Originally posted on the blog of Ask Big Questions.
Like many people in my generation, I first associated tzedakah, the Hebrew word loosely understood to mean “charity,” with the pushke—the little metal box given out in Hebrew school, rusting on my parents’ windowsill.
I learned in the 1950s that Jews were supposed to collect pennies in the pushke to plant trees in Israel. There was no passion or intensity embedded in this ritual; no real understanding of the values or texts behind this seemingly strange act of generosity; and no opportunity to innovate. It was just something Jews did. Read More
Originally posted on the blog of Where Do You Give?
On February 3, 2012 the Yale School of Management held its 7th Annual Conference on Philanthropy: “Beyond Best Practices: Financing and Implementing Social Change.” The conference highlighted discussions that have been ricocheting around the philanthropy sector and there a few we just can’t get out of our heads:
1. Blended Value
Jed Emerson, Executive Vice President of Strategic Development at ImpactAssets, challenged us to break down the often held but paralyzing idea that we each have two choices in life—“do well or do good”—and there can be no way to do both. Emerson, along with a growing number of people who straddle the financial and philanthropic worlds, believes overlap is powerful and the way to create dynamic, sustainable social change is to explore “blended value”—how we can do well and do good. Emerson describes his idea of “blended value” in this way:
Value is what gets created when investors invest and organizations act to pursue their mission. Traditionally, we have thought of value as being either economic (and created by for-profit companies) or social (and created by nonprofit or non-governmental organizations). What the Blended Value Proposition states is that all organizations, whether for-profit or not, create value that consists of economic, social and environmental value components—and that investors (whether market-rate, charitable or some mix of the two) simultaneously generate all three forms of value through providing capital to organizations. Read More
In celebration of AJWS’s “Where Do You Give” Design Competition, and in honor of the successful slew of “Sh** People Say” videos, we present:
Sh** Jews Say About Philanthropy… brought to you by members of the AJWS staff:
“Yes, dear, it has to be in multiples of 18.”
“I shouldn’t talk about it on Shabbos, but…”
“Is it Super Sunday? Again?”
“… and so your Uncle Morrie finally made it to America. And that is why we give money every year to those going through tough times.”
“Why get them something off the registry when we could get them a mezuzah? Everybody needs a mezuzah!” Read More
Originally posted on Pursue: Action for a Just World and cross-posted on eJewishPhilanthropy.
How do you make giving meaningful? Tzedakah, the Jewish commitment to righteous giving, is something that most people are familiar with. Tzedakah boxes are things of childhood memory for many Jews, except me. I tithed. Growing up with a Baptist mother, a Methodist father and educated in Catholic schools, the idea of giving charity was not lost on me. I can remember my mother reaching into her pocket book every Sunday morning to fish out crisp dollar bills for my sister and I to put in the collection plate that was passed around. I don’t remember what it felt like to put that money in the shiny gold plate, because it wasn’t my money.