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Friday, July 27, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


The 2012 Summer Olympics begin this evening in London. In response to the request of Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of Israeli Olympians slain at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and numerous governments worldwide, as well as millions of individuals, the International Olympic Committee has decided not to hold a moment of silence at the Opening Ceremonies in memory of the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team. At a time when acts of terror are proliferating around the world, in the streets of our capitals, at our airports, and in our suburban movie  theaters, the IOC wants to avoid appearing too  political. In 1972, when PLO operatives murdered 11 Israelis to make a statement on the world stage, it was all about politics. The Olympic committee is not only missing their opportunity to honor the memories of the 11 athletes and coaches, but to use this platform as a moment to teach that acts of terror are not acceptable and will not succeed.

Moses was not one to miss his opportunity for a teachable moment. This week we begin the reading of the final book of the Torah, D'varim. As the Israelites are about to enter the Holy Land, Moses, knowing he will not join the people in Israel, gives his final address. After their journey of 40 years, Moses reflects, castigates, instructs, and encourages the people before they reach their final destination. His lessons are a remembrance and a call to action.

Teachable moments can occur at any time. With our children, our clients, our colleagues, or even larger constituencies, we are frequently faced with an incident that requires a broader context - a learning opportunity. Hopefully, we don't need to wait 40 years to act more like Moses and seize that opportunity, and less like the IOC and waste it.

Join me by observing Just One Minute of silence at 4:00 p.m. EDT today on all social media in remembrance of the Munich 11.

Shabbat Shalom for all.  


Best Conference Ever

by Ann Zeller   

Ann Zeller

As AJFCA Director of Meetings and Conferences, I've enjoyed working collaboratively with the AJFCA board, member agency CEOs, professionals, and volunteer leaders for over 23 years, and cherish many wonderful and lasting friendships I have made over these years. I take pride in planning great new conference programs each year and working with each and every conference committee. The truth of the matter is, the best part of my job is welcoming the attendees (seasoned and new) during the conference. I relish seeing the big smiles on their faces, knowing that I helped make this happen.  


Read more here.   



Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago, IL  

Jewish Family Service of Seattle, WA  

Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit, MI

Jewish Family Service of Colorado  

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta, GA 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, PA  

Repair the World     

Conference Call with White House Office on Violence Against Women
On Wednesday, July 25th AJFCA signed on to a letter to House and Senate leadership in support of VAWA. On Monday, July 30th at 2:00pm, the White House will host a call for the interfaith community on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Jewish Women International is graciously coordinating this call for AJFCA.  If you are available please join the call. Kindly contact Shelley Rood with questions. Thank you for your support.

Conference Call with White House Office on Violence Against Women
Monday, July 30th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Positive Relationship Between Canadian Jewish Social Service Agencies and Summer Camp
Jewish social service agencies in Canada play a role in encouraging the children of their clients to attend Jewish day and overnight camps. Jewish Child and Family Service of Winnipeg fundraises specifically for the children in their care to be able to attend Jewish summer camps. In 2011 the agency spent nearly $25,000 on camping fees and related expenses for their foster children. Some of those funds are designated for one-to-one workers who help special needs children to have a successful camp experience. The agency also assists clients in paying for camping equipment such as sleeping bags and paddles for children attending Jewish day camps.

With generous funding from UJA Federation and some individual donors, JIAS Toronto sends over 100 Jewish children and youth to summer day camps, many of whom would otherwise not be able to experience this opportunity. In Ontario, Hamilton Jewish Social Services process "camperships" for the local Jewish camp and UJA Federation reimburses the camp to cover the cost of the camperships. In Calgary, Jewish Family Service help children attend Chabad camp with funds from private donors. Most Jewish camp goers in Calgary are subsidized by the Integrated Bursary Program. The community services program at Jewish Family Services of Edmonton has long served the function of assessing applicants for the Camp BB Riback and making recommendations to the camp director as to how much a family is able to pay. In Toronto, 330 children received camp subsidies in 2012 through Jewish Family & Child Service's summer camp program. This number includes 47 one-on-one workers who support children with special needs.

In addition to the obvious long-term benefits of children attending Jewish summer camps, there are short-term benefits such as respite for parents with special needs children and the opportunity to spend time running, swimming, playing and learning in our gorgeous natural environment and getting healthy! The very real prospect of decreased funding for these essential programs looms for all of us. Collectively, perhaps we can put out heads together and come up with some ideas to increase funding for these essential programs. Click here to learn more about Jewish summer camps and adult Jewish engagement.
Reinventing the Nonprofit Capital Campaign
In a previous article on About.com, Nell Edgington discussed the idea of capacity capital, an incredibly exciting new funding vehicle for nonprofit organizations. Capacity capital is the money that nonprofits so desperately need to build strong, effective, sustainable organizations that can create more social change. It is a one-time investment of money to add new technology, an evaluation system, a new revenue function-ultimately money to grow or strengthen the organizatisocial velocityon. And it is infinitely more effective at achieving social impact than a traditional bricks and mortar capital campaign.
There are many perceived benefits to a bricks and mortar capital campaign. They can be a vehicle for asking for bigger gifts, a way to get in front of the community and be "noticed," and a method for energizing the board and giving them something to do.

Click here to read about the often huge downsides to these campaigns as well as raising money through a capacity capital campaign, for the things a nonprofit really needs to create more social change.
A Few Good Blogging Tools
Your organization's blog is a place to show a little personality, share resources, highlight your expertise, and engage your constituents. What are the best tools for creating and hosting a blog?

Why do we blog? Personal reasons aside, blogs are particularly useful for organizations as a way to publicize expertise on a topic in your issue area, to educate constituents, promote your work, or share your story from behind-the-scenes. By making your organization easier to find through search engines, a blog is also helpful for promoting your website and online information.
Blogs are a way for nonprofits to show a little personality, too. By having multiple authors-staff members, volunteers or even friends of the organization-you can show a diverse set of perspectives and experiences, adding depth to your online presence. This also provides opportunities for supporters and constituents to share their stories-for example, you could ask a volunteer to write about their experience working with your organization on an important or emotional project.
If you use your blog to recognize the efforts of your supporters or highlight what makes your organization's mission and work special, you can encourage more people to volunteer, donate, or support you in other ways.  
There are many good reasons for nonprofits to keep a blog. Click here to learn about a few good tools to facilitate your blogging.
Gripping Graphics:  2011 VolunteerMatch Annual Report
Annual reports present important information for board members and the community, but often lack imagination. Here is a neat and engaging annual report from VolunteerMatch that is presented as an infographic!

What does the web's largest volunteer engagement network look like? This yvolunteermatch annual report infographicear VolunteerMatch created an infographic to explore its scope, vitality and impact.
The data tell a very human story... about  engagement, participation and generosity. Take a closer look and you will see where volunteers are spending their time, what they are interested in and where they are coming from.

In 2011 you will see that the network helped VolunteerMatch nonprofit members attract $640 million worth of volunteer service on a budget of just under $4.5 million, or $145 dollars in social value for every $1 spent.

Click on this link to view the entire report.
Out of the Closet, Into the Cloud: Case Studies of Hosted IT Infrastructure (An Overview of a Research Project)
[Editor's note: The following is an article written by Laura Quinn, Idealware, based on research conducted for NTEN regarding the impact, characteristics, and considerations of cloud options for nonprofit organizations' IT infrastructures. You can read the individual case studies in addition to this article, which summarizes findings from the case studies.]
There's a lot of buzz about the Cloud being the future of data storage and processing, and more and more Cloud-based options available to users every day, but we wondered to what extent organizations were effectively replacing traditional IT functions and servers with Cloud solutions. Is nonprofit technology moving out of the data closet and into the Cloud?

NTENNTEN set out to find good examples of organizations that had taken staff email, file servers, phone services and other functions that would traditionally be housed onsite and replaced them with applications accessed over the Internet, or with "Cloud applications" like Google Apps, online file sharing or data backup services. To that end, NTEN posted an email to nonprofit technology discussion lists looking for nonprofits willing to share their stories, and contacted a few participants from an NTEN summit on Cloud technologies earlier this year.

From all the responses, 10 diverse organizations were chosen for case studies. Click here to read what types of cloud services nonprofits are successfully using, outsourcing server maintenance and issues, saving time and money, and security in the cloud.
Top Online Marketing Mistakes - and How to Avoid Themjuly 27 newsletter
Prestige Marketing emailed Katya this nifty infographic detailing the top 5 marketing mistakes. Katya wrote, "If I had to apply this to nonprofits, I'd modify this a bit. Our mistake is rarely too much advertising instead of content marketing - because we can't afford ads!"
Here are the top nonprofit variations of these errors:
  1. Me-me messaging: The corollary of too much advertising on social media with for-profits is too much promotional content on social media.  Does your content read like an ad?
  2. Lackluster content:  Not enough new, interesting stories about the difference your work makes in the world.
  3. No personality: Talking like an organization instead of a person working for your cause.
  4. No action: Failing to provide simple, clear and easy calls to action.
  5. Writing off email: It's still powerful and important.  Are you efforts reflecting that? 
Executive Education: The Time for Action is Now
Thanks to David Edell for jumpstarting the conversation about what is possible regarding executive education for the Jewish nonprofit field. Lyn Light Geller, executive director of the department of educational resources and organizational development for UJA-Federation of New York agrees that the time for action is now.
ejewish philanthropy
In New York, UJA-Federation's Wiener Educational Center has been involved in executive education and professional development for many years and has learned some lessons from their current models of professional and executive education for the Jewish not-for-profit sector that may be more broadly applicable.

Their mission - to care for those in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and to strengthen the Jewish people, is foundational to all that we do. We understand that our mission cannot be accomplished without skilled and passionate professional leaders who are positioned to lead us to the next phase of Jewish communal life. And, UJA-Federation's NY has developed a multi-tiered program to recruit, educate and retain our professional leadership. Their strategy includes:
  • Widening Doors.
  • Emerging Professional Leadership. 
  • Strengthening the Middle. 
  • Executive Level Education. 
  • Learning At All Levels.  
There are national and international models to learn from as well. There is indeed some action. What is needed is more conversation between those who talk and those who act; more dialogue between those who act; the development of a national strategy to be implemented on both local and national levels, and the support of our leadership, both professional and lay, to give this the priority that it deserves.

Click here to learn more about the observations UJF-Federation of NY has made regarding their professional development programs for the Jewish nonprofit sector.


AJFCA's 41st Annual Conference 

May 19-21, 2013 
Phoenix, Arizona 


Things are difphoenixferent in the desert. The sky is bigger. The stars are brighter. The sunsets stop you in your tracks.

 It's a feeling that can't be conjured, landscaped or kindled with twinkling bulbs. John Ford knew that. So did Frank
Lloyd Wright. Come to Greater Phoenix and you'll understand, too.   


America's sixth-largest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners and visionaries.  


Projected against this rich backdrop is a panorama of urban sophistication: Resorts and spas that drop jaws and soothe souls. Stadiums and arenas worthy of the world's biggest sports spectacles. Restaurants with inspired cuisine and inspiring patio views. Golf courses that beckon players the year round. Shopping centers as stylish and eclectic as the fashions they house. 

 This is Greater Phoenix - Arizona's urban heart and America's sunniest metropolis.

volunteer initiatives
Coming Soon . . . AJFCA Volunteer Newsletter

Beginning this month AJFCA will release a volunteer newsletter, emailed to anyone on the Volunteer Initiative interest list. The volunteer newsletter will be comprised of all things volunteer including volunteer related articles, reports and surveys as well as member agency volunteer programming updates, and stories of success and lessons learned. This newsletter will be curated as part of the AJFCA and Repair the World Volunteer Initiative, encouraging increased information sharing between the newly formed AJFCA vovolunteer wordlelunteer cohort, volunteer professionals and other interested parties.

Does your agency have a particularly effective method of handling volunteer operations? Is there a program your agency offers that could be replicated by other agencies? Would you like to share a success story with your fellow volunteer managers? Please submit all entries to Jennie Gates Beckman by the 1st of each month to ensure that your post is a part of the new monthly AJFCA Volunteer Newsletter.

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.

Jewish Women Intermnational's Clergy Task Force on Domestic Abuse
As a leader and advocate in the Jewish domestic violence movement, Jewish Women International knows that you are well aware of the important role that clergy can play in supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence. Indeed, you have likely already trained rabbis and cantors in your community on the dynamics of domestic abuse, and the ways they can be a support and a source of healing. JWI is inviting you to nominate a rabbi or cantor from your community to serve for a two-year term on JWI's Clergy Task Force on Domestic Abuse in the Jewish CommunitJWIy.

This Task Force is a multi-denominational group of Jewish clergy committed to ending the cycle of abuse by speaking out publicly about the issue, developing and disseminating resources and training, and providing guidance to colleagues working with families experiencing abuse. Over this past year the Task Force developed two text-based guides about healthy relationships, a 'mi-sheberakh' for families experiencing abuse, held two trainings, and engaged in advocacy. To learn more about the work of the task force please visit http://www.jwi.org/clergy.

The Task Force is chaired by Rabbi Richard Hirsh, executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and Rabbi Marla Hornsten, Temple Israel, West Bloomfield, Michigan. It is currently composed of 16 members and with plans to expand to a group of 25 members. There is particular interest in adding rabbis and cantors who are leaders in their communities and who work in diverse settings such as college campuses, chaplaincies, summer camps, youth groups and nonprofits. The Task Force meets by teleconference, with plans for an in-person meeting in 2013.

Nominations should include the name of the rabbi or cantor, denomination or affiliation, contact information, and a brief description of why you are nominating this candidate. JWI looks forward to receiving your nomination so that they can move forward with this exciting effort. Please email nominations to Deborah Rosenbloom and contact her with any questions.


Strong Start Amended Funding Opportunity Announcement

We encourage potential applicants to review the amended FOA.

As part of the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative, ("Strong Start") CMS has released a funding opportunity for providers, states, managed care organizations, and conveners to test the effectiveness of specific enhanced prenatal care approaches to reduce preterm births in women enrolled in Medicaid. The goal of the initiative is to determine if these approaches to care can reduce the rate of preterm births, improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and newborns and decrease the anticipated total cost of medical care over the first year of life for children born to mothers enrolled in Medicaid and/or CHIP.


CMS received a high level of interest in the Strong Start Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA"), and also received numerous questions and suggestions about this initiative from organizations throughout the country interested in testing new models of prenatal care. In order to address concerns about the requirements for a successful application, CMS has revised the Strong Start FOA.


The key changes to the FOA are as follows:


CMS revised the FOA to remove the requirement for States to link vital records and Medicaid claims data in the Strong Start funding opportunity. Instead, applicants must be able to provide gestational age and birthweight data on births of intervention infants and from a baseline period that spans at least 2 years prior to the start of the intervention; thereby, removing the requirement to supply a Letter of Agreement from the applicant's state(s).

CMS is committed to a rigorous model evaluation and, therefore, will pursue linked State vital records and Medicaid claims and encounter data through a parallel effort to the Strong Start funding opportunity.


In order to make these program changes, CMS has extended the program timelines and eliminated the Letter of Intent (LOI) requirement in order to allow potential applicants the opportunity to modify or develop applications that are consistent with the new information. The new application deadline for the Strong Start funding opportunity is August 9, 2012 with optional LOIs due August 8, 2012. The anticipated award date is October 5, 2012.


More information about the Strong Start initiative is available here.  


Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston is excited to share a new report, Promoting Aging-Friendly Communities in Massachusetts: Experiences of a Neighborhood Model in Brookline. The report describes one three-year demonstration project addressing older adults' desire to remain living in the community for as long as possible. The success of key elements of the project served as a catalyst for a town-wide aging in community model, Brookline Community Aging Network.

jfcs boston  

This report is a must read for those who want to know more about what is happening on the ground to engage and care for older adults in the community. As the number of older adults grows significantly over the next decades, there is a real need for information about the successes and challenges in creating aging-friendly communities.

For more information please contact Kathy Burnes, Project Manager, JF&CS Geriatric Institute at 781-693-5573.

On July 8th about 100 alumni of one of Jewish Child Care Associations' predecessor organizations, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and their guests, held their last gathering at a farewell buffet. It was a cheerful yet poignant affair--the culmination of decades of meetings, social get-togethers, and publication of The Rising Bell, the official newsletter of the HOA.
Alumni generosity was demonstrated with the distribution of their remaining funds to three nonprofit organizations: Jewish Child Care Association, UJA-Federation of New York, and the jccaAmerican Jewish Historical Society, to "perpetuate the memory of the HOA as far into the future as possible." Several alumni spoke of their experiences at HOA and old friends reminisced with each other about their time there.

In 1860, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum was created to "aid the sick, needy, widowed and orphaned of New York's Jewish community." It was the city's first Jewish orphanage, on West 29th Street, with 30 children. It moved several times thereafter. The HOA closed its doors in 1941.
Experience Asheville through Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina's raffle, 'Mountains of Fun' Vacation.
jfs asheville The raffle prize includes a week in a beautiful vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina, and a variety of restaurants and activities in the Asheville area. The prize is estimated to be worth around $3000, and the tickets are only $18 each!

A maximum of 1,000 raffle entries will be sold. Raffle sales will close on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 12:00 midnight, or when 1,000 entries have been sold, whichever comes first. The winner will be notified by phone call, email, and USPS mail. The winner will have one year from the date of the drawing to utilize the items included in the raffle prize.
Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry (SHCFP) Director Becky Abrams was a guest on a recent edition of "The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show" earlier this month, where she and Pantry volunteer, local celebrity chef and former "Hell's Kitchen" contestant Elise Wims talked about hejfcs pittsburghalthy eating. Becky spoke to the work of SHCFP in ensuring Pantry clients are offered a continuous wide variety of healthy items, while Elise spoke about utilizing great-tasting and inexpensive ingredients, including seasonal produce, that can easily be found on SHCFP and supermarket shelves. Elise also demonstrated how to create a quick and tasty gourmet meal while still remaining budget-conscious.
The segment aired on Saturday, July 7th at 6:30am on The CW and on Sunday, July 8th at 6am on KDKA. To view the segment online, click here


10 Ways to Supercharge Your Online Fundraising Campaigns
Most online fundraising begins and ends with email. The vast majority of donations made online are in response to an email from the charity asking for a donation. But many charities are skipping simple steps that can seriously boost response to email fundraising appeals!


Are you pre-populating donation forms, or making your prospects and donors re-enter their address every time they donate? Does the branding on your landing froglooppage match the branding in your email? Or do you use a generic landing page for all donation appeals?

Join the webinar for a deep dive into tactics that you can use today to quickly improve results form your email fundraising appeals. Learn about:
  • how to boost your fundraising results through basic, but critical tactics such as...
  • setting up pre-populated landing pages
  • conditional content in emails and landing pages
  • timely list growth...and much more! 
10 Ways to Supercharge Your Online Fundraising Campaigns

Tuesday, July 31st, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE  

State Progress on Balancing Incentive Program and Community First Choice Option
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides new opportunities for states to improve access Medicaid Home and Community Based Services. Two such opportunities are the Balancing Incentive Program and Community First Choice Option.
Six sncoa logotates have now been approved for the Balancing Incentive Program and two states have applied for the Community First Choice Option. Many others are considering these programs. 
This webinar will bring together state Medicaid officials and advocates to highlight progress and provide  insights to assist advocates in other states.    


State Progress on Balancing Incentive Program and Community First Choice Option 

Friday, August 3rd, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE  ______________________________________________________________________________________

Webinars on the Health Care Law Hosted by the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

hhs logo

Regional Conference Calls


Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) - August 8th, 11:00 am ET - REGISTER HERE


To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred date from the list above and submit the necessary information. Please email any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov. For more information, go to www.hhs.gov/partnerships.

AJFCA Group Purchasing Program 

Join PurchasingPoint for a webinar that will provide a brief overview of the program, tour of the PurchasingPoint portal, and examples of vendor discounts and sign-up processes. Learn how to start saving money with PurchasingPoint.
purchasing point
AJFCA Group Purchasing Program
Wednesday, August 8th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

To get a head start go to http://ajfca.purchasingpoint.org and enter the following invitation code: ajfca620. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  

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