JFN in the Headlines

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]

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.

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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.


Jewish Philanthropists Have Increased Their Giving During the Pandemic

According to a recent report by the Jewish Funders Network, a majority of Jewish donors are rethinking their strategies in response to the pandemic, loosening application requirements for grants and increasingly giving unrestricted gifts that can be used for any purpose rather than for specific projects or new programs.

“We’ve been talking about this for years but when the pandemic hit, people really adopted wholeheartedly this more flexible way of giving,” said Andres Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network.

Read "Jewish philanthropists have increased their giving during the pandemic — but prioritizing causes has never been more difficult" in JTA.


JFN Report in the Jerusalem Post

Jewish charitable giving has increased exponentially amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by the Jewish Funders Network (JFN). 

The study notes that Jewish philanthropists and foundations "significantly" increased charitable donations during the ongoing health crisis - awarding more grants in areas previously ignored, while loosening reporting and application requirements to receive said grants.

Read the full article in The Jerusalem Post.

Download a PDF of the article.

Download the JFN report.


Israeli DAFs Featured in Inside Philanthropy

Thanks to the work of JFN Israel, donor-advised funds are now available in Israel, and we are confident they will be a game-changer for Israeli philanthropy.

Inside Philanthropy, a leading philanthropy website, recently published this article about JFN Israel and Keshet-DAF, the nongovernmental organization we established together with our partners at Tel Aviv University's Institute for Law and Philanthropy and the Committed to Give organization. 

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In Defense of Endowments and Legacy Giving

Responding to an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy earlier this week in which Professor Lila Corwin Berman sharply criticized the Jewish Future Pledge (co-founded by JFN members Mike Leven and Amy Holtz), JFN President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny published a piece on the critical role legacy giving and endowments play. In addition to praising the Jewish Future Pledge, his piece also noted the accomplishments of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's Life & Legacy program.

Read the full piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Download a PDF of the article.

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Israeli Philanthropy Turns a Page

For decades, the donor-advised fund, known by the acronym DAF, has become an increasingly popular and powerful force way for Americans to donate money. This philanthropic tool has played a critical role in sustaining American Jewish life, and most Federations or associated Jewish communal foundations sponsor a DAF program.

Now, for the first time ever, this giving vehicle is available to Israelis and to foundations making grants in Israel — and I expect it bring more money, and more donors, into Israel’s vital nonprofit sector. In Hebrew, the word “daf” means page, so as Jewish Funders Network and our partners introduce DAFs to Israel, I like to think that we are helping the country turn the page and open a new chapter in philanthropy. 

Read the full article in the Times of Israel.