 11, 2022)

Speaking to JI on the sidelines of the recent Jewish Funders Network Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Ghobash, 50, who is a well-known diplomat, businessman and author in his own country, will soon be at the forefront of interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance in the Vatican as his country leads a historic process in the Arab world to encourage peaceful relations with the world’s only Jewish state.

Ghobash explained that because the UAE is a “leadership organized society,” everyone looks to the royals for guidance, and his fellow countrymen have chosen to embrace the historic steps taken over the past two years by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, better known by his initials, MBZ.

Read the full article by Ruth Eglash in The Circuit


How Jewish Funders Are Mobilizing to Fight Climate Change

From Inside Philanthropy (April 6, 2022)

Jewish voters care deeply about climate change. In 2020, prior to the United States presidential elections, 80% of Jewish voters told pollsters that climate change was a major concern. In fact, climate change was Jewish voters’ No. 2 issue, just below the coronavirus pandemic. Since vaccines have become available, climate change has replaced COVID-19 as the issue that matters most to them.

That level of concern shows up in Jewish philanthropy, as well. There is a large and growing ecosystem of Jewish donors prioritizing climate change, motivated by a combination of care for their communities, concerns over inequality and suffering, and any number of other core Jewish values. And those involved see it as a critical cause that others should be taking up, one in which Jewish voices have a unique role to play.

This article mentions JFN's Green Funders Forum, quotes JFN Israel Executive Director Sigal Yaniv Feller, and quotes JFN members Marla Stein and Stephen Bronfman.

Read the full article by Simone Ellin in Inside Philanthropy. JFN members get a 25 percent discount on Inside Philanthropy subscriptions. Learn more and get your discount code here.




Amid Rise in Terror, Arab Israeli Minister Says Abraham Accords Can Spark Peace with Palestinians

From Jewish Insider (April 4, 2022)

“The Middle East is like a picture, with Israel and other countries, the Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and Jordanian in the frame, but the picture is not complete without the Palestinians,” said [Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi] Frej, who was in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week to attend the Jewish Funders Network Conference.

Read the full article by Ruth Eglash in Jewish Insider.


How the Big Givers Are Looking at the Post-Pandemic Jewish World

From Jewish Telegraphic Agency (April 3, 2022)

In a good year, the annual conference of the Jewish Funders Network functions like a Jewish Aspen Institute: The Jewish fundraising elite, from private and family foundations that represent about $6 billion in annual philanthropy, gather to discuss the Next Big Ideas in Jewish life and who is going to pay for them.

And if this was hardly a good year, it was the first time in three years that the members were able to gather in person, from Sunday through Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida. Some 540 people took part; according to JFN’s president and CEO Andrés Spokoiny, about 60% were funders themselves, and 40% professionals representing foundations and other Jewish philanthropies.

Read the full article by Andrew Silow-Carroll on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency


Takeaways From This Year’s Jewish Funders Network Conference

From eJewish Philanthropy (March 30, 2022)

Most attendees at the Jewish Funders Network International Conference, which wrapped up yesterday afternoon in Palm Beach, Fla., appeared to agree on one thing: It was nice to be back in person — to meet at the hotel bar, to have spontaneous brainstorming sessions with colleagues, to see people, as several attendees said, “in three dimensions” — not on Zoom.

Beyond that, attendees told eJewishPhilanthropy that a few trends emerged from the three-day gathering, the organization’s first in-person conference since 2019: Everyone is eager to keep aiding Ukrainian refugees. People also said they want to see more collaboration between foundations and grantees — though it’s unclear how many funders will take up JFN’s call for “participatory grant making,” which would let grantees in on funding decisions.

Read the full article by Ben Sales on eJewish Philanthropy.


Philanthropists Share Ideas, Concerns at Jewish Funders Network Conference

From the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle (March 29, 2022)

For the 500 attendees of the first in-person Jewish Funders Network conference since the pandemic, philanthropy is much more than just writing a check.

It’s collaborative, strategic and data-driven.

Read the full article by Toby Tabachnik in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle