AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue
VISTA Member Adrienne Ognibene Accepts Full-Time Position at JSSA 


JSSA logo  

In September VISTA member Adrienne Ognibene will be transitioning into a full-time position as the Jewish Social Service Agency's new Volunteer Coordinator. In this position Adrienne will be working with the Holocaust Survivor Program to coordinate all socialization events as well as the friendly visitor program and the Himmelfarb Mobile University program for the Senior Services Department.

Adrienne has been an invaluable resource for the organization during her year of service and the new position has been built largely on the work she conducted during this time, a true testament to the value of these efforts. AJFCA is thrilled to welcome Adrienne as a professional member of our network!  
JFS Silicon Valley Seeks to Share Model & Build on Years of Success



Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley has collected gifts through their wildly successful Embrace-A-Family program for many years using up to 20 display boards like the one pictured here, mounted on easels throughout the community. Individuals take a tag, purchase the gift listed, and bring the unwrapped gift to the JFS office to be gifted to clients in need. They have also begun to use Amazon to maintain a list of gifts, allowing donors to make their purchase online and ship directly to the JFS office.

CEO, Mindy Berkowitz,  & Board President, Robin Sabes  

This program has become a huge outreach vehicle for their agency and the result each year in terms of publicity, gift donations, and donations has grown dramatically year over year. Their volunteer committee is always looking to build on the success of the program and are currently seeking examples from other agencies of what displays they might utilize in similar gift drives, hoping to gather some ideas to improve their display board template. If you have an interest in learning more about this model or have a similar program and would like to compare notes, please reach out to Lori Cinnamon, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement at 408-357-7467.
Shards of Light


jfs seattle   

Tracing the 120-plus years of Seattle's Jewish Family Service to the current day, Carolee Danz shows its uninterrupted history of giving and sharing in the book Shards of Light.

From its beginning as the Ladies' Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1892 to the current day, Seattle's JFS has taken the lead in helping those less fortunate. Pushing the definition of community beyond the close and familiar, JFS has served many outside its religious borders-immigrants from around the world struggling to understand their new home in the United States, people dealing with gender issues, Puget Sound residents seeking the expert counseling services of JFS staff, and more.  
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D'Var Torah 
Lee I. Sherman

In the rapid fire world of social media, misinformation often presents as accurate information. Particularly if the "source" is well-known, a politician or actor or sports figure, many tend to regard their statements as credible even if their views are biased by their own personal perspectives. And, then the "information" is repeated on social media, television, radio, and even those obsolete newspapers, and suddenly it becomes fact. Even when a retraction is made, or a clarification issued, the selective perspective can live on through repetitions. This does not mean that the original source of the information is evil, but as recipients we must look behind the words for the agenda ("vote for me; endorse me; support me") that may skew the facts in a profitable direction.

Even those who deserve our trust, can on occasion share as fact something that is infused with their personal perspective. This week's parashah, Va-ethannan, begins with Moses telling the people of Israel that he pleaded with God to allow his entry into the Promised Land and he was once again denied. "But the Lord was wrathful with me on your account and would not listen to me." 3:26. Wait a minute, I thought Moses was punished for his own failings, not because of the acts of the people. And, certainly not the people who are now in front of Moses, for they were not of age, or yet born, at the time that the Israelites did not heed the positive reports of Joshua and Caleb and anguished over the giants occupying their "promised" land. Is this just a failed recollection or a slight restatement of the "facts" for personal gain? Moses repeats the thought in verse 4:21, "...the Lord was angry with me on your account...." Perhaps by repeating something enough, it can become true.

Personal perspective is the norm. We understand that, we must expect that, and we can delight in the variety of opinions we hear and read. But, we must remember to listen carefully, even to those who are most trusted and trustworthy. We should ask questions and not rely on repetition as an indicator of truthfulness. It is up to us to be careful listeners as we sift through all of the "information" that comes our way.

Shabbat Shalom
Faith Week of Action
On August 14th, the Social Security Administration will celebrate 80 years of service to the public. As part of Social Security's 80th anniversary celebration, faith-based organizations are invited to participate in the SSA's Faith Week of Action, August 2nd-8th. This week will highlight America's most successful poverty prevention program and encourage the public to take advantage of Social Security's financial planning tools, including the online my Social Security. During this week agencies can host an event, share information about Social Security with their communities, and encourage clients to sign up for my Social Security.  See the toolkit here to get started.
I&R Center Webinar: Future Planning
The National I&R Support Center will host a webinar on Future Planning, or creating a guide for a person with an intellectual or developmental disability to lead a good life as independently as possible. Join presenters from The Arc - Robin Shaffert, Senior Executive Officer, Individual and Family Support, and Jenny Sladen, Program Manager, National Initiatives - to learn about The Arc and its Center for Future Planning. (No pre-registration is required to participate in the webinar.)

I&R Center Webinar: Future Planning
Wednesday, August 5th - 3pm ET
Dial: 888-346-3659, Access Code: 33688#, Web: https://join.me/nasuadwebinar
On a computer, use any browser with Flash. On a phone/tablet, launch the join.me app and enter meeting code: nasuadwebinar 

Planning & Delivery of Older Adult Services: Supporting Holocaust Survivors  

Join us for this conversation on supporting Holocaust survivors to age with health and dignity in our communities. Masha Pearl, Executive Director of The Blue Card, will present on the work of this national organization and AJFCA member professionals will come together to share their knowledge and experience on innovative or best practices for funding services for Holocaust survivors, the emerging needs and growing requests for services, and utilizing volunteers in implementing programs.


Supporting Holocaust Survivors

Thursday, August 6th - 2pm EDT - REGISTER HERE
The State of the Federation System ejp full logo
Perhaps one of the most frequently heard refrains regarding any existing organization, initiative or program is that "if it didn't exist, we would need to create it." It is spoken in boardrooms and parking lots, by professionals and volunteers alike. Continue reading here.
Isn't It Time?
Can people leave their "institutional hats" at the door in order to consider what is best in the larger communal picture? The limitations and restrictions that led to the creation of many of our organizations have disappeared. Jews have full access, a desire for meaning and quality, and the resources to buy what they want for themselves and their families. Isn't it time to let go and reinvent community that makes sense, that's more easily accessed, and supported in the long run? Read more here.
Addictions' Professionals Call
Addictions' Professionals are invited to join Daniel Krasner, National Clinical Solutions Provider & ARISE Interventionist Intern from 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference sponsor, Ranch at Dove Tree for a discussion surrounding young adult addiction and recovery trends including collegiate recovery communities and programs. 

Addictions' Professionals Call
Thursday, August 20th - 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Advocacy Day  capital
The 2015 AJFCA Advocacy Day will take place on Tuesday, October 27th in Washington, DC. Learn about public policies affecting your work, and advocate for your priorities at meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill (lunch included).

Reserve your room at the Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel (via the link) by calling 888-803-1298. Please identify yourself as part of the AJFCA group when making your reservation. The group rate is $219.00 per night, plus tax. Reservations must be made by October 3rd. Please contact Zahava at 410-843-7487 with questions.
2015 AJFCA Regional Meetings
Join AJFCA's Domestic Violence Professionals in Skokie, IL on Sunday, August 9th and Monday, August 10th
for our first meeting ever! Registration closes TODAY - FRIDAY, AUGUST 31st.

Don't miss the Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting in West Bloomfield, MI on Sunday, August 30th and Monday, August 31st. Click here to learn more and register today!
Nonprofit Board Members Faulted for Lapses
Board members at nonprofit organizations are too far removed from some of their key governance responsibilities, according to a new survey by the accounting firm Marks Paneth. Continue reading here.
It's Never about the Donuts nonprofit quarterly
Allison Moen Wagstrom, portfolio manager/financial specialist at Nonprofits Assistance Fund felt sick to her stomach. After a month of avoiding a serious look at her organization's budget and a reforecast for the next six months, she was seeing a deficit of $80,000. She knew that grant funding had not come in as expected and that donations were slower than in previous years. She knew that she had included more stretch goals than baseline fundraising goals. She rechecked her forecast as the dread and fear sunk in. Then she got to work cutting expenses. Continue reading here.
6 Stories to Collect this Summer for Donors
[Written with summer camps in mind, but applicable for all.]
The best stories have a basic structure - beginning, middle and end - focusing on a single character who faces and overcomes some kind of conflict. For your donors, ideally their giving helped that individual succeed in the face of that conflict. Read the entire article here.
The Secret of Programming for the Big Mission ... with No Budget ejewish philanthropy
To get synagogue rabbis, lay leader's, and organization director's attention, my lead question is ... "What is the Greatest Challenge to the American Jewish Community?" Read the entire article here.
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