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Friday, November 16, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and colleagues in Israel. 
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman

At the Opening Abraham's Tent conference this week (see below), we heard a number of moving stories about children with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities who had been denied opportunities to fully participate in the Jewish community. Stories of children dismissed from schools for "behavioral issues" or being unable to find a synagogue willing to provide bar and bat mitzvah training made us question the depth of the values of our community.

In this week's parashah, Toldot, we read the story of the very different twins, Jacob and Esau. The two struggled with one another from the womb to the end of their years. Esau is an experiential learner, he needs to go out and do things to grasp their meaning, and he is impulsive to a fault. Jacob is more of a scholar, a conceptual thinker who is able to problem-solve and develop a plan, and who is able to work methodically to accomplish his goals. Jacob is deliberate, patient, and able to take and follow directions. Esau is all about immediate gratification and acting on emotion.

Should two so different children being treated identically by their parents? Of course not, but they should both be treated with fairness. Fairness means giving our children what they each individually need, not treating them all in the same way. It is appropriate to make accommodations for particular needs. It is our responsibility to ensure an inclusive community for all our children.   

Shabbat Shalom
OpeningOpening Abraham's Tent
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, over 130 representatives of the national Jewish community met in Baltimore for the conference, Opening Abraham's Tent: The Disability Inclusion Initiative. AJFCA CEO Lee Sherman and representatives of nine AJFCA member agencies participated in the conference sponsored by The Jewish Federations of North America, the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund, the Jewish Funders Network, and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, Chair of the National Governors Association, delivered the keynote address and introduced his initiative for increasing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Linda Burger, CEO of Houston JFS and AJFCA Board Member, and Mari Forbush, COO of JF&CS of Minneapolis, participated in a panel discussion on how we ensure people with disabilities and their families are treated with respect and dignity and are able to participate in our communities in meaningful ways.

A tremendous amount of energy was generated during the conference and critical resources and ideas were exchanged. AJFCA committed to helping to facilitate this growing national conversation on disabilities in our communities, so look for more updates in the coming months. 
AJFCA and Hurricane Sandy Relief
Once ajfca logo-resizedagain, AJFCA has stepped up in a time of great tragedy to represent and assist our JFCS agencies. Below is an email AJFCA Board Chair, Barry Klickstein received from Jen Weiss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey on November 12th, which speaks for itself.
In response to the email below from Jen Weiss, Barry stated:  "I think we can all be proud of the work that Lee Sherman has done and is continuing to do on behalf of our member agencies in response to this disaster."
Jen's email:  "I am currently at the JFNA General Assembly in Baltimore. As you are aware, hurricane Sandy has impacted NY and NJ in unprecedented ways. The needs are tremendous.
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Today I attended a session with other NY and NJ executives for emergency issues as related to the hurricane. Lee sits on the JFNA emergency task force and was an advocate for our JFCS agencies to receive emergency funds this week to help us help our communities. I believe NJ received over $350,000 by his efforts. Today, in front of national leadership from JFNA Lee was credited for his advocacy for the JFCS agencies affected. In fact, due to his diligence  and advocacy, the JFCS agencies were recommended to be the central figure for disaster work. This was JFNA who suggested and supported this notion 100%. Representatives from NOLA and the Gulf Coast concurred, that AJFCA is the central force for all work and response to be coordinated in the face of disaster.

It was a very proud moment for me as an AJFCA board member,  to see Lee in such a self assured role and honored in such a manner by those around the country and more importantly for those of us in the throws of Sandy. "
Update on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts
JFNA has distributed close to $650,000 to Federations in the form of grants for immediate humanitarian assistance, filtered primarily through the Jewish Family Service network. Of those funds, 90% have been distributed to those in need. Additional updates on the situation following Superstorm Sandy are available here.
Human Rights Campaign Releases First-Ever Index of LGBT Inclusion within a Faith-based Community
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released today its first-ever index of inclusion within a faith-based community. The Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI) provides benchmarks for gauging, and resources for improving, LGBT inclusivity policies and practices of North American Jewish communal organizations. The entire report is available at www.hrc.org/joei.
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Key findings from the index create a preliminary snapshot of how a broad range of Jewish organizations-from national umbrella and advocacy groups to local nonprofits and synagogues-address LGBT diversity and inclusion in three categories of practice: organizational inclusion efforts, community/client engagement and workplace policies.
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AJFCA worked with HRC to help them develop the JOEI survey and also promoted it to our agencies. AJFCA had several Jewish social service agencies that participated in the JOEI survey. A list of participating agencies can be found in the appendix of the report.
NCOA Sponsored Webinars:  Positive Impact on Older Americans
AJFCA and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are working collectively toward positive impact on older adults in American communities. As part of our partnership, NCOA is currently presenting a three-part webinar series to AJFCA member agencies. The first in the series, Benefits Access for Older Adults, was held this week. Participating agencies heard a review of the various federal benefits that are available to their older adult clients, and learned how the benefit systems interact with one another. The presenter discussed the population of "dual eligibles," those clients who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, and how these benefits can complement one another. Resources shared included an online tool for determining benefit eligibility, Benefits Enrollment Centers,which are located across the US, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) and an online resource library. To listen to a recording of this webinar or view the PowerPoint, please click here. We hope many of our members will join us for the second and third webinars in this series (see below). Please email Megan for registration details.ncoa logo

Making Wise Decisions With Home Equity: New Tools for a New Retirement Reality
Tuesday, November 27th, 2:00pm ET
Benefits Access for Older Adults: Helping Clients Find Programs to Boost Their Economic Security
Tuesday, December 18th, 3:00pm ET
November - National Adoption Awareness Month
Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

2012 is an exciting year for National Adoption Month. As it always has been and as it always will be, the focus for November is finding loving, permanent homes for the foster children who are waiting to be adopted. But this year marks a modern twist--social media and digital efforts. This year's theme is: "National Adoption Month--Virtually: Adoption in the Digital Age." The U.S. Department of Human Services knows that social media and social networking allow information to be shared easily, quickly, and effectively, and this month's focus is on sharing, educating, and informing others about the 104,000 foster children in the United States who are currently waiting to find their forever families. Continue reading here.
The Jewish Community and Social Anxiety
On November 7th the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety released a question to Moment magazine's "Elephant in the Room" Initiative and Contest readers and to the broader North American Jewish community that addresses an under-covered topic:  How has anxiety affected you, your family or the Jewish people in general?
AJFCA is partnering with the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety and encourages member agencies to respond to the above question by 5pm ET on Friday, December 7th. The three winners will receive iPads and their responses will be published in The Elephant in the Room section of Moment magazine. Click here for more information.
Food Stamps Access Program
The Robin Hood Foundation is funding an innovative pilot using technology to reduce program costs for assisting low-income families to access food stamps (SNAP) and invites your agency to participate in their pilot program.
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The National Human Service Assembly (NHSA) became aware of this opportunity though their Bridging the Gap work, an initiative aimed at ensuring that frontline human service employees know about and have ready access to earned benefits. This Robin Hood Foundation pilot program offers the opportunity for your agency to quickly and efficiently screen employees for SNAP at no cost and with minimal human resources effort. Find detailed information about the pilot program here.

If your organization would like to participate in the pilot or learn more, please reach out to Michelle Henry.
Global global day of jewish learningDay of Jewish Learning
The Global Day of Jewish Learning brings the Jewish people together once a year to celebrate our shared Jewish text through community based learning.The guiding values of the Global Day of Jewish Learning are: fostering Jewish unity, empowering individuals through increased Jewish knowledge, and creating meaningful shared experiences.
Global Day 2012
On Sunday November 18, 2012, 300 Jewish communities across the world will join together for the third annual Global Day of Jewish Learning. The theme of this year's Global Day and curriculum is Jewish concepts of blessing and gratitude. Click here to register your community today.
2012 State of Nonprofit Data ReportNTEN
In April 2012 NTEN worked with Idealware to conduct a survey of nonprofits about their relationships with data, and what the two organizations found was a large dichotomy-either nonprofits were doing a lot with their metrics or not much at all.
In addition, NTEN and Idealware learned that internal factors--such as staff capacity, expertise, and budget--as well as external demands and stakeholders-including funders; local, state and federal governments; donors; clients; and community groups-also hinder an organization's ability to make strategic use of data they have collected. Click here to download the 2012 State of Nonprofit Data Report.
Certified in Volunteer Administration Credential
Registration opens for individuals seeking to earn the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) credential in 2013.
This international, competency-based program recognizes practitioners with at least three years of experience in the field of volunteer resources management. Originally developed decades ago by the Association for Volunteer Administration, the CVA program is now sponsored by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Registration for the next cycle will remain open until March 1, 2013; early bird registration by December 31, 2012. Learn more here.
Myth: Long Term Care is Just for Nursing Homes
Originally, the primary reason Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) was created was because it would help cover the high costs of a nursing home. But over the years, the policies have changed dramatically. Now LTCI is a comprehensive product that helps cover the cost of a variety long term care services. November is Long Term Care Awareness Month. Learn more about LTCI here.
New Funds for Elder Abuse Prevention ncoa logo
The Administration for Community Living has awarded $5.7 million to five states and three tribal organizations to test interventions designed to prevent elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.The initiative helps implement the Elder Justice Act, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. 
Three Tips for Driving a Successful Annual Appeal
Since WealthEngine knows how important annual fundraising appeals are to nonprofits, they wanted to share some important tips that can improve your success. Three tips in particular stand out: wealth engine
  • Segment your donor list - Screen and rate your existing donors and prospects, adjust asks based on capacity to give, and watch your average gift size soar
  • Find the right prospects - Profile your best donors and create a list of high net worth prospects based on the shared characteristics of these donors
  • Leverage VIP relationships - Identify the connections of your board and other VIP insiders, then ask your insiders to share a personal note on the appeal letter to the new prospects  
WealthEngine is ready and willing to help you build a successful annual appeal, using these techniques or a variety of others. 
Domeajfca logo-resizedstic Violence Professionals Webinar  
Join representatives from Jewish Women International (JWI) and Shelley Rood, AJFCA's Washington Director for aJWIn AJFCA hosted conference call designed for our domestic violence professionals on Wednesday, November 28th at 3:00pm ET. Click here to register. Call in details will be emailed to you as we near the call date. If you'd like to join the AJFCA's Domestic Violence Professionals Member Forum please email Sandy.
The Business of Social Work: Marketing as a Second Language
We often hear that one of the most valuable parts of being a member of AJFCA is the opportunity for professionals to exchange information and ideas with one another. To further those opportunities, AJFCA is pleased to launch the AJFCA Marketing/Communications Practice Group. The goal of the group is to enable AJFCA member agencies' marketing and communications professionals to forge deeper connections with one another, share resources, exchange program information and learn about advances in the field.
Please join us for our first Marketing/Communications Practice Group webinar, "The Business of Social Work:  Marketing as a Second Language." 
Thursday, November 29th, 3:00pm ET
If you are interested in participating in this webinar please email Megan by Monday, November 26th.

Under Covered Topics
I've been researching the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety as both a new partner organization and potential 2013 AJFCA Annual Conference sponsor. The Andrew Kukes Foundation's mission is to build awareness of social anxiety and bring the true complexities of the disorder to the forefront. Continue reading . . .

Megan Manelli
AJFCA Manager of Membership Services & Communications

The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (JFEDSNJ) and its family of six agencies announced the launch of the "Hurricane Sandy Community-Wide Relief Project" on November 8th. Thsamost jfcse agencies will work in conjunction with area synagogues and the Tri-County Board of Rabbis to collect donations of food and clothing for November 18th delivery to those in desperate need in Atlantic county.
Jennifer Weiss, CEO for the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and AJFCA Board Member, says, "There is an unprecedented need in our South Jersey coastal community for food, clothing and basic necessities. We cannot sit idle as our neighbors struggle. By combining the strength of our Federation agencies, local synagogues and residents, we can help to deliver assistance and recovery to those in need. This is bigger than ourselves, and collectively we hope we can bring warmth and peace of mind to those hardest hit by Sandy."

The unity of all the organizations toward a combined relief effort is a testament to the power of community cooperation during a time of need.
Through the Human Resources Administration/NYC - a request came out last wejbfcsek for agencies to assume staffing and case management for various regions of New York hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services (JBFCS) submitted their application and was notified less than 24 hours later that their proposal was accepted. JBFCS began their work at the Staten Island Restoration Center on Sunday and continued for a full day Tuesday. JBFCS CEO, Paul Levine shares a report from the trenches.
In Tuesday'sjfcs pittsburgh edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, JoAnn White, Director of Family Hope Connection (FHC), Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's licensed adoption and foster care agency was interviewed to discuss the post-adoption services and support FHC provides for adoptive families. Several families who used FHC's post-adoption services after finalizing their international adoptions were interviewed as well. Click here to read more. View the article here
Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta is the proud recipient of the 2012 Managing for  Excellence Award, given by the The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. JFCS CEO Gary Miller and President Seth Cohen accepted the award from Community Foundation CEO Alicia Phillip at the Community Foundation's annual ceremonies on November 14th.  
NCOA2012 Webinar Series for AJFCA:  Ensuring the Economic Security of Older Adults
The National Council On Aging is hosting a complimentary webinar series exclusively for AJFCA member agencies focused on ensuring the economic security of older adults. Please email Megan foncoa logor additional details including registration information. 
Making Wise Decisions With Home Equity: New Tools for a New Retirement Reality
Tuesday, November 27th, 2:00pm ET
(Previously scheduled for October 30th. Rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.)

Savvy Saving Seniors - A Toolkit for Money Management from NCOA
Tuesday, December 18th, 3:00pm ET
How To Report Back to Donors:  From Newsletters to Annual Reports 
We know from donor research and practical experience that donors want to hear what you did with their first gift before they are likely to give you a second one.That means you need to figure out ways to share your results and success stories with donors throughout the year, so you can ask for that additional support.
An annual report is important, but it's just one piece of your donor communications plan.During this free webinar, you'll get a menu of more than a dozen different ways that you can report back to your donors, so they'll be ready to do even more to help next time you ask.
How To Report Back to Donors:  From Newsletters to Annual Reports
Monday, November 19th, 11:00am ET - REGISTER HERE
Meet the Authors: Marketing Your Organization and Yourself
In their books, Brandraising and How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career, authors Sarah Durham and Rosetta Thurman challenge somNTENe of the prevailing wisdom about marketing both yourself and your organization. Join these authors for a discussion of the excellent practices for marketing yourself and your organization to improve engagement and accelerate your career.
Meet the Authors: Marketing Your Organization and Yourself
Tuesday, November 20th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
See what the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) shows its funders, and learn why organizational leadership attributes consistently successful fundraising to its access to real-time data, continuous improvement and the ability to show outcomes through the use of ETO Software.
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Learn how ETO Software tracks service delivery and client outcomes - and manages performance - in sites throughout the United States. This webinar will be particularly valuable for senior leadership, development staff and board members.

Why Performance Management is LISC's Most Valuable Fundraising Tool
Tuesday, November 20th, 3:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Let's Move Faith and Communities 
Join this Let's Move Faith and Communities webinar to learn about the role of faith and community organizations as catalysts for health and wellness, and hear from faith leaders as they share hhs logohow they have successfully established programs for healthy living in their communities.
If you have any questions, please email partnerships@hhs.gov or call 202-358-3595.  

Make Your Community a Source of Health and Wellness
Thursday, November 29th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
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