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]

Amid a Lack of Support, This Funding Collaborative Backs Jewish Arts and Culture

From Inside Philanthropy (March 26, 2021)

It’s been almost seven years since the National Foundation for Jewish Culture ceased operations. The closure of NFJC, which had been supporting Jewish artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and scholars since 1961, signified what many in the creative community were already painfully aware of: Philanthropists were not supporting Jewish arts and culture as they had in the past.

These developments alarmed Lou Cove, a senior advisor to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and founder of CANVAS, a Jewish Funders Network (JFN) collaborative that aims to create a 21st-century Jewish arts and culture renaissance. CANVAS launched in September 2019 and began making its first grants in March 2020, just as COVID-19 arrived in the United States.

Read the full article by Simone Ellin on the Inside Philanthropy site or download this PDF


In Beacon Hill, the Golem Rises as ‘A Protector of All People’ for Passover

From The Boston Globe (March 23, 2021)

“Golem v. Golem,” Los Angeles artist Julie Weitz’s photo installation on the façade of the Vilna Shul, the historic synagogue and Jewish cultural center in Beacon Hill, is inspired by Weitz’s own confrontation with modern plagues.

“Golem v. Golem” is the centerpiece of Passover programming presented by the Jewish Arts Collaborative and Asylum Arts (other offerings are available online, in a program called “Reimagine Exodus”). It’s also part of “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” a host of Passover projects in nine cities sponsored by the [Jewish Funders Network-powered] funding collaborative CANVAS.

Read the full article by Cate McQuaid in the Boston Globe


Ilia Salita Award to Recognize Research on Jewish Communities Worldwide

From The Jerusalem Post (March 18, 2021)

The establishment of the Ilia Salita Excellence in Research Award, funded by Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), was announced at the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) 2021 International Conference on Wednesday, March 17. The award celebrates the life and legacy of Ilia Salita z”l, GPG’s former president and CEO, who was a deeply respected and beloved figure in the Jewish philanthropic world.

The announcement was made during the plenary session of the conference by GPG CEO Marina Yudborovsky, JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny, and Josh Salita, Ilia’s eldest son. The award is inspired by Salita’s passion for informed, data-driven philanthropy and his promotion of innovative applied research techniques.

Read full article by Alan Rosenbaum in The Jerusalem Post


Jeffrey Solomon Puts a New Focus on Teen Giving

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 16, 2021)

At this year’s Jewish Funder’s Network (JFN) conference, which began yesterday and runs through Wednesday, he’s promoting the rebranding and expansion of JFN’s youth philanthropy program, from the “Jewish Teen Funder’s Network” to “Honeycomb.” Founded in 2006, the teen network originally helped local organizations run philanthropy groups for young people. In 2017, with the hiring of Wayne Green as executive director, it created a new set of curriculum materials, in addition to training and consulting services for professionals who work with teens across Jewish settings, from federations to synagogues to camps.

Read full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.


At Its Annual Conference, JFN Will Try to Host the ‘Hallway Chatter’ Online

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 12, 2021)

“What’s hard to replicate online is not the content, but the fact of everyone being in the same place at the same time,” David Ezer, JFN’s vice president of programs, told eJewishPhilanthropy. He knows that even after months of reflection and investment in an online platform designed to facilitate interaction, the conference might not fully succeed in turning attendees’ laptops and phones into the fabled hallways where introductions were made, ideas were pitched and deals were sometimes struck. He has lots of company in this quest; it’s part of what’s fueling the widespread popularity of Clubhouse, the informal audio-only app. Yet no interactive platform has enjoyed similar breakout success.

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.


The Pandemic Is Teaching CEOs How to Say ‘No’

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (March 5, 2021)

Overwhelming stress is rooted in a sense of powerlessness, said Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, a service group for donors who give at least $25,000 a year to Jewish causes. In the beginning of the pandemic, he said, funders tried to give grantees more of a sense of control by offering more long-term funding in addition to services like technical assistance, as described in a letter to grantees signed by 18 foundations, including Crown Family Philanthropies, the Koret, Leichtag and Marcus Foundations and the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.


JFN's Andrés Spokoiny, Natan's Felicia Herman and Others On How a Jewish Communal Apocalypse Was Avoided

Why haven't we seen the dire institutional turbulence that many predicted a year ago? Yehuda Kurtzer discusses the lessons of 2008 and the role of Jewish philanthropy in the pandemic with guests from three major philanthropic organizations on this week's episode of the Identity/Crisis podcast.

Read more

Mergers on the Horizon in Wake of COVID-19 Crisis

From eJewish Philanthropy/Jewish Insider (January 24, 2021)

"Jewish nonprofits had similarly dire concerns and expected a wave of mergers prompted by the failure of groups that were already fragile, or hit especially hard by the virus, said Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, an organization whose members give away at least $25,000 annually. 

Talk of such mergers “was coming out of the fear that the community would implode,” Spokoiny said.

On the one hand, Spokoiny said, it’s a positive development that consolidation didn’t happen under those desperate conditions. On the other hand, mergers and other forms of cooperation can be a positive development. In this sense, the pandemic presents an opportunity to reflect and reorganize that shouldn’t be wasted, he said."

Read the full article by Helen Chernikoff in eJewish Philanthropy.



Jewish Arts Institutions Respond to Racial Injustice—and Covid-19

From Hadassah Magazine (January 2021):

"...As they weather the corona-virus storm, arts institutions are facing what Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, executive director of the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM), described as “an existential upheaval.” Particularly hard hit are the centers with small endowments that depend on admissions fees and gift shop sales for the bulk of their revenue. One such place is the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Seventy-five percent of its $11.5 million operating budget comes from such income; by April of last year, the museum laid off or furloughed more than 100 full-time and part-time staffers and reduced its budget by 70 percent.

In May, in response to the financial needs in the Jewish arts and culture field across the United States, a consortium of five Jewish foundations working with the Jewish Funders Network launched the CANVAS initiative, which funneled more than $900,000 to the Council of American Jewish Museums, the Jewish Book Council, LABA and other groups to distribute to Jewish institutions and individual artists..."

Read full article in Hadassah Magazine.


Behind a Pledge to Mobilize Billions in New Giving for Jewish Causes

Inside Philanthropy, January 11, 2021

"It’s been more than a decade since billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates launched the Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages the most affluent people in the world to join Buffett and the Gateses in donating most of their wealth to charity. 

Enter the Jewish Future Pledge—a new campaign that’s based in part on the Giving Pledge but geared toward Jewish philanthropists of all income brackets." 


Andrés Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network and a member of the Jewish Future Pledge’s advisory board defended the effort, as well as financial tools such as endowments and DAFs."


Read the full article by Simone Ellin in Inside Philanthropy.