Jewish Funders Network
JFN works with Jewish funders, at the individual and collective levels, to improve the quality of their giving and maximize their impact as they make the change they want to see in the world. JFN leverages the power and the creativity of networks to produce change in the Jewish World.
JFN's values remain the ethical underpinning of everything we do. We represent a broad spectrum of beliefs and attitudes in our membership. We do not shy away from confronting difficult issues, encouraging respectful dialogue, and making hard choices guided by the following principles:
Responsibility (Tikkun Olam-Repair the World)
Together, we face the many pressing problems that exist in the world and are committed to helping funders determine the responsible, ethical use of wealth in creating meaningful solutions. We have the courage to take risks and the willingness to fail in our attempts.
Equality (Betzelem Elohim-all of us are created as equals)
We are an open and egalitarian community, where no one member has more power or influence because of his or her wealth, position, religious observance, age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We convene as a community of equals, united in our values.
Respectfulness (Derech Eretz)
We listen carefully and respectfully to others. We strive to create a safe place for provocative, confidential conversations about sensitive subjects, such as wealth, class, family dynamics, personal passions, Jewish identity, etc...
Inclusion (Eilu v'Eilu-"This and also this")
We are a pluralistic organization, that values the richness of diversity and sees the opportunities for innovation and learning from conflict and divergent views. We promote shared inquiry, education, and informed action.
We do not advocate any particular funding cause, but act as an honest broker, striving to help donors connect with each other and root their giving in Jewish traditions, ethics and values. With humility, we facilitate the efforts of funders to be more effective, and to think critically about the possibilities for-and implications of-their philanthropy.
JFN was started as an affinity group of Jewish funders who were passionate about Jewish giving and wanted to create a community to learn from and share best practices. They formed a loosely organized group and convened their first conference in 1991 where 59 funders gathered, and building on that momentum, JFN became a official 501c3 in 1994.
In 1995, JFN hired its first Executive Director, Evan Mendelson, and opened an office in San Francisco. The loose network formed itself into a membership organization with annual dues; the informal steering committee became a formal board of directors. In the next several years, the conference continued to grow; JFN started a printed newsletter and by 1997, its national office moved to New York City. A year later, JFN was in cyber-space with the launch of its website, www.jfunders.org, and its first national expansion, supported by grants from board members and others, to increase and build membership, as well as quality programming. In 2008, JFN opened its Israel office hiring its first director and staff. By 2013, JFN enjoys a global membership of 1,000 philanthropists spanning the globe.