Fund Approach

The purpose of CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund is to deploy financial resources to Israel during a time of war and to provide humanitarian relief to her citizens.

We recognize the need for increased funding to fight antisemitism and anti-Zionism here in Boston, as well as to support the needs of our Israeli and Israeli-American communities. CJP will focus other resources on those important efforts so that 100% of this fund is directed toward needs in Israel. CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund will grant resources to nonprofit entities (501(c)(3)s) U.S. public charities only. This means that support for Israel in other ways likely needs to flow through Jewish Federations of North America.

Principles of operation: 

  • Expeditiously deploying resources, meeting at least once a week, if not more frequently.
  • Balancing participation in national efforts with Boston’s own priorities and relationships.
  • Clear process for review and decision-making, including inbound requests to the fund.
  • Three-quarters majority of committee members guideline for fund distribution.
  • Planning for long-term needs while ensuring resources are prioritized for emergent issues.
  • Designated giving through the fund is reserved for donors contributing more than $1M.
  • Designations must be no less than $50,000, with rare exception, and must fit within our categories of giving. Donors may designate up to $500,000.

Categories of giving: 

  • Direct support for victims of terror and trauma response (including mental health).
  • Hospitals/medical/emergency response.
  • Tactical support for those in harm’s way, including reservists, soldiers, and lone soldiers.
  • Specific parts of the country most impacted (Southern Israel and Northern Israel).
  • Infrastructure needed for safety during war.
  • Volunteer mobilization.
  • Haifa and local needs for our sister city.

The Task Force

There are 10 CJP leaders on the Israel Emergency Fund Task Force: Izhar Armony, Brad Bloom, Rachel Chafetz, Adam Eisenberg, Catharyn Gildesgame, Beth Klarman, Jessica Myers, Dena Rashes, Laurene Sperling, and Lisa Wallack.

Members of this task force were chosen based on a few key characteristics:

  • Board membership.
  • Members of key standing committees (Commission on Strategic Priorities, Committee on Development, Budget, and Administration Committee).
  • Community members with foundation granting experience.
  • Donors with understanding of the national JFNA system.

Working closely with CJP staff, the task force meets at least weekly to review and approve recommendations for ongoing distribution of money raised through CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund. The task force will continue to advise on the fund’s grant-making philosophy and proportionality within the areas of support as the situation in Israel evolves and levels of philanthropy continue to change.

Giving philosophy and process

The committee approaches its work from a few different vantage points, weighing both short-term (acute, emergency) needs and long-term goals:

  • Grants for critical work through Jewish Federations of North America.
  • Grants for critical work made directly to NGOs by CJP’s committee.
  • Donor designation.

We know that the needs will be enormous for the foreseeable future and planning will need to be considered for years to come. Currently, our focus is on short-term emergency relief. We trust in our community’s generosity and believe we will effectively raise additional resources for long-term needs. To that end, we suggest setting a timeframe for release of our funds, for example, within 90 days of the crisis beginning, or by the second week in January. We will reassess this perspective once a month.

Grants through JFNA

Grants to the Jewish Federations of North America allow our Boston philanthropy to be aggregated with dollars from other cities and to make larger grants to important organizations. We trust their vetting process and are aligned in their decision-making process. Proportionally speaking, we anticipate up to one-third to one-half of our fund flowing through JFNA for partners such as JAFI, JDC, Israel Trauma Coalition, Magen David Adom, and the like. We also know that JFNA is prioritizing rebuilding devastated communities in the south and believe that they will use our resources effectively to that end.

We will also consider making additional direct grants to any organization on JFNA’s distribution if we believe the organization needs greater or more expeditious support and/or if Boston has a privileged relationship with the organization that makes giving directly important to our community.

We have a decision related to process with our national support. We can decide to send one large lump sum up front for JFNA to spend over time at their discretion. This committee would then spend its time making direct grant decisions from remaining funds. Alternatively, we can make decisions on a rolling basis for both direct support to grantees and grants to JFNA.

Direct support from CJP’s committee to NGOs

We anticipate at least one-third to one-half of our giving will be done through our own process, making grants directly to Israel. Our committee will discuss proportionality between our categories.

When making choices relative to support directly from CJP, we will use the following process:

  1. A brief form to collect information: Questions will include asking about 501(c)(3) (without requiring “proof”) status or if they have a fiscal sponsor, the amount of money they are requesting, and what they plan to use it on (1–2 sentences). These fields will not be required to eliminate a potential barrier. CJP professionals, especially Israel and Global Jewry team members, will also be able to recommend grants based on their knowledge and expertise and will fill out the brief form as well.
  2. CJP staff researchers who will organize requests and move forward those that make sense: Strategy and Impact will deploy two staff members to organize and do pre-vetting of organizations. We will categorize requests and create a quick summary recommendation sheet.
  3. Quick volunteer pre-vetting: CJP will send summary sheets by category of giving to 1–2 volunteers who are assigned to a category or categories. For example, you may be assigned to read about trauma and medical needs and come to committee meetings with a point of view on what we should decide to fund. This will require no more than 30 minutes of preparation time.
  4. Committee review: We will make distributions at each meeting, as appropriate.

Designated giving

With such a high fund total, some donors understandably want to ensure the dollars they are giving are directed to organizations they know personally to be impactful. To that end, we propose that we allow donors contributing over $1M to CJP’s fund to designate up to $500,000 of their total contribution, with designations confirmed at the time of pledge confirmation. CJP will facilitate the release of these funds and a direct report to the committee, but these dollars will not be at the committee’s discretion. We will not proactively seek designated gifts but will allow them.

Communication of the Fund

CJP is committed to transparency. We will report on our website each time we make a fund distribution and will also update it with more detail related to our process, while also highlighting that the process is deliberately nimble and subject to change.

In addition, we are adding two new communications: We will write our major donors and foundations each time we make a distribution, and we will also include the distribution in an all-database weekly CJP communication.

Finally, we will include all distributions in Board of Directors and committee updates.