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Friday, June 8, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


Being graduation season, there are lots of inspirational stories in the news about graduates and how they have overcome great odds to reach this milestone. I recently read a story about a woman who due to a personal tragedy in her life had missed her high school commencement exercises fifty years ago. She had graduated, and she received her diploma in the mail, but she had missed the opportunity to join her classmates in the ceremony itself. And, although she had gone to college and led a successful professional life, it had always bothered her that she had not been part of the final group act with her fellow students. She told her story to the current head of school, who suggested she participate in this year's graduation ceremony and join a new set of peers. So, she had a second chance and joined in the honor and tradition of commencement.


This week's parashah, B'halotcha, contains one of my favorite examples of a "second chance." Because they were ritually unclean during the celebration of Pesach the previous month, some people were unable to fulfill the commandment and participate in the observance of the holiday. So, God institutes a second opportunity to fulfill the mitzvoth surrounding the commemoration of the Exodus, a Pesach Sheni. None should be excluded from this community-wide celebration.


We often find our clients in a similar situation. Whether for physical, emotional, mental, or fiscal reasons, many of the people we serve have been unable to fully participate in those things celebrated by the rest of society. In many of those cases, we are able to provide them with a "second chance" much in the tradition of Pesach Sheni. Essential to our mission is the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to fulfill all of the mitzvot and our agencies are there to help them overcome the barriers so they may do so. Our "whole" community is richer for providing these chances for inclusion.


Shabbat Shalom.

Lisa Budlow
Insight Insight into Jewish Caregiving 
by Lisa Budlow

Last week, I was asked to be on a call with a consultant hired by a government agency which partners with AJFCA. The agency hired the consultant to research the approaches to caregiving taken by various faith communities based on their traditions. I was thrilled to represent the Jewish community in a discussion on caring for others. Read more here.

Foundation Directory Online Renewal

In August 2011, more than 30 of our member agencies signed on to participate in AJFCA's institution-wide subscription to the Foundation Center's Foundation Directory Online Professional Plan. Each participating agency paid a significantly-reduced subscription fee of $390 for one year's access to the online directory of more than 100,000 foundations, corporate donors and grant making public charities. Users are able to build custom searches through nine comprehensive databases. 

foundation center 

In the first ten months of our subscription, AJFCA agencies created approximately 5,600 searches. According to the Foundation Center, AJFCA has created about 7,500 searches in the past year. In other words, our agencies saw real value in this tool and have made excellent use of it for the past two years!


The second subscription year will come to a close in mid-August. All users will have to renew if they would like another year of access. Member agencies who are interested in joining for the third year (whether or not you participated in year one or two) will have that opportunity. Assuming we have approximately 30 members join, the cost again will be approximately $400 per agency. If you are interested in participating, please email Megan Manelli no later than August 3, 2012.

Good Governance Makes Tax Compliance More Likely, Says IRS Study

Good Governance Makes Tax Compliance More Likely, Says IRS Study, April 20, 2012, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Richard White

 Charities that follow certain good-governance practices-for example, drawing up written mission statements and comparing their organizations to others when making compensation decisions-are more likely to comply with the Internal Revenue Service's tax code, according to preliminary results from a new IRS study.

chronicle philanthropy 

The study was described by Lois Lerner, director of the IRS division that oversees charities, in a speech at Georgetown University Law School. "Good governance and tax compliance go hand in hand," she said.

The study, Ms. Lerner said, analyzed information provided by more than 1,300 charities that the IRS examined for reasons unrelated to their governance practices. But when researchers later reviewed those practices-as reported on the organizations' Form 990 informational tax returns-they found certain correlations.

The new study, Ms. Lerner said, found that charities are more likely to follow IRS tax rules if they:

  • Have a written mission statement
  • Always compare their organization to others in making decisions about compensation
  • Have procedures to ensure that contributions and other revenues are used in accordance with the organization's charitable mission
  • Require all trustees to review the organization's Form 990.

Charities were less likely to meet IRS standards when control of their organization was in the hands of one person or a small number of trustees, the study found.


Click here to read more about the good governance and the IRS study.

Businesses Measure Profit, What Do Social Ventures Measure?

Businesses Measure Profit, What Do Social Ventures Measure? May 17, 2012, BoardSource, by Alexa Clay and Jon Camfield

It's becoming more and more of a necessity to find a way to measure and compare the impact of social entrepreneurship. A few companies are making new headway.


Tracking performance in the for-profit world is simple; you have, well, profits. Plus tons of metrics and measurers and lists--from the Fortune 500 toboard source the Forbes Rich list to further enshrine top performers. Without looking, you can probably name most of the top 10% of either of those lists. But which are the top social-good organizations? Who are the most influential leaders? What organizations have the most significant impact?


Where do you even start? Lives saved? Diseases treated? Laptops distributed? Trees not cut down? Parts-per-million reductions in pollution? It's easy to measure effort expended, but much more complex to track impact directly attributed to your efforts. Even in situations where measurement and evaluation are core to a project, they remain that task you do after you've completed the project to fulfill the grant contract, not inherently valuable.


It's easy to measure effort expended, but much more complex to track impact.


Read the entire article to learn more about evaluating and measuring social good.

How to Get Donors to Relate to Your Nonprofit -- and Give More

How to Get Donors to Relate to Your Nonprofit -- and Give More, May 17, 2012, Network for Good, by Katya Andresen, Mark Rovner & Alia McKee

Giving is personal. The closer we feel to a cause, the more likely we are to give.


Just how much do personal connections influence giving? When people have a personal connection to a cause (ornetwork for good know someone who does), it can lead them - and others - to be more supportive. The researchers delved into the nuances of this "norm of self-interest." What they found is incredibly important.


Personal connections and stories have a big effect on giving - so if you've got them, use them.

Another way that giving is personal is that we give more when we feel we're helping another person to whom we can relate. This has been called the "identifiable victim effect" or "singularity effect."


Click here to learn how to reduce the feeling of social distance amongst your agency and your donors.

Funders and Apes: Seven Steps for Constructive Failure

Funders and Apes: Seven Steps for Constructive Failure, May 21, 2012, eJP, by Andres Spokoiny 

On May 18th Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network wrote a bit about how funders, like all humans, are programmed by millions of years of evolution to hate failure. But, according to Andres our DNA hasn't kept pace with tejewish philanthropyhe changing times. If our brains were adapted to the modern world instead of the prehistoric reality of the first apes with opposable thumbs, we would have created different neurological and chemical reactions to failure. We would have realized that in these times our survival depends on embracing productive failure. Until that realization occurs, we need to trick our brains into interpreting failure differently.


For philanthropists and funders, embracing failure means creating a culture change. In complex endeavors, failure is a given. Here are seven strategies to help capitalize on the inevitable.

  1. Remain focused and strategic, but diversify.
  2. Ready, fire, aim.
  3. Have a mechanism to analyze and create feedback loops.
  4. Fail cheap and fail fast.
  5. Organizational culture matters.
  6. Let the information flow.
  7. Network.
Read the entire article to learn about the seven strategies in depth.

Reaching Millennials Through Email

Reaching Millennials Through Email, April 29, 2012, frogloop, by Allyson Kapin
The conversation on email's demise and how Millennial's refuse to use it continues to be debated. According to Nielsen's report, State of the Media: Advertising and Audiences, 61% of the general population checks email while they watch TV. And 52% of 13-17 year-olds check email while watching TV. It's interesting to note that 62% of Millennials checked social networks while watching TV, which is only a 10% increase over checking email.


Although the study didn't reveal what devices Millenials were checking email on, it's safe to say that a significant percentage was checking it via mobile. This is why it's important that organizations tweak (not abandon) their email strategy to reach Millennials and other target audiences who are increasingly using mobile email.


Four Key Mobile Email Tips

  1. Keep emails short and to the point. People are reading your email on a small, 4 inch screen and are often in a rush.
  2. Don't use large graphics. They take up a lot of room on a small screen. They can also take a while to download, which will annoy users and cause them to delete your message.
  3. Content should be scannable and flow down the screen.
  4. Use a mobile style sheet to setup your email in an email/CRM system.

Read the entire article here to learn more about millennials and email.

Returning to Facebook Groups

Returning to Facebook Groups, June 4, 2012, eJP, by Debra Askanase  

According to Debra Askanase, founder of Community Organizer 2.0, "Facebook Groups, not Pages, were written off and abandoned by almost every organization once Pages beefed up its functionality three years ago, but Groups is where the real community engagement is happening now."


According to her presentation, Engage! "Like"-able Social Media, Miriam Brosseau, Social Media Coalitions Manager at the Jewish Education Project and JCSA Annual Conference presenter agrees. Miriam focused on the basics of the social JCSANA logo for contestmedia revolution and the importance of not just presenting information, but engaging constituents through social media at the 114th JCSA Conference, held on June 5th in Baltimore. As the session came to an end, Miriam briefly mentioned the reemergence of Facebook Groups. Many left the room intrigued, an effect discussions surrounding social media seem to have and also interested in Facebook Groups, which they knew little of.


Debra admits that like so many consultants, she advised clients to close their Groups and focus on Pages a few years ago. With good reason: Facebook came out with the Like button that tied Facebook Pages to websites and almost every web interface. Facebook poured its time and promotion into Pages, making them even more robust with deep analytics, applications, and utility. There was no "join" button offered to join a Facebook Group, only a poorly-adopted "send" button.


Read Debra's entire article to learn more about Facebook Groups. "The answer lies in what I've begun to realize that Facebook Pages cannot offer: real community and deep engagement."

Addictions Specialists' Group
At the request of our Addictions Specialists in Seattle and Chicago, AJFCA is working on creating a forum for professional staff who work with Jews in the field of Addictions.  We envision this forum as a means to share information and best practices in working with all types of addictions in the Jewish community via email/member forum and conference calls.  Other features for this group, such as speakers, webinars and in-person gatherings, will be determined by the group once it convenes. 

If there is a professional at your agency who works in Addictions--either as his/her entire job or as a piece of it--who might be interested in joining this community of practice, please have the professional email Lisa Budlow by June 22nd. Thank you.

featured agencyjfs delawareJewish Family Services of Delaware has been an integral voice in the effort to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In recognition of JFS Delaware's service to the community, Vice President Joe Biden invited the agency to the White House on April 18, 2012 for a briefing on VAWA and a private lunch with the Vice President. 

delaware & vawa
JFS Delaware meets Vice President Biden, April 18, 2012


Dory Zatuchni, CEO and a member of AJFCA's Legislative Task Force, traveled to Washington along with her colleague Scott Michels, Director of Youth Development, Brahmin Jackson, Media Matters intern and case manager, and Tre Bracey, Media Matters intern. AJFCA Washington Director Shelley Rood met the JFS delegation at the VAWA briefing, which included presentations by Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Biden.  


Take a look at Dory Zatuchni's exciting account of "A Day with the Vice President of the United States of America."   


Alpert Jewialpert jfcssh Family & Children's Service is proud to announce three major gifts totaling $2 million. Two gifts are multiyear pledges of $500,000 each for mental health services and residential care for disabled young adults respectively. A $1 million endowment was received in support of the agency's Life Plan program, helping seniors with adult disabled children plan for their future care. These gifts were in addition to the 11% increase in JFCS's annual campaign over last year.

Seniors' Health Town Hall at the White House

It's the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, and the White House is hosting an event to discuss what health care reform means for seniors and their caregivers.

ncoa logo 

You're invited to participate with the older adults you serve. Speakers will include:

  • Jim Firman, President & CEO, NCOA
  • Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • Jonathan Blum, Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center of Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Submit your question to the panelists! Panelists will be taking questions from seniors nationwide. Here's how to participate:
  1. Facebook: Post your question on www.facebook.com/healthcare.gov.
  2. Twitter: Tweet your question using the hash tag #Seniorshealth.
  3. Email: Email your question to  advocacy@ncoa.org.

No RSVP is necessary, and you may submit questions until June 11th at 9:00am ET. Can't watch it live? Check the June 12th issue of NCOA Week for a link to the recording!


Seniors' Health Town Hall at the White House
Monday, June 11th, 10:00am ET - Join it live at www.whitehouse.gov/live


Navigating the Road Toward Accreditation

Essential Learning and Accreditation Guru, Inc. have partnered to present an educational series of accreditation webinars. The essential learningfirst session was a great success.


If you missed "Session One: Understanding the Accreditation Process", you can access a recording of the presentation here.


Session Two: Self-Study and Site Visit Phase

Tuesday, June 12th, 1:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

The second session focuses on the critical phases of developing a self-study and preparing for the site visit. After attending this session, you will be able to identify who should be involved in the process and how to best prepare your staff in a way that gains buy-in and reduces pre-site visit stress across your organization. E-learning tools can assist with this process.


Session Three: Achieving and Maintaining Accreditation

Thursday, June 28th, 1:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

In this third and final session, attention will be focused on an accrediting body's decision making process. The maintenance of accreditation includes the implementation of your quality improvement program, staff training, risk management, etc., all of which will be reviewed. You have worked hard to become (re)accredited and now it is time to learn to reap the benefits of all of your hard work.


Taking Your Medicines Safely

Taking Your Medicines Safely (TYMS), is a train-the-trainer program to educate older adults about medication safety and the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222). Poisoning can happen to anyone; in fact, older adults are especially at risk for poisonings involving medications. Each year, there are nearly 100,000 emergency hospitalizations in the U.S among adults aged 65 years or older due to adverse drug events.


Learn how to implement the TYMS program for older adults in your senior center, library, community center, or church. Medication safety topics include: ncoa logo

  1. Potential problems with taking prescription medicines or over-the-counter products.
  2. Ways to keep track of medicines and prevent medication mistakes.
  3. Questions older adults should ask about their medicine.
  4. The free and confidential services provided by the nation's poison centers.

The TYMS program was developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with the Administration on Aging and the Public Education Committee of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.


Participants are encouraged to visit the Poison Help website and download the TYMS participant guide.


Taking Your Medicines Safely

Monday, June 18th, 3:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE


Using PerformWell to Improve Sex Education Programs
How can sex education programs for youth measure outcomes and continuously improve their effectiveness? Join Social Solutions for a webinar during which you'll learn how practitioners can take advantage of new PerformWell content - including surveys/assessments - relevant to sex education. With the launch of PerformWell earlier this year, ChildTrends, the Urban Institute and Social Solutions made available more than one hundred surveys/assessments, along with information to help nonprofits measure outcomes and improve service delivery. This webinar marks the publication of new content in the program area of sex education.

social solutions logo 

Using PerformWell to Improve Sex Education Programs

Thursday, June 21st, 3:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE


Benefits Counseling 101: The Five Phases of Benefits Access

Benefits counselors play a critical role in helping clients learn about and apply for various public benefit programs. But what's really involved in helping your clients "get" public benefits? Is it screening their income and resources for eligibility or helping them complete an application? The answer is yes, but there is so much more!

ncoa logo  

NCOA's June webinar will walk through the full spectrum of benefits assistance:

  • Outreach and education
  • Screening
  • Application assistance
  • Understanding how to use the benefit, and
  • Retention/recertification.

These stages are vital for ensuring that clients receive, use, and keep the benefits they are eligible for. NCOA will share examples from a variety of states and local organizations to discuss creative and effective ways of accomplishing these phases. They'll also talk about opportunities to enhance benefits access work through stronger partnerships.


This training is geared toward those who are new to benefits counseling, and to those who want to learn more about the full continuum of benefits access. This training will be offered at two different times.


Benefits Counseling 101: The Five Phases of Benefits Access

Tuesday, June 26th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Wednesday, June 27th, 2:00p. ET - REGISTER HERE


Find more information about NCOA webinars, and download the slides prior to the webinar here.


Health Care Symposia: Issues Unique to Younger Jewish Women - Free National Teleconference and Webinar 

Join Sharsheret for a free symposium, "New Advances in Gynecological Health Before and After Cancer." This symposium will focus on the most current research regarding gynecological concerns before and after a breast cancer or ovarian cancer diagnosis. Panelists include Dr. Tessa Cigler, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, Clinical Supervisor Shera Dubitsky, and a Sharsheret Peer Supporter. For more information and to register, email teleconference@sharsheret.org .sharsheret


"New Advances in Gynecological Health Before and After Cancer"

Wednesday, July 11th, 8:00pm ET

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