The Attitude of Gratitude

The Attitude of Gratitude

Growing up I wanted to be a stewardess, an actress and a lawyer.  At no point did I ever think, say or strive to be a fundraiser. But since none of the eight women who founded the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) wanted to raise the money, I said I would try until we hired a professional.  That was 10 years ago, and although it has not been easy, what I have learned through fundraising changed my life forever, and how I have grown far outweighs any of the challenges.

One of the biggest lessons is gratitude.  The greatest philanthropists I ask to invest in our movement are the ones who after I thank them for giving say, “No, thank you.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity.”

Read More

Philanthropy and Nonprofits: One Sector, Not Two

Philanthropy and Nonprofits: One Sector, Not Two

I have had the dual privilege of making my living working in the world of Jewish philanthropy and, previously, putting in substantial time raising funds for and managing Jewish nonprofit organizations. The work -- and the work environment -- can be so incredibly different between philanthropic foundations and charitable organizations.  It seems we often lose sight of the fact that the funders and the funded are flip sides of the very same coin, all pursuing the same public good with private resources and voluntary actions.

The philanthropic and nonprofit sector occupies a unique place in civil society, one that addresses the many unmet human needs that neither government nor commercial activity can adequately fulfill. In pre-American, European societies, these needs were frequently met by state religious institutions. Today’s nonprofit and philanthropic world is characterized by a sometimes uneasy balance of the unbridled passions of volunteerism and the attempted efficacies of institutionalized and professionalized organizations. We can rightly take credit for many great accomplishments even as we plead guilty to recurring charges of inefficiency, waste, amateurism and occasionally out-and-out fraud.

Read More