AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Agency Highlights  


$2.4 Million Gift  to Transform Ruth & Norman Rales JFS 

  ruth rales jfs


"With this new gift from the Rales family, the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services agency's budget will increase by 20%," said Danielle Hartman, President and CEO of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services. "This donation allows us to create the new 'Center for Families & Children,' which will reach an underserved demographic in our community. Further, we will launch four new programs under the Center's umbrella. Thanks to the generosity of the Rales family, we are now prepared to support and nurture the growing needs of our South Florida community."  Read the full announcement here.

Social Justice Dream Team to Lead HIAS


HIAS, the leading international Jewish organization dedicated to welcoming and
protecting the rights of refugees, has announced three additions to its senior management team with
leaders from the Jewish social justice world, who will join recently appointed President and CEO Mark
Hetfield. Opening a new chapter in the nonprofit's 130-year history, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn is assuming the newly created role of Vice President for Community Engagement; Riva Silverman will join HIAS as Vice President for External Affairs; and Melanie Nezer is being promoted to Vice President for Policy and Advocacy.
Read the full press release here. 

JCFS Launches Jewish Center for Addiction 

jcfs chicago  

Last month, JCFS Chicago launched a new program, the Jewish Center for Addiction.  The Center's agenda includes educational, preventative, and recovery programs, with an initial strong focus on awareness and education.   The main message the center's manager, Beth Fishman, hopes to get across for anyone who is struggling with addiction is "there's light at the end of the tunnel. I want to lead other people in the Jewish community to see that light. The main thing is, there is hope."  Read more here.

JFS LA Receives $40,000 Grant to Fund Domestic Violence Programs



Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles received a grant of $40,000 from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to help fund counseling services 
for children housed at shelters for victims of domestic violence.
The shelters, part of the JFS Family Violence Project, provide refuge and support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children, helping their day-to-day lives become safer and more secure. JFS operates three domestic violence shelters in the region. Continue reading here.

AJFCA's  Lisa Budlow Assumes  Role of Chief Program Officer

  Lisa Budlow  


This month, Lisa Budlow, who has served in the role of Director of Programs for AJFCA since May 2010, has assumed the newly-created role of Chief Program Officer.  As AJFCA continues to grow,  and Lee has spent more time working  with external national and international partners, Lisa has taken more responsibility for overseeing and implementing all of our many program areas.  In her new role, Lisa will oversee all internal matters, striving to maximize the quality and value of services to our members.
Please Consider AJFCA Among Your 2013 Year-End Giving Priorities!
ajfca logo-resized  
The Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies (AJFCA) unites the Jewish human services agencies doing critical work on behalf of individuals and families every day across the U.S. and Canada.  It is our responsibility to continue to make the world a better place by giving a voice to those less able to speak for themselves. A vital AJFCA assures that our member agencies can provide the services that improve individual lives and their communities each and every day. 
We know that you share our passion.   
We need your support.

Join us with a gift that will enable our network to:
*Engage more young adults to volunteer at agencies.
*Create network-wide momentum for excellence in older adult services.
*Convene conversations among professionals in specialty areas (addictions, disabilities, domestic violence, seniors) who collaborate on best practices in service.
*Advocate for resources in service to our most vulnerable clients, including the aging Holocaust Survivors.
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December 20, 2013 
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D'Var Torah
Lee I. Sherman

Recently, I interjected myself in my wife's book club because it was held in our house (and I figured it was a good excuse to have a glass of wine or two).  The group was discussing a book of short stories, and, essentially, most of them did not have a positive experience reading the stories.  As I listened, what became apparent was that these readers just did not gravitate to the medium of a short story, it was just not developed enough for their taste.  Most of them enjoyed going deep into the lives of characters when they read fiction, something they felt was much better done in a novel.


As I was reading the opening verses of this week's parashah, Sh'mot, I couldn't help but thinking about how much was packed into so few lines of prose.  The stage is set by recounting the growth of the number of Jewish people in Egypt, Pharaoh's concerns about the threat these people may pose, and his edict to drown their male children.  Then, we learn of the birth of a male child to a Jewish couple, and after her efforts to hide this child for three months, how the mother, Yocheved, decides to make a basket for him and place him in the Nile River to meet, hopefully, a fate other than death.  How powerful and far-reaching are these few lines. And as for character development, I cannot stop thinking about all that must have been going through Yocheved's mind as she first protected her son in her own home, and then launched him off on his own to an uncertain future.


Yocheved's dilemma is something that all parents experience eventually.  Not in such a truncated time frame, but eventually as our children leave home for uncertain, perhaps exciting, futures.  Just as Yocheved nurtured her son, even for such a brief time, we nurture our children to face the unexpected.  Yes, this is a short story, but one that contains much to contemplate and enrich the reader.


Shabbat Shalom.    

Biden Proposes U.S. Aid For Holocaust Survivors: Matching Grants Could Provide Up to $30 Million in Relief for Aging Victims

Vice President Joe Biden announced outlines of the new initiative last week. The administration has been meeting since last spring with several Jewish organizations - including the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), the JDC, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies - to understand the magnitude of the problem. 
Lee Sherman, President and CEO of the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies in Baltimore, said "most of this money will flow through our member agencies that are currently supporting survivors. They know the needs."  Read the full article here.

Taking Positive Steps Toward Medicare and Behavioral Health Reform


Last week, the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee voted to move forward with  legislation (HR 2810) calling for a permanent repeal to the Medicare's doc fix and therapy cap provisions.   If passed by both chambers and enacted by the President, these long sought reforms will become reality and improve finance and delivery of care to our partner agencies and the Medicare beneficiaries that depend on our network of agencies every day.  Read the full announcement from JFNA's Jonathan Westin.  Please feel free to contact Shelley Rood, AJFCA's Washington Director, for further information. 

Cotler to Lead Bend the Arc Through New Phase of Growth; Alan van Capelle to Depart in February
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice proudly announces that Stosh Cotler will take over as the new CEO of the organization next year.  Stepping into the role from her current position as Executive Vice
 President of Bend the Arc, Cotler will bring twenty years of leadership experience as an educator, trainer, and organizer within social and economic justice movements to the position. Bend the Arc's board of directors voted unanimously to approve the transition earlier this month, and in February 2014 Cotler will replace departing CEO Alan van Capelle, who is leaving to become CEO of The Educational Alliance.  Continue reading here.

National Assembly Brief on How Nonprofits Can Help Their Own Lower-Wage Workers


The National Human Services Assembly, in an innovativenational human servcies assembly logo demonstration project funded by the Ford Foundation, presents the case for nonprofit employers to provide "work support services" that connect low-wage workers to government benefits and work supports, such as food stamps, tax credits, and other assistance. Frontline workers who received these services reported better concentration at work, less work time lost, and improved ability to care for their families. Although economic forces beyond nonprofit human services organizations' control limit what agencies can pay, employees who enrolled in work support programs obtained on average $2,500 per year. The employers benefited, too, in terms of increased productivity as well as reductions in absenteeism and turnover.

Read the full report brief here. 

CMS Health Insurance Marketplace: New Content on Enrollment

CMS has published three new pieces of content on HealthcmsCare.gov that may be useful if you receive Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment questions.  The content gives information on how to proceed after you have started an applicationrelevant advice if you are stuck at certain points of the application, and appealing a marketplace decision, including expedited appeals.

Starting a Movement Toward Higher Performing Nonprofits

Starting a Movement Toward Higher Performing Nonprofits, December 18, 2013, Social Velocity, by Nell Edgington.


This week, Social Solutions, Child Trend and the Urban Institute hosted the "After the Leap" Conference, building on the momentum created by Mario Morino in his 2011 book, Leap of Reason, and the companion book, Working Hard & Working Well, published by David Hunter t

social velocity

his year.  The conference was an attempt to bring the nonprofit, philanthropic and government leaders who are on the cutting edge of the movement to create a higher-performing social sector together to, as Mario put it "grow a critical mass who can mobilize for greater change." Continue reading Nell's impressions of this conference and the goals that emerged from it.

Five Tips for Building High-Performing Nonprofit Leadership Teams

bridgespanFive Tips for Building High-Performing Nonprofit Leadership Teams, December 12, 2013, The Bridgespan Group, by Nicki Roth.


Many nonprofit CEOs find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of having to manage group dynamics amidst organizational needs.  A great team is the sum of all of its moving parts. Focusing on ways to build those parts outside of routine meetings will eventually lead to a group of people who look forward to working together and get things done. Click here for five suggestions for building a high-performing team.


3 Ways to Help Donors Recruit Donors

3 Ways to Help Donors Recruit Donors, November 26, 2013, Network for Good, by Liz Ragland


Nonprofit 911 webinar guest, Darian Rodriguez, is a big proponent of leveraging your organization's year-end momentum to boost individual giving. Promoting your cause on #GivingTuesday is a great start, but you can take this a step further by empowering donors to promote your work on their own all year long.  Continue reading here

Why Matchy-Matchy Donor Communication is Always in Style

Why Matchy-Matchy Donor Communication is Always in Style, November 5, 2013, Network for Good, by Melissa Raimondi

network for good


If a supporter donates on your website, does she see the same call to action when she visits your Facebook page? If your messaging doesn't match, your potential donor may be confused and second-guess giving to your nonprofit.


Help your fans keep giving with these four tips to consistent donor communication! 

Repair the World Announces Results of Its Survey: "The State of Volunteering in North 
Repair the World
American Jewish Organizations"


This is the first major assessment of the state of volunteering in the Jewish not-for-profit community. More than 200 Jewish not-for-profit organizations from across the

country participated in this

survey and these results establish important baselines for the field. The results also highlight opportunities for Jewish not-for-profits to make use of volunteering best practices.  The top-level findings generally support the hypothesis that volunteering programs provide more benefits for organizations that support them with intentionality and investment.


AJFCA is proud that over one quarter of the total responses to this survey were from our member agencies.  We thank the volunteer professionals who took the time to contribute to this ground-breaking survey.


Read the full report here.

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AJFCA Wishes You 
a Happy New Year.  
May You Find Peace and Fulfillment in 2014.
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