AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Aid to Holocaust Victims in Baltimore to Increase in 2015

jcs baltimore  
Elderly Jewish Holocaust victims in the Baltimore area, the last of their generation to have endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide, will receive significantly more aid in 2015, announced Julius Berman, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

claims conference

In 2015, the Claims Conference allocation to Jewish Community Services of Baltimore will be $1.4 million, an increase of about $600,000 (70 percent) over 2014 funding, with most of the increase earmarked for homecare, the top social welfare priority for these survivors. The Claims Conference is also allocating $65,000 to Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund for its food program for Holocaust victims. Learn more here.
Ruth & Norman Rales JFS Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

JFS Colorado  

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services' sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that JFS has earned this top distinction.

"JFS' coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high performing charities," according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars - a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. JFS supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

"In the current economic environment, it's important our donors trust that we're using our funding wisely in order to accomplish our mission of offering hope, help & humanity to those who need it most through our comprehensive range of programs and services, " said Danielle N. Hartman, JFS President & CEO. "Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously." Read more here.
MAZON and JFS Colorado Join Forces to Address Senior Hunger

JFS Colorado  
Joining MAZON in the Colorado outreach is Jewish Family Service of Colorado, which serves the Denver and Boulder metropolitan community. Jewish Family Service of Colorado is one of 13 JFS agencies in the seven states who are taking part in MAZON's senior hunger initiative. Continue reading here.
JFCS Suncoast Calls for Veteran Nominations to Recognize Excellent Service

Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast is currently seeking nominations from the community for veterans who inspire patriotism, provide service to others and offer hope to veterans. The awardees will be recognized at a Tribute to Veterans Service to Community Awards Luncheon. For more information, please contact Monica Caldwell at 941-366-2224, ext. 142.
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January 2, 2015  
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D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman 
Like many of you, Facebook recently asked me whether I wanted to share my year in review, "Lee's Year." Their omniscient software had chosen some of the photos I had posted from the most significant events during the past year and packaged them so I could share with my friends. Some of the photos they chose were obvious, my son's graduation, other's less so, a quiet family dinner, but all in their own way reflective of the year gone by.

In this week's Torah reading, Vayehi, we conclude the book of Genesis. We learn of the deaths of Jacob and Joseph and leave the story of the lives of our Matriarchs and Patriarchs. It is a story of triumph tinged with tragedy, violence, and deception. Seems a lot like real life. But, through the power of Torah, in this final chapter we not only look back, we see Jacob's blessings of his sons and grandsons for the future of the Jewish people.

At the end of each calendar year, there are any number of "years in review." In Torah, Genesis is complete, but it is truly only the beginning.  As we each reflect on the past year's highlights and sadder moments, let us all find the blessings for the next year and beyond.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy New Year.
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day
February is Jewish Disability Month. We mark February 25, 2015 as our fifth convening of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day. Professionals and lay leaders are invited to Capitol Hill to raise awareness of their work and passion relating to individuals with disabilities and their families. It is also an opportunity for participants to celebrate passage of important legislation, to learn about relevant public policy issues, and to advocate on these issues with their elected officials. Click here for registration details.
The New CEO's Challenge: The First Three Years bridgespan
A lot of moving parts and demands compete for a new executive's time: learning the people and culture of an organization, mastering the work and systems, managing strategic and organizational priorities. A significant number of executives struggle to sort it all out. Continue reading here.
Two-Thirds of Americans Plan to Maintain Steady Giving by Year's End chronicle philanthropy
Slightly more than two-thirds of Americans say they plan to give at least as much to charity in 2014 as they did last year, according to a new national survey conducted by the Polling Institute at Saint Leo University. Read the entire article here.
2015 AJFCA Annual Conference Awards   
AJFCA is pleased to announce the guidelines of the 2015 Annual Conference Awards. Click here to view guidelines for the following awards:
  • Goodman Award
  • Kovod Award
  • Joseph S. Kaplan Memorial Scholarship Award
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Leadership Award

All awards submissions are due on Friday, January 23, 2015. 

Good Deeds Day Webinar
Good Deeds Day, held on March 15th celebrates doing good for the benefit of others and the planet. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to give of themselves, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world. Good Deeds Day, held March 15, 2015. Learn how to organize a project in your own community and activate your goodness. 

Good Deeds Day Webinar
Thursday, January 15th, 12pm ET - REGISTER HERE
PurchasingPoint Discount Program Webinar 
AJFCA partners with the National Human Services Assembly to provide our members access to the PurchasingPointŪ program, an exclusive discount program for nonprofits that leverages group buying power to get access to significant savings from your everyday vendors.  The program is designed to help nonprofits reduce overhead costs by providing access to discounts on a vast range of products and services including, but not limited to: office supplies, shipping, copiers, postage equipment, furniture, cleaning supplies, promotional merchandise, car rental, cell phones, and more.  

PurchasingPoint Discount Program Webinar
Tuesday, January 20th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Planning & Delivery of Older Adult Services
AJFCA Older Adult Services Professionals are invited to a one-hour discussion on the planning and delivery of senior services. During the discussion facilitator Keila Naparstek of JFS Columbus will share lessons learned during the 2014 Midwest Meeting on Older Adult Services in Columbus, OH related to Geriatric Care Management, Holocaust survivor support services, transportation, working with for-profits and other community partners, and caregiver support services.

Older Adult Services Discussion Call
Thursday, January 22nd, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Disabilities Services Discussion Call
All agency professionals interested in engaging in a conversation on serving persons with disabilities are invited to the first ever agency-wide discussion call on disabilities and inclusion services. During this one-hour call agency professionals working in existing programs and those looking to learn more about serving this population will share their experiences, ideas and questions with other network members. This call will focus on developing an understanding of the range of services available in our network and the topics of interest among agency professionals.

Disabilities Services Discussion Call
Thursday, February 12th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
No Board Member Left Behind board source
Board orientation is never truly over because it is a strategy in the ongoing process of board education and training. Orientation provides the board with an opportunity to deepen the engagement and strengthen the performance of its members - all of its members. As new members join the board, orientation allows the board to energize itself as a new "body" and, most importantly, to bring each and every board member together around the mission of the organization. Learn more here.
Does Your Organization's Story Connect the Dots? NTEN
Everything we've learned to accept as true within our culture weaves together to formulate narratives and beliefs that guide and frame a lot of our values, attitudes, and actions. They become stories we choose to believe. They become narratives that shape the fabric of the meaning of our lives. And this determines the way many people think and make decisions, especially when it comes to giving or supporting a cause. Understanding what and why our audiences believe and value based on social narratives and shared cultural mental maps is story-based analysis. Developing compelling stories that fit within these beliefs and values is story-based strategy. Read the entire article here.
Fundraisers Who Use Academic Research Do Better, Study Finds
About half the nation's nonprofits consult scientific studies on how best to approach donors, and those groups that do so are more likely to raise more money, a new report says. Continue reading here.
Americans' Engagement With Organizations Wanes, Report Says chronicile of philanthropy
A new federal report shows declines in 16 of 20 indicators of civic health, including falling rates of volunteerism and engagement with community organizations and flagging trust in public institutions. Read the entire article here.
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