San Francisco. Today, the New Israel Fund (NIF) announced the creation of the Progressive Jewish Fund (PJF), which will be the only national progressive Jewish platform from which to make both US and Israel-based grants. The PJF will enable people to set aside philanthropic dollars to give to organizations – Jewish or non-Jewish – whose values are consistent with NIF’s principles and policies.
Since the 2016 election, there have been growing voices in the progressive Jewish community for a philanthropic vehicle that is transparent and reflects their values. There are those who seek to amplify their individual voice by joining together with other progressive Jews. Others feel unheard and unrepresented in the Jewish philanthropic landscape and see the need for an alternative to the currently available donor advised funds.
Today, the New Israel Fund, with four decades of expertise in giving to social causes in Israel and well-established policies and guidelines, is offering that alternative.
“Until the Progressive Jewish Fund, housing a Donor Advised Fund program meant choosing between either progressive organizations that didn’t have a Jewish element, or Jewish organizations that didn’t share my values,” said Lisa Greer, a long-time donor to Jewish and Israel causes and NIF board member. “I wanted to be able to create the ‘double mitzvah’ of donating to the organizations I wanted to, but also to know that a portion of my fees was helping the Jewish causes I believe in. The PJF donor advised fund fits my personal and family’s needs well. PJF’s digital platform allows me to quickly and easily donate to charities, to see a full overview (in one easily accessible place) of where my charitable money has gone over time, and to be able to donate when and to whom I want.”
The New Israel Fund sees the Progressive Jewish Fund as an answer to the call from many of its supporters who want their dollars to support Jewish communal life and align with their values at home and in Israel. “In the Jewish world there is no communal chest for progressives,” said NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch.
“In the era of Trump, and illiberal and anti-democratic leadership around the world, people who oppose global assaults on democracy want tools to push back. One of those tools is philanthropy. An overwhelming majority of American Jews share progressive values and agree that we should not be giving our communal dollars to organizations that erode democracy in Israel or in the US. That’s why our funding guidelines are published online, so our donors can see the values that drive how we give.”
The PJF is also a way to foster a group of funders seeking a values-aligned Jewish organization for their philanthropy, said Jen Spitzer, NIF VP for Finance and Operations. “We want to offer the opportunity for funders to come together in a community,” she said.
“We are stronger and we derive inspiration from one another when we work hand-in-hand towards a just and equal society in the US and in Israel. It has always been true that investing through the New Israel Fund means investing in a progressive vision. That vision has now expanded to bring the progressive US Jewish community together through donor-advised philanthropy.
We are really fortunate that in some places, like New York, local Jewish donor advised funds allow their supporters to direct their philanthropic funds to the organizations of their choosing, which our efforts will compliment. But in those places where this is not the case, this program is our way of saying ‘progressive Jewish voices and dollars matter in the communal landscape. It’s time to elevate these voices.’ NIF will continue its unshakeable dedication to democratic values and to equality and justice for every Israeli while bringing its values to bear here at home as well.”
The New Israel Fund is the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis.