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]

Philanthropic Lessons from an Epic Syrian Relief Effort

From eJewish Philanthropy (November 11, 2021)


In this op-ed, JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny shares the philanthropic lessons that can be learned from former JFN Board Chair Georgette Bennett's book, "Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By." As he notes, the lessons are "not unique to a civil war or a natural disaster but can be applied to any philanthropic field."


Read the article on eJewish Philanthropy.


Why This Israeli Foundation Professional Is Pushing Colleagues to Go Green

From eJewish Philanthropy (October 12, 2021)

This article is about efforts by Tali Yariv-Mashal, an active member of JFN's Green Funders Forum, to encourage Jewish and Israeli philanthropists to address climate concerns. Tali, Director of the Beracha Foundation and Chair of the Israel Forum of Foundations, helped draft an international pledge that aims to persuade foundations to integrate environmental awareness and action into their work. The “International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change,” was created under the auspices of WINGS, an international membership organization that supports foundations and facilitates collaboration between them.

Read the article by Helen Chernikoff on eJewish Philanthropy.


Connecting Jewish Youth to Their Faith through Giving

From Insights, the newsletter of Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (September 14, 2021)

In this essay, Wayne Green of JFN's Honeycomb, writes about the importance of Jewish youth philanthropy programs in shaping the next generation of committed Jews and Jewish funders.

What does our giving say about us? This is a good question for teens to ask themselves as they begin their journey of learning to do philanthropy well.

As adults and educators working with teens, there are important questions to ask ourselves as well. How do we represent our experiences and learnings from childhood with the teens with whom we work? What are the core principles of religion, ‘ah-ha’ moments from our experiences, stories shared from grandparents and ancestors long gone, and the family and faith traditions that inspire us to act to make change for good today? How can we inspire youth to draw on these questions during their philanthropic journey?

Read the full piece here.


Is Zionism Part of Judaism?

From Tablet Magazine (September 12, 2021)

In this essay, JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny weighs in on the "sometimes acrid debate about 'the boundaries of community' that expresses itself mostly around the issue of Zionism and whether being an anti-Zionist puts one 'beyond the pale.'”

While acknowledging that "some of the vitriol against anti-Zionists is excessive and even dangerous," Spokoiny writes that the "non-exclusionary position ignores something central: Judaism, like any other culture, has normative positions that set the limits of belonging. But throughout Jewish history, new ideological positions became normative, and others were weeded out or excluded. The fact that an ideology was rooted in Jewish sources didn’t guarantee automatic acceptance."

Read the full piece in Tablet.


Jewish Philanthropists Debate MacKenzie Scott’s Giving Strategy

From eJewish Philanthropy (September 10, 2021)


“We’re hearing her name being mentioned as an example,” said Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, executive vice president of the Jewish Funders Network, (JFN), a service organization that is open to donors who give a minimum of $25,000 annually in the name of Jewish values.

Scott’s philanthropic style, which Sager called “trust-based philanthropy,” dovetails neatly with “GrantED,” an initiative of JFN and UpStart that aims to strengthen relationships between grant makers and grantees. GrantED fosters conversations about power dynamics between donors and recipients and educates funders about the need for unrestricted grants that aren’t tied to any one specific program and can be used for general operating support, Sirbu said.

“Racial justice. Educational access. These are big issues Scott’s investing in,” Sirbu said. “She’s inspiring donors to think more about long-term impact.”


Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.


Healing the World, One Network at a Time

From Jewish Standard (July 21, 2021)

Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu of Teaneck has always been interested in both healing and Judaism. Her goal has been to combine those two areas, using one to advance the other.

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Jewish Youth Feel Morality Is Essential to Their Jewish Identity

From Jerusalem Post (July 20, 2021)

In this op-ed, Wayne Green of JFN's Honeycomb (formerly the Jewish Teen Funders Network) explains why the latest Pew Report on Jewish Americans findings highlight the importance of Jewish youth philanthropy programs.

Read the article here.


The Miracle of Jewish Pandemic Giving

From Mosaic Magazine (June 28, 2021)

As for giving by foundations, we have some limited information from a survey conducted by the Jewish Funders Network at the end 2020, covering the first six months of the pandemic. Slightly over half had departed from the previous focus of their giving by supporting basic human needs. Over 85 percent had made emergency grants to address coronavirus relief, totaling over $400 million. Three-quarters increased their outlay of grant funds. And almost all intended to continue giving at the same rate or higher in 2021. (These data were indicative of trends, though the exact percentages may be off, in part because only 30 percent of JFN members responded and not all were foundations.)


Read the full article by Jack Wertheimer in Mosaic Magazine.


Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu Is Bringing Her Brand of Jewish Wisdom to the Jewish Funders Network

From eJewish Philanthropy (June 25, 2021)

Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu has worked in Jewish Community Centers, large nonprofits and small startups. She has run drumming circles, rabbinic networks and websites. The connective tissue is her passion for drawing on Jewish wisdom to heal others, and that’s what she’s determined to bring to her new job as executive vice president at the Jewish Funders Network (JFN), Sirbu told eJewishPhilanthropy.

“Foundations need help in the work of healing others,” she said. “We’re helping bring together foundations so that they can help heal the world.”

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy


Charitable Giving from Foundations Rose 17 Percent During the Pandemic

From eJewish Philanthropy (June 16, 2021)

The Jewish Funders Network (JFN), a service organization for foundations, federations and individuals, reported that 72% of its members gave more in 2020 than in previous years, and 57% of those members plan to maintain those higher giving levels, said the group’s CEO, Andres Spokoiny. Slightly more than half of the membership started giving in new issue areas during the pandemic, he added.

“Not only was more money given, but the giving was smarter and more efficient,” he said. “Funders partnered more and eliminated bureaucratic burdens on grantees.”

Read more