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Welcome to the 2012 AJFCA Annual Conference Newsletter,
your resource for Conference news and updates.

Leading with Vision: Strategizing for Excellence


Conference Registration  

We are looking forward to seeing you April 22nd-24th in Houston, TX for the 40th Annual AJFCA & IAJVS Conferences.   


REGISTRATION IS OPEN. You can register via the following link, or visit the AJFCA website, Annual Conference, Register. Register by March 21st for the early discounted rate of $475. The registration rate will increase to $525 beginning March 22nd. All registrations must be submitted by April 12th.  

Please visit Annual Conference on the AJFCA website for details about travel and local attractions. A conference schedule and program are available on the AJFCA website, as well. 


New this Year, AJFCA wants you to bring your staff, board and lay leaders to our exciting conference. We are offering a rebate to our member agencies of $200 for each full registration from their community over the 4th registered attendee. Please see the AJFCA website for details.

Conference Hotel    

Make your hotel reservations at the Houston InterContinental Hotel, (where we'll be hosting the conference), by April 6th. The group rate is $159 per night. You can book your room by clicking on the link above, which is set up with the group discount code already applied, (therefore there is no need to fill in the boxes that read Corporate ID, Group Code (GM2) or IATA #).


Hotel check-in is 3:00pm. Hotel check-out is 12:00pm. Confirmation on late check-out is based on availability. The group rate is available for rooms up to three days pre-post conference dates - subject to hotel availability and occupancy. The Houston InterContinental Hotel requires that all reservations be guaranteed. A check equal to one night's room and tax, or major credit card may guarantee a reservation. Cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to arrival in order to avoid charge for the first night. Reservations can only be cancelled by calling the hotel directly and obtaining a cancellation number. No-shows will be charged accordingly.

Conference Awards

AJFCA and the Conference Awards Judges are thrilled to present the guidelines for the KOVOD, Distinguished Service, Leadership, Joseph S. Kaplan Memorial Scholarship and TrailBlazer awards for this year's conference. This year's KOVOD Award categories, (which are listed below) are focused on bringing out best practices in programming among JFCS agencies through North America. We are eager to receive submissions and learn even more about the creative and innovative work you do within your agencies and for the communities you serve.  

  • Creative Use of Volunteers in Client Services
  • Effective Use of Social Media
  • JF&CS Collaborative Program (submitted by a member agency or agencies)
  • Best Practices in Connecting Judaism to Client Programming  

All KOVOD, Distinguished Service and Leadership award submissions are due on Friday, February 17th. Joseph S. Kaplan Scholarship Memorial Award submissions are due on Monday, February 20th. TrailBlazer Award submissions are due Monday, March 12th. Award winners will be announced in mid-March. If you have any questions of concerns please contact Megan.

Valuable and Informative Programming

The conference planning committee has designed an exciting program filled with exceptional keynotes, breakouts, panel and roundtable discussions. The theme this year, "Leading with Vision: Strategizing for Excellence," reflects the commitment our members have to lead their organizations and grow in their abilities and capacities to best serve their communities.


Dynamic workshops will address some of the most timely and relevant issues facing your agencies, including: service to the Jewish and non-Jewish communities; employee morale and reduced turnover; funding for Holocaust survivors; programming for special needs populations; economic security for aging populations; advocacy and current politics; federation relations; marketing your agency; and funding and development.


The Conference will also include Roundtables Sessions on the following topics: Volunteer Programming and Partnerships; Top 5 Issues Facing Board Presidents; Senior Transportation Services; and Best Practices in Response to Contemporary Issues Facing Jewish Families (Senior Services: Aging-in-Place, Homecare, and Sustainable Case Management; Psycho/Social Impact for People Impacted by the Economic Downturn; Domestic Abuse Prevention; and LGBT programs). A full listing and schedule of conference workshops will be posted on AJFCA's website this month.


The AJFCA Conference is a great venue for lay leaders and professionals from our member agencies to get together with colleagues to learn, network and address issues of importance in an informal and relaxed environment. Don't miss this great opportunity to meet new people and share ideas.

Conference Opening Plenary Speaker - Rachel Simon

rachel simon
Rachel Simon 

Rachel Simon is the award-winning author of six books and a nationally-recognized public speaker on issues related to diversity and disability. Her titles include the bestsellers, The beautiful girl coverStory of Beautiful Girl and Riding The Bus with My SisterBoth books are frequent selections of book clubs and school reading programs around the country. Rachel's work has been adapted for theater, NPR, the Lifetime Channel, and Hallmark Hall of Fame, whose adaptation of Riding The Bus With My Sister starred Rosie O' Donnell and Andie McDowell, and was directed by Anjelica Huston. 


Rachel Simon's awards include The Secretary Tommy G. Thompson Recognition Award for Contributions to the Field of Disability from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and creative writing fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. She is one of the only authors to have been selected twice for the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Award. 


Sign up for Rachel's newsletter. Visit Rachel's website.

Conference Guest Speaker - Nell Edgington

Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity, a management consulting firm leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits grow their programs, bring more money in the door, and use resources more effectively.


Nell is also the author of the popular Social Velocity blog, was a regular contributor to Change.org's Social Entrepreneurship blog and has been a speaker at the leading social innovation gathering, the Social Capital Markets Conference in San Francisco.

nell edgington
Nell Edgington 


Nell's presentations show nonprofit staff, board and donors new ways to approach their work, and strategies for overcoming the hurdles standing in the way of great social impact and financial sustainability.


Nell will be presenting the following workshops at this year's Annual Conference:


Financing Not Fundraising

The nonprofit fundraising cycle is a vicious one. Nonprofit staff and boards are worn out with countless events, direct mail letters and grants. There is a better way. This session will explain how to finance, not fundraise for, the social impact your organization wants to achieve. Participants will learn about concrete ways to move their efforts to raise money in a totally new direction, resulting in more money flowing through the doors, a more engaged and effective board, a more energized and integrated staff and ultimately more achievement of the mission of the organization.

social velocity 

Engaging Your Board in Fundraising

A nonprofit's board of directors is often not doing as much as they could to bring money in the door. This interactive session gives board members and nonprofit staff an understanding of how fundraising works in the nonprofit sector, where boards can be most effective, how to get the board excited and engaged in fundraising, and the concrete steps to get them moving.

Conference Closing Plenary Speaker - Seth Cohen

Seth Cohen is an accomplished professional, activist and author on topics of Jewish communal life and innovation. His current Jewish community activities include serving as a President of Jewish Family & Career Services in Atlanta and a Trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Seth is also  the Director of Network Initiatives at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, leading the Foundation's efforts to identify, connect and support global networks of young Jewish adults to enable them to create Jewish experiences and communities for themselves and their peers. He is also involved in the day-to-day legal affairs of the Foundation.

seth cohen
Seth Cohen 


Seth previously worked for 13 years as a nationally recognized Atlanta-based corporate attorney, most recently as a partner at the international law firm of Holland & Knight LLP, leading its Atlanta corporate and M&A team. In addition to representing clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 10 telecommunications companies, Seth also received recognition for his commitment to pro bono legal services, including his work as one of the lead attorneys in a successful federal civil rights lawsuit protecting the voting rights of Georgia citizens.


He has also recently served as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel and a member of the board of Joshua Venture Group, a New York-based non-profit supporting the development of outcomes-focused Jewish innovation.
Lay Leaders
Come learn and share your experiences with your colleagues this year in Houston! Join us at the conference as you expand your knowledge base and network with other Board Presidents and Lay Leaders. Discover what your peers are doing, what the new trends are, and where there's room for movement and improvement at your agency. Participate in interactive breakout sessions, learn how to energize your board to raise funds for the agency, discuss techniques for using social media to spread good news about your agency, and more!

Read Nancy Bissinger Timm, Conference Chair and Larry Reader, Conference Co-Chair's letter to Agency Board Presidents and Lay Leaders to learn more. 
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