Fundermentalist in Contact


Check out the latest edition of Contact magazine, the quarterly publication of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life.

The issue focuses on the economic downturn and includes writings from Lynn Schusterman, Jonathan Sarna, Bob Aronson, former Forward editor J.J. Goldberg, Mik Moore of Jewish Funds for Justice, Felicia Herman and Shawn Landres and more — including a piece from the Fundermentalist about what the federation system could look like if only it would right its ship …

Imagine for a second that there was a central hub for Jewish philanthropy.

Imagine that it was a clearinghouse to vet and fund bold, new, innovative ideas.

Imagine that this entity also effectively funded the basic Jewish infrastructure that keeps our community up and running — our nursing homes, our social-service outlets, our day schools and our synagogues.

Now imagine that this perfect thing could convene the mega-philanthropists of the world and give them a space to sit down and to talk together with knowledgeable professionals in order to identify the real needs of the Jewish community, and to figure out how to strategically harness enormous resources to start to cover those needs — without overlap and without ego.

Imagine if the professionals who kept this entity going could then go out and find the six-figure and five-figure gifts to help fill in the larger gaps that the mega-gifts couldn’t cover. Because even though this system has seen its donor base drop from 900,000 to 540,000 in the last fifteen years, it has not seen its dollar intake drop because it cultivates five- and six-figure gifts better than any other fundraising entity out there.

But then what if we took the myth that this system also cultivated and valued the $18 and $100 gifts, and made that myth true?

To read the rest, check out the magazine (page 9).

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