About AJFCA | Find a Service Near You | News | Members   
Jewish Connection | Annual Conference | Job Postings    
Friday, March 23, 2012
website picture-senior female
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


This week, AJFCA is publishing a paper describing pillars of Judaism that underlie the work of our agencies and collective network, and express the role of Jewish family service agencies in the larger community. Over the next few months, I will share some of these pillars as my Shabbat message. This is one of those pillars; the full paper can be found here.


This Shabbat, we begin the month of Nissan, the start of spring and the month of Pesach. The retelling of the exodus from Egypt and how the story relates to our place in Jewish history is perhaps the best example of the continuity of the Jewish people. The pillar below exemplifies how this thread is so brilliantly represented today by Jewish family service agencies:


AJFCA and its member agencies proudly represent the current chapter of a long and distinguished Jewish history.

The Jewish story is an amazing chronicle of survival through the ages. From our suffering as slaves in Egypt, through years of exile and wandering, surviving pogroms in Russia, the horrors of the Holocaust and centuries of attack, the Jewish people has overcome and reached freedom and prosperity. Without our sense of amcha, of Jewish peoplehood, this survival would not have been possible. Today, our network of Jewish family service agencies provides a platform for us to stand up and be counted as Jews who survive and achieve. We were all slaves in Egypt, we were all present to receive the Ten Commandments at Sinai and we are linked together generation to generation, each taking our place in this long and distinguished history.


As we sit at our seder tables this year, we can all take a moment to reflect on our special place in preserving and promoting Jewish peoplehood.

Shabbat Shalom.    
2012 AC combined logo-3.6.12

AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference

AJFCA's 2012 Annual Conference Program  is available. Register here and don't forget to check the AJFCA website regarding travel, hotel, special events and guest speakers.    

TrailBlazer Award voting has begun. Please complete the survey to vote for one professional TrailBlazer and one Volunteer TrailBlazer. Each agency is limited to 10 votes. Votes maybe cast from Wednesday, March 14th-Wednesday, March 28th. Voting will close on Wednesday, March 28th at 5:00pm ET. For more details please visit the Awards section of the AJFCA website.  

Affordable Care Act - 2nd Anniversary

Today, March 23rd, marks the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. New materials are now available onhhs logo the health care law to help the public better understand the benefits and provisions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has new PowerPoint slides about the Affordable Care Act, fact sheets on how the law helps certain populations and a general brochure. To find out how the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in your state, click here 


Please find the schedule for the Affordable Care Act conference call series in the Upcoming Webinar section of this newsletter, or on the AJFCA website. The conference calls provide an overview of the law and information on how to help those in your congregation and community access care. Additionally, the calls also offer faith and community leaders and members of the public a unique opportunity to interact directly with senior HHS staff and ask any questions they may have about the Affordable Care Act.


ajfca logo-resizedJoin Teresa Nino , Director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of Public Engagement on April 23rd at the AJFCA Annual Conference to learn more about The Affordable Care Act and Your Agency. 
How Nonprofits Can Thrive While Awaiting Economic Recovery
How Nonprofits Can Thrive While Awaiting Economic Recovery, Social Velocity, by Nell Edgington

After 3+ years of a difficult recession it looks like the economy might be starting to turn around. That's great news. But for the nonprofit sector, which is always the first hit by and last to rebound from a recession, it might still be awhile until they enjoy the looming economic recovery. But it does no good for nonprofit leaders to throw up their hands and curse the economy. Instead, nonprofits should seize this opportunity to rethink how their organization brings money in the door.


There are some key things nonprofit leaders can do to create a sustainable financial model in the midst of lingering economic uncertainty:

  • Take a Step Backsocial velocity
  • Harness Your Board
  • Create a Plan
  • Reallocate Resources
  • Use Technology
  • Learn from the Best
  • Strengthen Your Case
  • Clone Your Best Donors
  • Diversify Your Funds

Read more about the key things nonprofit leaders can do to create a sustainable financial model in the midst lingering economic uncertainty here.


ajfca logo-resizedCheck out Nell's sessions: Engaging Your Board in Fundraising and Financing Not Fundraising, at AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference.

Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective

Peoplehood Philanthropy - Some Reflections on the State of the Field

Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective,March 18, 2012 by eJP  

In cooperation with the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, eJewish Philanthropy has complied a series of articles entitled The Peoplehood Papers: Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective. This edition of the Peoplehood Papers is dedicated to exploring the role philanthropy plays, and can play, in reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood. The authors of the articles in this series represent a sample of the largest ancenter for jewish peoplehood educationd most active funders and organizations in the area of Jewish community, education and welfare in Canada, Europe, Israel and the United States.


In the series introduction, authors Shlomi Ravid and Ezra Kopelwitz observe:


Peoplehood is clearly a topic of rising concern and gaining momentum among Jewish philanthropists and communal organizations. Over the past several years, a shift can be observed from a focus on welfare and educational services to individual Jews or the support of ejewish philanthropycommunities in need to a reframing of these same issues through the collective prism. Jewish philanthropies are paving the way to a new synthesis between individualistic and pluralistic expressions of Judaism and the collective's voice. They are also enabling younger generations to seek meaning and purpose in the Jewish collective enterprise of the future.


Linked here is the entire introductory article, which includes summaries of all of the articles, full versions of which will be published at eJewish Philanthropy in the coming weeks.

Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services

Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services, Idealware, by Laura Quinn
Can nonprofits take better advantage of available technologies to improve the services they deliver and the ways in which they deliver them?   


Idealware, (one of AJFCA's partner agencies) thinks they can - and today they are releasing a report that marks the culmination of nearly a year's worth of research into that question. Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services is available as a free download from the MAP for Nonprofits website.


MAP for Nonprofits, which provides management consulting and services and board development aid to Minnesota nonprofits, hired Idealware to conduct a detailed survey of Minnesota human service organizations about how they were using technology and then interview more than two dozen staff members from organizations that were using it in effective or interesting ways. 


The research reveals a number of innovative approaches to service delivery that make the most of new and existing technology. From the simple and remarkable to the complex and expensive, these implementations serve as examples of opportunities for everyday innovation that can transform how, and how effectively, organizations meet their missions. 


The result of the collective efforts, Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services, includes a detailed analysis of the survey data and case studies of nine Minnesota nonprofits using technology successfully. Idealware believes every organization can learn from these examples and they are excited to share these results. Download the report now for free at http://tinyurl.com/7sqmv4s .

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? It's not just the number of hours people are working, but also the fact that people spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.


What people have lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever people go, work follows, on digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It's like an itch that one can't resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.

linkedin logo 

Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you're taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you're driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn't?


The biggest cost - assuming one doesn't crash - is to productivity. In part, that's a simple consequence of splitting one's attention, so that one is partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it's because when one switches away from a primary task to do something else, one increases the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.   


Read the entire article to learn about the three policies worth promoting and the boundaries individuals should set for themselves.

Nonprofits Compete in Facebook Contests

Nonprofits Compete in Facebook Contests, March 19, 2012, eJP, by Rabbi Jason Miller 

Thousands in Metro Detroit's Jewish community have been flocking to Home Depot's Facebook page in recent weeks. No, they are not all interested in becoming fans of the national retail giant. They are simply trying to help a local social service agency win $250,000 from the Home Depot Foundation.

 ejp full logo

Jewish Family Service in Michigan was one of 12 nonprofits around the country to win a monthly prize of $25,000 cash and another $5,000 in Home Depot gift cards from the Home Depot Foundation this past January. That win put them in the competition for the Aprons in Action contest that will give away a total of a half-million dollars in March. JFS plans to use the cash prize for its Project Build! program, which provides JFS clients with safe and barrier-free homes through pro bono repairs and renovations provided by local builders, remodelers and suppliers.

jfs detroit 

While many nonprofits in the Jewish community are still trying to find their way in the new world of social media, online contests like the Home Depot Foundation's Aprons in Action have pushed nonprofit organizations to create a social media strategy to get out the vote on Facebook, the social networking site that boasts more than 850 million users.


Retail giants like Target and Home Depot, as well as large corporations like Toyota and Ford Motor Company, have drawn millions of Facebook users to their corporate and foundation "Fan Pages" through their online contests.


ajfca logo-resizedAJFCA is thrilled to see Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's social media efforts featured in eJewish Philanthropy. In addition to supporting their efforts, AJFCA wishes to congratulate JFS Detroit on winning a 2012 Kovod Award for Effective Use, of Social Media, which will be presented at the Annual Conference on April 23rd.


Continue to read about these crowd-raising initiatives in the remainder of the article.  

Blog Tips to Boost Your Web Traffic

Blog Tips to Boost Your Web Traffic, February 29, 2012, Frogloop, by Allyson Kapin
Did you know that there are over 156 million public blogs, according to Wikipedia. That's a lot of competition for all you nonprofit campaigners and bloggers. How do you make your blog stand out? What are the best blogging practices your organization should implement that will also generate more blog traffic? Frogloop's got you covered. Check out some of their favorite blogging tips below.


  • Target Audience
  • Tone
  • Get to the Point
  • Be Compelling
  • Make it Scannable
  • Fresh and Relevant Content
  • Headlines
  • Calls to Action
  • Photos
  • When to Post
  • Length
  • Frequency
  • Generating Comments
  • Public Comments
  • Profanity
  • Promote Posts
  • Grammar and Spell Check

 Read about the above blogging tips in more detail here.  

2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index - Survey Deadline Extended JOEI logo

AJFCA has partnered with the  Human Rights Campaign Foundation to promote their important initiative:  The 2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI). ApprHRC logooximately 200 organizations have logged into the survey since its launch last fall, including AJFCA and some of our member agencies.


The 2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index was created in the pursuit of education, dialogue and continual improvement. The more organizations that partake, the more we will be able to learn from one another. This is an opportunity for all of us to take an impartial inventory of our internal policies and practices in line with the Jewish traditions of b'tzelem elohim, derech eretz and tikkun olam.  


If you would like to complete the survey please click on this link:  http://www.hrc.org/joei/pages/request-joei-survey-login prior to the April 6th deadline. If you would like to learn more, you can visit JOEI's website at www.hrc.org/joei or email questions to JewishEquality@hrc.org

Save MORE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency  

You are invited to attend a webinar on how to Save MORE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency. This webinar is designed for CEOs, Executive Directors, HR Directors, and CFOs in AJFCA's network.


At this webinar you will learn:

  • Why nonprofit employers are paying more for their unemployment taxes--and what it costs you.
  • Understanding the legal option for nonprofits to leave the unemployment tax system and just reimburse  the state for claims.              
  • How your nonprofit can potentially save thousands of dollars annually with this reimbursing option.
  • Learn about the advantages and disadvantages and whether it's right for your nonprofit. (Best for nonprofits with over $1 million in payroll.)    
  • How 501(c) Agencies Trust helps AJFCA member agencies reimburse, safely and securely, with services to reduce your costs.

501c for newsletterSave MORE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency

Wednesday, April 4th, 1:00pm ET

Monday, April 30th, 12:00pm ET

Wednesday, May 2nd, 12:00pm ET



Please contact Heidi Posada, 800-442-4867 x142 with questions.

Please Help Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit win $250,000!  

project build 

Thank you to everyone who helped Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's Project Build! win $25,000 in January 2012 in The Home Depot Foun-jfs detroitdation's Aprons in Action Facebook contest. As a result of that win, JFS Detroit is now in the championship round and needs your help throughout March to bring home the grand prize of $250,000.  


Project Build! provides essential home repairs and modifications for people who have low-incomes and/or physical challenges. Because we need you to vote every day in March, we want to make it easy by signing you up for a daily email reminder (you do need a Facebook account to vote). Just click here to visit the voting page. Here's the link to the voting page. Thanks for your help and stay tuned for more details as the competition continues.


Jewish Family SeJFS raleigh-caryrvice of Raleigh-Cary is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Their kick-ofgood deeds dayf event ---GOOD DEEDS DAY is slated for Sunday, March 25th. For the first time, the Raleigh-Cary community will join with Jews in this country, in Israel and across the globe for this internationally recognized day of performing mitzvot.  


Good Deeds Day, established in Israel in 2007, is a local opportunity to renew Jewish values by giving to the community in which one lives. During the past five years, more than 140,000 volunteers have participated in this day of service. JFS is asking Good Deeds Day volunteers to help families in the Jewish community by bringing a grocery store or gas gift card with them on Good Deeds Day. JFS will distribute these cards to Jewish families who are in need of financial assistance. 


Health Care Conference Calls

The Health and Human Services Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive conference calls discussing the benefits and provisions of the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

hhs logo 

All calls are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you may have about the health care reform law. You are also encouraged you to submit questions you would like to have answered on the calls to  ACA101@hhs.gov.


To participate in one of the conference calls, please select your preferred date from the list below and submit the necessary information. Call-in information and Power Point slides will be made available 24 hours in advance.


PowerPoint slides for the Health Care Law 101 calls can be found by clicking here.


The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2:00pm ET  



Tour of HealthCare.gov

Thursday, April 5th, 12:30pm ET 



Tour of www.healthcare.gov 

Tuesday, April 17th, 2:00pm ET 



Health Care Law and Health Care Disparities (in Spanish)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2:00pm ET


____________________________________________________________________________________   Jewish Teen Funders Network 2012 Winter/Spring Lunch & Learn Teleconference Series 

Today's teens are overcommitted. Good attendance among teen foundation participants is important for team building and a healthy group process. How do we craft an attendance expectation or agreement that both respects the commitment made by group members and is sensitive to the realities of teens' lives?

jfcs greater mercer county
Join JTFN for their teleconference, Attendance Issues in Teen Foundations. You'll hear from two seasoned teen foundation professionals about how they handle attendance issues in their respective programs. AJFCA member Celeste Albert (Jewish Community Youth Foundation at the Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Mercer County) will share her recent exploration into a new attendance policy and the outcome, and Hallie Shapiro Devir (Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago) will share her foundation's philosophy on this issue and its practical application. There will be an opportunity for callers to share how their programs handle these issues and to ask questions to the presenters.

Attendance Issues in Teen Foundations
Tuesday, March 27th, 12:30pm ET 


Beyond Cash: How Nonprofit Boards Can Tap Pro Bono and In-Kind Resources
Most nonprofit boards are including pro bono service and in-kind donations in their resource development. Are you?     

board source 

No one knows better than you that nonprofits need strong boards to harness the resources they need to thrive. Until now, chief executives and board members have not had direct guidance on how to work with their board to access resources beyond cash - such as pro bono services and in-kind donations.


Thanks to support from Chevron, Taproot Foundation and BoardSource joined forces again this year to identify practical ways nonprofit boards can tap pro bono and in-kind resources. Participants in this webinar, which is hosted by leaders from BoardSource and Taproot Foundation, will walk away with   

  • key research findings
  • 10 tips for chief executives and board members
  • direct insight from a nonprofit on how this can work
  • a FREE copy of our electronic guide on the topic

Beyond Cash: How Nonprofit Boards Can Tap Pro Bono and In-Kind Resources

Tuesday, March 27th, 2:00pm ET



Recruiting Your Next Star Board Member

Millions of nonprofit board seats are open and need to be filled each year. Approximately 75% of nonprofits do not have any formal budget for recruiting board members or staff, according to the 2011 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey.


Nonprofits need board recruiting tools that are easy to implement, cost efficient and, most importantly, connect them with the best people. Social recruiting - acteva logousing social media to recruit staff - does just that. And LinkedIn does social recruiting best.


It's not just a word of mouth game anymore. You can find excellent board candidates with the required skills and a passion for your cause by using LinkedIn. Organizations of all sizes are starting to do it already.

  • Learn basics for using LinkedIn better as an organization
  • Learn ways to find board members using LinkedIn
  • Hear specific tips related to searching and sending "In-Mail" to prospective board candidate 

Recruiting Your Next Star Board Member

Wednesday, March 28th, 2:00Pm ET



Using Technology to Innovate Nonprofit Service Delivery

Nonprofits are under unprecedented pressure to produce more results, with more clients, for less money. To shed light on how organizations are meeting this challenge, MAP for Nonprofits commissioned a study by Idealware to investigate how Minnesota service providers are innovating their service delivery, with an eye to factors that foster innovation. During this free one-hour session, Idealware will highlight key findings and best practices, along with real-world examples, to share Minnesota's innovation with the rest of the country. How will their stories inspire your organization?


Please register with an email address that will allow you to receive the access and dial-in information for the online seminar. This is an Introductory-level seminar.


Using Technology to Innovate Nonprofit Service Delivery - FREE Webinar

Thursday, March 29th, 1:00pm ET


Donate SponsorsSupport AJFCA :: JFNA :: Accreditations
Contact Us :: Transparency :: Privacy Policy
Join Our Mailing List