$1 Million Matching Fund for Jewish Social Change Launches Today

The Jewish Social Change Matching Fund will help continue historic tradition of Jewish contributions to America’s social justice movements

August 16, 2013
CONTACT: Tom Fazzini, West End Strategy Team, (202) 776-7700, tom@westendstrategy.com

NEW YORK – Jewish social change organizations that target the root causes of injustice have an exciting new source of support. Today, the Jewish Funders Network announced the launch of its new $1 million Jewish Social Change Matching Fund in partnership with the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, Dorot Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and Righteous Persons Foundation. The fund builds on the historic contributions of Jews working to help America fulfill its promise of justice and equality for all.

“This fund celebrates and lifts up the Jewish social change leaders who are tirelessly working to create change in their communities,” said Simon Greer, CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, one of the sponsoring partners of the fund. “I, along with our partners, am excited to help new funders learn about and expand their footprint in this fast-growing field. Without the vision and hard work of Andrés Spokoiny and the Jewish Funders Network, along with the resources of our partner organizations, this vital new source of support would not have been possible.”

“From the time of Moses and Miriam, Jews have been involved in social change movements – driven by the persistent belief that poverty, degradation and violence are antithetical to God’s desires for humanity and that we must be agents of the shift in consciousness and policy that will make possible dignity and equality for all people,” said Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR in Los Angeles.

The fund is inspired by Jews and Jewish organizations that played a role in some of the most significant achievements in the social change world including the Jewish legal community’s partnership with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP in the 1950s that helped end segregation, to the student-led movement to free Soviet Jewry in the 1960s, to dynamic efforts by Jewish feminists in the 1970s to end restrictions on opportunity based on gender, to today’s efforts to build mass movements to increase the minimum wage, ensure affordable health care for all, and end the genocide in Darfur.

The fund will match new and increased gifts from eligible funders to Jewish social change organizations and projects. To be eligible, organizations must be 501(c)(3) organizations doing work in the United States and identify as Jewish or work with the Jewish community to support efforts to engage on important areas of social change. Priority will be given to organizations that have operating budgets under $5 million, are part of ongoing efforts, involve collaborations with national partners, engage people across lines of difference such as race, class and faith and that seek to create lasting systemic change.

While projects can take many different forms, examples of projects that would be considered eligible would include a national Jewish organization advocating to improve working conditions in nursing homes, or a campus Jewish organization launching a statewide campaign against racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims, or a national environmental organization working with a seminary to educate and activate rabbinical students on the ethics of climate change.

Applications are now being accepted. Round One applications are due November 6, 2013 with funds to be distributed by summer 2014. Jewish Funders Network plans to host donor education programs starting in September. Applications and additional information are available online at http://www.jewishsocialchange-match.org/.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. It seeks to build a socially and economically just society that values and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities. The Foundation’s approach to grant making embodies some basic themes in all of its programs: concern for the poor, disadvantaged, and underserved; respect for diversity; promotion of understanding across cultures; and empowerment of communities in need.

The Jewish Funders Network (JFN) is an international organization dedicated to maximizing the quality and impact of Jewish philanthropy. Our members include independent philanthropists, foundation trustees and foundation professionals. JFN leverages the power and the creativity of networks to produce change in the world. The Matching Grants Initiatives of JFN are part of an innovative strategy to increase the base contributions of donors for a given field of Jewish philanthropy. Since their inception in 2004, matching grants have generated nearly $80 million in new funding for Jewish causes.

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