JFN Members Increased & Expanded Their Giving In Response to Covid

I’m delighted to share an important new report have published documenting JFN members’ generous philanthropy during the first six months of the Covid pandemic.

Our study finds that faced with unprecedented needs, Jewish philanthropists and foundations significantly increased their giving, broadened their giving to include more grantees in areas they had not previously funded, and loosened their reporting and application requirements. And the overwhelming majority plan to continue giving at the same level or higher in the next 12 months.

We believe the findings, based on a survey and follow-up interviews with a wide variety of JFN members about their giving between March through August of 2020, represent a reliable picture of the private Jewish funding world (but do not include the sizable investments made by Jewish Federations in this space).

Among the findings:

• Seventy-six percent of funders increased their spending in order to provide emergency grants.

• Fifty-three percent of funders broadened their grantmaking, most supporting basic needs such as financial hardship and food insecurity, and 43 percent intend to maintain emergency funding over the next 12 months.

• Seventy-seven percent of funders report changing their grantmaking practices to be more responsive and nimbler during the crisis.

• Ninety-four percent of Jewish funders intend to give at the same level or higher over the next 12 months.

• Seventy-two percent of funders are encouraging collaborations, joint ventures, and mergers among their grantee partners.

Our report, conducted by Joy Goldstein Consulting, details some particularly noteworthy funder responses and partnerships, including:

• The $91 million Jewish Communal Response and Impact Fund, a national partnership of eight Jewish foundations and the Jewish Federations of North America that has made grants and loans to a wide variety of Jewish organizations.

• Chicago’s Technical Assistance Collaborative, a partnership of three foundations and the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, providing capacity-building assistance to 100 local Jewish agencies and synagogues.

The report also points to challenges ahead, particularly the ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic’s economic impact and government response, and the question of whether, if the stock market is significantly impacted, philanthropists will continue to be as generous.

We are so proud of the way JFN’s members have stepped up during this extremely challenging period, and I hope this report inspires you to continue giving generously. The next phase – in which we will need to deal with the long-term consequences of Covid – will be as critical as the previous one, and JFN intends to keep providing the resources, information, and networking opportunities that will enable you to better serve the Jewish community and the larger world.