AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Sahelit Bahiru 
I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the International Rescue Committee in San Diego prior to starting my second term of service at Holocaust Community Services in Chicago. At the IRC, I worked in the micro finance sector mainly serving refugees from all over the world. The IRC in San Diego has various loan services ranging from small business loans to credit-building loans. I had an amazing and inspirational experience serving different members of the refugee community from the seasoned and well established entrepreneurs, to the newly arrived families.

When my service term came to an end at the IRC, I knew I wanted to have more service experience. I was looking for opportunities that would further expose me to the wide range of challenges and the solutions that exist in various communities. I went into my first year of service wanting to get exposure to the field of micro finance and its positive impacts, and I came out wanting to explore other areas of work employed to positively impact communities.

I came across the VISTA position available at Holocaust Community Services and was intrigued by the existence of survivor communities especially from the former Soviet Union. I am learning that this lack of awareness is common among many people based on the reaction I get when I tell people who I am currently serving. I decided to apply knowing the position would give me a very different experience from my work as a micro finance coordinator, and I was looking forward to diversifying my skill set. I knew I was going to have a one of a kind experience serving the aging population of this survivor community.

jcfs chicago

It has been three months since I have started my second service term with Holocaust Community Services, and it has been an honor to meet these living legacies, let alone to serve them. Americrops VISTA has made it possible for me to serve these communities, while it has also allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.  I am very grateful for that.

ReelAbilities:  Houston Disabilities Film Festival

JFS Houston  
  ReelAbilities: Houston Disabilities Film Festival (February 8-12, 2015), hosted by the Jewish Family Service of Houston's Alexander Institute for Inclusion in collaboration with Houston's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities is a city-wide film and arts festival which uses the arts to promote inclusion and celebrate the lives, stories, and artwork of people with disabilities - making impact that lasts far beyond the week of the festival.

A robust and exciting array of films, special events, and extraordinary speakers from around the country are being featured this year. Check out the festival trailer here. Tickets go on January 15th here. Questions? Contact Jess Faerman, ReelAbilities Coordinator.
PAL Expands Services

  Being the sibling of a child with a disability can be overwhelming and difficult at times. For all children, and especially these siblings, additional support and attention can make a significant difference in their lives.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta
is thrilled to announce a new addition to PAL! PAL has extended their services to meet the needs of Jewish families in the community. PAL will now be serving siblings of children with disabilities by matching them with a Big Brother or Sister in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.If you know a family with children between the ages of 5 and 17 that may benefit, please connect them to the PAL program by contacting 770.677.9390. Read more about the decision to offer these expanded services 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.

How to Make Your Cause Go Viral: Social Media Strategies for 2015
Jan., 21st, 12pm PT

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D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman 
The terrorist attacks in Paris last week have brought needed attention to the total disregard for human life by those enmeshed in fanaticism, and the vulnerability of our society, much of which is built upon the foundation of trust and civility. For the families and friends of those who were murdered at Charlie Hebdo and at the kosher food market, this is a deep personal tragedy. It is a tragedy for all of us who believe in the freedoms of a society that honors individual choice and community cooperation. So, for each of us, there is a sense of loss. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have been touched by tragedy, so we are left too consider whether we just absorb the suffering, or whether we make the changes necessary to end these forms of terrorism.

In this week's parashah, Va-era, under God's instruction and direction, Moses and Aaron begin their negotiation with Pharaoh for the freedom of their people. In each instance of a new plague (seven of them this week), Pharaoh is ultimately not convinced, his "heart hardens," and he refuses to let the Israelites go. We know how this will end and how the stubbornness of Pharaoh will cost his people much personal loss, but do we learn anything from his refusal to take the action necessary to prevent more tragic events?

Together, we mourn for the loss of life in Paris. We should do the same when there are attacks in Nigeria, Syria, Belgium, the United States, or anywhere else. But, can we as a community of nations "soften" our hearts and take the action necessary to end these tragic events? That is worth our efforts.

Have a peaceful Shabbat.
Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month. JDAM started 7 years ago when a small cadre of Jewish Special Education International Consortium colleagues decided to create a unified effort to raise awareness and promote inclusion of people with disabilities in Jewish life. Since then JDAM has united Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be included and to participate in all aspects of communal life. Download the JDAM Program Guide here. To learn about how to recognize and celebrate in your community and more, click here. If your agency is sponsoring an event or program please share it with Liz.
Social Security Disability Payments Will Be Cut by a Fifth If Congress Doesn't Act washington post
On the first day of the new Congress, Republicans symbolically bound themselves to what is certain to be a controversial reform of the federal disability insurance program, which would probably occur near the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Continue reading here.
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day  
February 25th marks Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, an opportunity for professional and lay leaders from Jewish organizations and communities across the nation to come to Capitol Hill in Washington to raise awareness on their work and passion relating to individuals with disabilities and their families as a part of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month. 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.To learn more and register click here.
Retaining Donors through and after Recession Most Difficult for Small Nonprofit nonprofit quarterly
It is a well-known rule of fundraising that it costs less to retain former donors than to recruit new donors, but do you know how well are you doing at retention? Do you know how that measures up in comparison to others? The Urban Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals have just released their enormously useful 2014 Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) Survey Report. It is a valuable reference document for all fundraisers. Learn more 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. 

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
Development Quarterly Webinar - Passive Revenue Sources
Join Daniel Goodman, President of Special Kids Fund and Co - Founder of
CharityChoice Gift Cards for AJFCA's Quarterly Development Conference Call as we discuss generating revenue from existing systems. CharityChoice Gift Cards was born in 2004 and is a nonprofit pioneer in creating charity gift cards that can enable your communities to participate in helping your Jewish family service agency. This program makes it possible for everyone to add a charitable dimension to their special
occasion; by giving a charity gift, whenever ...meaningful matters. CharityChoice is an Official Donation Site for the American Red
Cross. They recently launched a turnkey solution, 'Donate Your Card', converting unused retail gift card balances into cash donations. Forty percent of merchant gift card recipients do not use the total value of card. American households have an average of $300 in unused gift cards. This 30-minute webinar will showcase three examples of passive revenue sources. The last 30 minutes of the webinar will be devoted to Q&A and professionals sharing what existing revenue
generating systems they currently employ at their agencies.

Passive Revenue Sources
Thursday, February 5th, 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
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
Thursday, February 19th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
In Honor of Rochelle
AJFCA has received many inquires regarding the untimely death of Rochelle Tatrai-Ray. Two different funds have been established for the two daughters survived by the late CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. A www.gofundme.com account and a Bank of America Trust have been established to offset expenses associated with the daughters' future care. Donors may make a deposit at any Bank of America branch by requesting that the teller access the Contribution Account of the Marisa and Selena Ray Trust or donors can log on to www.gofundme.com and enter the name Rochelle Tatrai-Ray. The hyperlink is gofundme.com/RochelleTatraiRay and all donors can give effective immediately. 
You Are the Voice Your Mission Needs board source
Board members are the community leaders from whom decision-makers need to hear. Board members serve as powerful champions for our missions. We are the ambassadors who can bridge differences in opinion, turn ideas into solutions, and make good things happen. Download the free discussion guide here.
How Board Members Can Learn to Spot Red Flags NPQ
Rather than expecting board members to instantly recognize a problem in the making, let's encourage boards to learn to ask the questions that will lead them there. One month with a deficit isn't a red flag. But questions must be asked when a board sees financial reports with unfavorable variances and deficits at meeting after meeting. Continue reading here.
7 Ways to Keep Donors Committed to Your Cause network for good
Honoring your donors-and prospects-is, hands-down, the most effective approach to building strong and lasting relationships with the folks whose help you need so very much. It's no surprise that donor retention is an absolute priority (again) for 2015. Yet the specific how-tos of donor retention success remain elusive for many organizations. Click here to read the 7 ways.
Is the Annual Letter Worth the Effort? ejewish philanthropy
We in the not for profit sector must begin to change the way we do things and simultaneously take advantage of the huge amount of technical knowledge that is now available to us. We don't have to be quite so sophisticated but we should be making decisions based on some kind of knowledge base and experimentation - especially with something so simple and yet so costly as an annual letter requesting funds. Read the five annual letter campaign suggestions here.
Sharsheret Shares Study Results at Breast Cancer  sharsheret Symposium
Last month, Sharsheret was honored to present findings from their study on the information and support needs of young, Jewish breast cancer survivors at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Sharsheret conducted four national focus groups of breast cancer survivors and used the data collected to modify their culturally-relevant support interventions.

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