August 31, 2013
Study reveals the who, what and where of Jewish giving
(Page 4 - Previous Page)
He also is urging Jewish organizations to recognize that they are operating in “a post-scarcity mindset,” assuming that there are only leaner years ahead. “This notion of a pie that we’re fighting over doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Landres said. “Getting people connected to the Jewish community will grow the pie for everybody.”
Many of the study’s funders share Landres’ optimism -- and his commitment to the power of innovative Jewish organizations.
“Our foundation is, more and more, focusing on how to increase the substantive quality of Jewish life,” said Marcella Kanfer Rolnick of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation said.
In recent years, Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation has supported organizations like Keshet -- which encourages the Jewish community to become more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews. It also is a major supporter of the Joshua Venture Group, developing new Jewish nonprofits by supporting the social entrepreneurs who run them.
On a personal level, Kanfer Rolnick also supports groups leading the Jewish community in new directions.
“One of the reasons that I give to innovative and experimental organizations – and this is my personal language – is I want to help the Jewish experience reach its potential,” she said. And when she hears people complain about being bored in synagogue, Kanfer Rolnick wonders if they’re just not going to the right synagogues.
“I say to myself, it’s only because the experiences they’ve had didn't reach the potential inherent in Judaism,” Kanfer Rolnick told me. “It’s a case of the ‘have-nots’ not knowing that the ‘haves’ are experiencing something pretty awesome.”
The Rose Community Foundation (RCF) in Denver, Colo., also helped fund Jumpstart’s study, and Lisa Farber Miller, a senior program officer for RCF’s Jewish Life programs, served as a member of the study’s research advisory committee. She said she has met many people who “just didn't know about our local Jewish community,” and said she sees a disconnect between those deeply involved in Jewish life, professionally or otherwise, and those who are not.
“Because we’re inside the Jewish community, we think that everyone knows about us, when they don't,” she said.
And, as the results of the new research suggest, the less connected they are, the less likely they are to give.
“The more we can be there around issues they care about, the more we will be successful as a Jewish community,” Farber Miller said, “and, obviously, the more successful we’ll be at growing giving too.”
Download topline report findings at connectedtogive.org.