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More Than Money: A Covenant of Federation Philanthropic Effectiveness

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Publication Date: January 2005

Publisher(s): Jewish Communal Service Association of North America

Author(s): Charles Edelsberg

Series: Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 81:1-2

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Banking and finance (Philanthropy and nonprofit sector)

Keywords: Jewish Organizations; Fundraising and Philanthropy; Allocations

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Jewish community federations enjoy an unparalleled 100-year history as trusted depositories for annual contributions of philanthropic resources. Yet, a century of success in annual campaign transactional fundraising cannot obviate the need for intensive efforts to develop much more highly participative forms of philanthropy. Similarly, just as campaign achievements are a necessary but insufficient means of raising funds to meet the system's needs, the Jewish federation's hard-earned reputation as a safe, trustworthy Jewish community chest is now inadequate to satisfy growing expectations of increasing numbers of contemporary donors. Indeed, grantees themselves are asking to be held to higher standards because of the sector-wide realization that "no cause is worthy enough to justify a gift that is not making a truly positive difference in the lives for whom it is intended." Furthermore, it costs money both to develop federation resources, as well as to give them away.