AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Internal Controls - Five Critical Things to Keep In Mind

(Editor's note: Financial Matters is a regular column designed to provide insight and tools to assist with nonprofit financial management. AJFCA's new corporate partner, CliftonLarsonAllen, an accounting and consulting firm with offices across the country, provides the commentary for this Financial Matters column.)

As the end of summer is upon us I always think of returning to school, which would involve about a month as a refresher for what was forgotten over the summer. I always thought I knew the material, I just had forgotten that I knew it. So with that in mind, here is a quick fall refresher on internal controls for your organization:

* People who do accounting, or have access to change accounting records, should not be check signers.

* Pay attention to credit cards -- When we see fraud in an organization, credit cards are almost always one of the ways it occurs.

* All significant accounts and every cash and investment account should be reconciled monthly. There should be a checklist for your monthly close process and every reconciliation should have a second person review it.

* Expect to see a comprehensive set of financial statements each month that includes a balance sheet and statement of activity for the entire organization.

* Budgets are critical for detection of problems and errors, so you should see budget-to-actual reports (month-to-date and year-to-date). If something looks wrong there is a good possibility it is wrong. Make sure explanations make sense and there is follow up - and don't be shy about asking to see support for those explanations.

To learn more about steps you can take to prevent fraud within your organization, as well as other finance and operations topics impacting the sector, visit CliftonLarsonAllen or contact Harold Parsons at 612-397-3058.


Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston has been providing Geriatric Care Management Services since 1999. The program began with start-up money from their local federation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

Since its inception the program has grown rapidly and in 2008 was rebranded as Your Elder Experts, complete with a separate, sleeker, focused website that gives the program the look of a private practice. The program's credibility is based on the expert care management staff, consisting primarily of Masters prepared social workers and other clinicians all with 10-30 years of experience in providing services to older adults. Your Elder Experts' staff has a wide range of expertise in older adult services including mental health, chronic disease management, medical social work, dementia and long term care.

jfcs boston
Your Elder Experts serves an average of 350 clients a year, with referrals coming from within the agency, agency reputation, area professionals including doctors and elder law attorneys and an ever growing number of word of mouth referrals. They have the additional benefit of referrals directly from agency programs such as the Parkinson's Family Support program and the Alzheimer's/Related disorders Family Support Programs. To learn more about Your Elder Experts visit the website or contact the Program Director Karen Wasserman.

Ruth & Norman Rales JFS Facilitates Dental Assistance for Local Holocaust Survivors

ruth rales jfs
Alex Varnai, 93, of Delray Beach, like many Holocaust survivors, needed help arranging for basic dental work he had to have done. But, thanks to a new program, Varnai was able to get his teeth cleaned for free.

The new program is called Project DASH, short for Dental Assistance for Survivors of the Holocaust. It started in May in South Palm Beach County, as administered by Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Learn more about the program here.
Calls & Webinars

Visit  AJFCA's Calendar
to learn more about free calls and webinars. For more information login to the Member Resources section of the AJFCA website, followed by Webinars. Contact Megan at 410-843-7327 with questions.
 Breast Cancer Survivors: What You Need to Know About Nutrition and Exercise
Sept., 10th, 8pm ET REGISTER HERE

PPACA Compliance Made Easy
Sept., 23rd, 12pm ET

Implementing an Electronic Case Record System: Outcomes Management as a Key Factor
Sept., 23rd, 2pm ET
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September 5, 2014 
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D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman 


Last Thursday evening, several of us from AJFCA had the opportunity to meet with the individuals who comprise our first contingent of VISTA participants dedicated to working in some of our communities on behalf of Holocaust survivors (see the article below). It was a festive evening as we celebrated the launch of the initiation of this project and the seriousness of purpose which each of the VISTA participants bring to their year of service. For those of us who have been working on this project over the past year, including our partners at the White House, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Jewish Federations of North America, it was exhilarating to see the results of our efforts as embodied by the passionate volunteers who will spread out across the country to bring their energy to this critical cause.

As I sat last week listening to the stories of each of our VISTAs, I thought back to a piece Lisa Budlow and I wrote a few years ago called "Jewish Family Service Agencies Collectively Perpetuate the Jewish Way." Among the Jewish traditions and values we discussed were tzedakah and tikkun olam. We wrote about the twin obligations of the Jewish community to act to create justice in the world and to work toward perfecting the world, setting it right, whole, and the way it should be. And we proposed that Jewish family service agencies serve as the collective response of the Jewish community to work toward justice and a whole and perfect world, as they are the vehicles through which each of us can meet our obligations.

The AJFCA VISTA contingent is a diverse group, from a variety of religious, racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds. But, they all share the core Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam, and we are so grateful they will be assisting and motivating our communities to build a better world for Holocaust survivors and for all of us.

Shabbat Shalom.
Child Survivor Fund Established claims conference logo
The Claims Conference has successfully negotiated a $250 million landmark agreement with the German government.  As a result of last week's negotiations, a new fund will be established, to be administered by the Claims Conference, for Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. This joint fund will provide support to Shoah survivors around the world who lived under Nazi occupation and will enable them to receive symbolic financial compensation for the traumas suffered during their childhood. Read more about the fund here.
Purple Purse Challenge
Jewish Women International has been chosen to participate in the Purple Purse Challenge, the Allstate Foundation's national campaign to get people talking about domestic abuse - specifically financial abuse, which is the primary reason domestic violence survivors stay in or return to abusive relationships. September 2nd through October 3rd, JWI is asking you to give what you can toward this effort. Learn more here.
Keshet Awarded $250,000 for Inclusion Training  

Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life, has been awarded $250,000 by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The funding will support the expansion of Keshet's signature training, The Keshet Leadership Project, to Jewish organizations in New York and Los Angeles over the next two years. Click here to learn more about The Leadership Project and funding.

Dashboard Confessional: The Value of a Nonprofit Self-Reporting Tool NPQ
The issue of how much nonprofits should spend on fundraising has been a topic of heated discussion for a long time, and has given rise to several watchdog groups, such as the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, and others. The aim of these groups is to help prospective donors see how much of their money goes to programming and how much is spent on fundraising. Recently, the Nonprofit Federation of the Direct Marketing Association (DMANF) established a new dashboard tool to allow nonprofit organizations to self-report on their fundraising expenses. Learn more about the dashboard here.
AJFCA Welcomes Americorps VISTA Members
This week marks the first official week of service for all the VISTA members participating in the AJFCA Holocaust Survivor Services Initiative.  This document contains brief biological information on each VISTA, including the agency in which they are placed.

Last Thursday evening AJFCA hosted a reception at the Repair the World Philadelphia Workshop during pre-service orientation, where ten of our 11 VISTAs joined with AJFCA's President/CEO, Lee Sherman, Director of Volunteer Strategy & Repair the World Programming, Jennie Gates Beckman, Director of Older Adult & Disabilities Services, Liz Woodward, our contacts in the Maryland/Delaware Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) State Office - Crystal Biles & Autumn Rose, and special guest of the evening, Aviva Sufian, Special Envoy for U.S. Holocaust Survivor Services.  Visit this album on the AJFCA facebook page to see photos from the reception.

VISTA members had time to enjoy refreshments and mingle with one another, learn more about AJFCA & the history of this initiative, and receive greetings from Aviva Sufian. Following her remarks, each VISTA member had a chance to share why they were drawn to VISTA and/or this particular project and tell the group a bit about the work they are looking to accomplish as part of their service to their project site. Given what was shared, this inaugural year is sure to be nothing less than inspirational. The range of experience and motivation the VISTAs bring to this project is overwhelming.  

AJFCA would like to extend a special welcome to VISTA Leader, Nicole Escoe, who will be serving in our Baltimore offices to help guide and support both VISTA members and their site supervisors this year. Nicole served as an Americorps VISTA from 1999-2000, and since then earned her Masters in Criminal Justice and worked extensively in the nonprofit arena. She relocated from Detroit, MI to join us. 

For more information on this project, contact Director of Volunteer Strategy & Repair the World Programming, Jennie Gates Beckman.
2015 Annual Conference Workshop RFP 
building community together
AJFCA is seeking workshop proposals that will enhance the 2015 Annual Conference theme: connect|miami: building community together, by focusing on leveraging the collective impact of our network, with an eye toward building resilience in our agencies amongst the following areas of focus:
  • Executive Leadershipajfca logo-resized
  • Agency Services
  • Fund Development & Marketing
  • Board Leadership
  • Volunteer/Young Adult Engagement
Click here to view the RFP Guidelines and Workshop Proposal Form. The proposal deadline is September 19, 2014. This document contains important information on the Conference and detailed guidelines for each of the areas of focus.
CEO Council Quarterly Conference Call
Executives at AJFCA member agencies are invited to join your colleagues in a discussion on planning for your agency's leadership today and into the future. We will discuss how to plan for successive leaders, how to cultivate leaders from within the agency, and how to ensure the resilience of the agency even if the executive were to leave.

Cultivating Leaders for the Future of your Agency
Tuesday, September 16th, 3pm ET/2pm CT/12pm PT
Facilitator: Rose Chapman, President/CEO, JFCS Suncoast
Planning & Delivery of Geriatric Care Management Services
AJFCA Older Adult Services Professionals are invited to share their experiences, ideas and issues regarding the planning and delivery of Geriatric Care Management services during this one-hour group discussion that will focus on outcome measurements and evaluation tools. All Older Adult Services Professionals from AJFCA member agencies are welcome to join the discussion, regardless of prior engagement. There is a participant limit on this call, so make sure to sign up early.

Geriatric Care Management Discussion Call
Thursday, September 18th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Stay (Mission) Focused: A Simple Tool to Help You Save Time and Speed Up Your Organization NTEN

Most of us are both time- and budget-strapped. We want to stay focused on our mission, but, try as we may, it seems there is always more to do than there is time to do it. Yet, the people we serve and the funders who underwrite our efforts expect us to produce results. So, what's a time- and cash-strapped nonprofit to do? Click here to learn more about automating time-consuming, but necessary processes using modern technology. 

Amplifier:  The Jewish Giving Circle Movement
Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement, is a new initiative created through a partnership between Natan, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, and dozens of giving circles and organizations around the world. Amplifier was created to strengthen and expand the universe of Jewish giving circles in order to engage thousands of new people in giving through giving circles and to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs to connect to giving circles and even to run their own. Learn more about Amplifier and giving circles here.

Amplifier:  The Jewish Giving Circle Movement
Wednesday, September 10th, 1pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Mixing a Successful Fundraising Cocktail: Success of the Ice Bucket Challenge ejp full logo
Since going viral the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised an unprecedented $82 million (to date), nearly $80 million more than the same period last year. These are enviable results in the history of fundraising, by any accountancy. The ice bucket challenge will be remembered as a legendary campaign, perhaps one that even finances a cure for a horrible disease.The ingredients of this campaign cocktail are clearly all top-shelf. Click here to learn what made the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' so successful.
#MakeItHappen:  Rosh Hashanah

Apply for a #MakeItHappen: Rosh Hashanah micro grant of up to $300 to organize a gathering for you and your peers! Whether you are hoping for healing in the world after a challenging summer, opportunities in your own life or health and happiness for loved ones, this is your chance to put your own twist on tradition and start the New Year off with some fun. Click here to learn more.

Leadership in the Volunteer Community

The majority of not-for-profit organizations when they wish to develop a community or a project choose to invest in professionals. This, is a logical means of moving forward but it often overlooks the fact that the professional staff is only one part an equation. The second part of that equation is the volunteer culture. The manner in which professionals interact with their volunteers often determines their continuity and the success of the organization they represent. The success of any not-for-profit organization is dependent upon this volunteer/professional relationship. Continue reading here.

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