The Jewish Fund for Justice, the only national Jewish foundation committed
solely to fighting poverty in America, is seeking an Executive Director.
Established in 1984 and located in New York City, JFJ has a dual mission.
It is dedicated to improving the lives of low-income Americans from all
backgrounds and faiths through supporting grassroots organizations that
address the conditions that perpetuate poverty. It is also committed to
enriching the lives of American Jews through providing them with opportunities
to carry out their responsibilities as Jews to social and economic justice.
At the heart of JFJ’s existence is the belief that pursuing justice,
righting wrongs and creating a better world are integral components of
With a annual budget of $2.3 million and a staff of 15, the Fund awards
grants and provides technical assistance to organizations working to alleviate
poverty. In addition, it assists synagogues, religious schools and Jewish
organizations in developing community-based partnerships to fight poverty
and injustice. Virtually all of its grants support projects in six metropolitan
areas: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington,
DC, and five states in the greater south: Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi,
South Carolina and Texas.
This position requires a leader with a passion for economic and social
justice, a commitment to bringing to life the core Jewish values of tikkun
olam (repair of the world) and tzedakah (righteous giving), and an ability
to identify and enhance successful programs that merit the Fund’s
support. It also requires a person with strong skills in fundraising,
communications, and management who can build on the organization’s
considerable strengths. With its singular mission, its sterling reputation
and its solid record of accomplishment, JFJ is poised to become a considerable
force in American Jewish life and it is looking for an Executive Director
who can help it realize its potential.
The Jewish Fund for Justice has retained Isaacson, Miller, a Boston-based
executive search firm to assist it in identifying and recruiting exceptional
candidates for this position.
The Jewish Fund for Justice was founded in 1984 to fill a crucial void
in Jewish philanthropy. Although Jews as individuals had been leading
supporters of efforts to end the injustice of poverty in America, no national
grantmaking institution existed through which they could articulate and
advance, as Jews, their commitment to social and economic justice. Twenty
years later it still is the only national Jewish foundation whose sole
goal is to address the social and economic disparities in the country.
For 15 of the Fund’s 20 years of existence, Marlene Provizer, who
has announced that she is leaving her post in November of 2004, has been
the Executive Director. While the Fund has always kept track of its grants
and the results they have produced, the success of her leadership has
been confirmed by a research study of outcomes JFJ conducted on grants
given between 1996 and 2001. Here are some of the accomplishments the
process revealed: (These are accomplishments of the organizations for
which JFJ, along with other foundations, provided crucial funding.)
· 51 victories to create, improve or fund after-school programs
· 52 victories to increase parental involvement in public schools
· $424,000,000 in funds gained for school improvements
· $228,000,000 committed for job creation
· 32 living wage laws passed
· 258,080 workers received higher wages
· 1,238,000 families gained better health care
· 36 victories to construct or improve parks
· 200,000 domestic workers gained more rights
· $4,000,000 in public funds allocated for affordable housing
· 13,168 affordable housing units created
· 4,320 working poor families own their own homes
· $844,000,000 won in predatory lending settlements
· Over $1,000,000 settlement for mistreated Chinese workers
· 60 victories to improve poor working conditions
· 20 victories to improve public transportation
· 8,000 people have indoor plumbing for the first time
· 32 victories to shut down crime-ridden properties
· 50 synagogues joined faith-based community organization groups
· 514 synagogue members participated in faith-based community
organizing groups to create more housing for low income people
· 2,011 synagogue members participated in faith-based community
organization campaigns for health care for working poor families
· 628 government policies and practices changed
· 180 government polices that would have hurt low-income people
· 460 business and non-profit policies and practices changed
JFJ has been able to contribute to these impressive results through disciplined,
strategic and focused grantmaking practices designed to maximize the effect
of its grants. The Fund has made grants of $7,500 to $20,000 to organizations
with budgets of $1,000,000 or less. It has focused its grantmaking in
the following areas:
Economic Justice: Groups in this issue area work to
promote economic security and self-sufficiency for low-income people and
their communities through such initiatives as building alliances between
labor and community groups, organizing living-wage campaigns, advocating
for job training and job programs, improving conditions in the workplace,
organizing for community reinvestment and against predatory lending, preserving
and strengthening public assistance programs, and promoting community
Women in Poverty: Groups in this issue area support
the struggle against poverty among economically disadvantaged women, who
are disproportionately heads of households, women of color, immigrants
and refugees. JFJ supports groups that are run by and for women, that
organize and advocate on issues that directly affect the lives of women
and girls, that help women attain economic self-sufficiency, and that
provide leadership development, skills training, and support networks.
Investing in Youth: Groups in this issue area use youth
organizing strategies to combat economic disadvantages and hopelessness
among low-income young people. JFJ supports groups that improve the lives
of youth and their communities through youth-development programs. These
groups empower young people to advocate on their own behalf, train them
to develop and lead issue campaigns, and mobilize parents and youth to
improve public education.
Building Community: Groups in this issue area strengthen
low-income communities by bringing residents together into strong multi-issue
neighborhood or faith-based organizations. JFJ supports groups that stress
long-term institutional development, view issues as a vehicle for training
highly-skilled leaders, use relationship-building techniques, and hold
decision-makers accountable for meeting democratically-determined demands.
Assisting New Americans: Groups in this issue area organize
immigrants and refugees to assert their rights to fair and humane treatment
and help them gain a foothold in society. JFJ supports groups that not
only educate newcomers about their rights and how to protect them, but
also develop immigrant leaders, combat anti-immigrant policies and exploitation
in the workplace, fight scapegoating and harassment, and promote civic
involvement. The current group of immigrants is the largest since the
turn of the last century which witnessed the most significant Jewish immigration.
Consequently, JFJ regards this as a particularly meaningful and important
area of concern.
Engaging Jews in Social Justice: Grantees in this issue
area advance local Jewish activism by educating, training and mobilizing
Jews in sustained efforts to combat poverty and injustice. JFJ supports
groups that address poverty issues in partnership with groups based in
low-income communities and communities of color. These groups bring a
vital Jewish presence to community economic and social justice struggles.
JFJ also gives Synagogue Challenge grants to congregations involved in
faith-based community organizing.
JFJ’s education and Jewish organizing program that engages Jews
in social justice includes the Tzedek Partner Program (TPP) in which middle
school students in 67 religious schools and Jewish day schools across
the country learn the meaning of giving tzedakah. Students incorporate
classroom lessons by way of a hands-on partnership with a local community
grassroots organization, typically a Jewish Fund for Justice grantee.
As part of its outreach, JFJ formed a partnership with RAVSAK, the Jewish
community day school network, to train member schools in the use of JFJ’s
tzedakah curriculum, the core of the TPP program.
At the heart of JFJ’s Jewish organizing efforts is its initiative
to educate the Jewish community about faith-based community organizing
and promote active synagogue participation in local faith-based community
organizing groups. Working with an advisory group of rabbis who are leaders
in this work, JFJ is providing technical assistance and support to targeted
synagogues and making presentations about faith-based community organizing
at key denominational gatherings. In large measure because of JFJ’s
efforts, 60 synagogues now participate in this model of social justice
activism. During the coming year JFJ will hold a major national conference
on faith-based community organizing for rabbis and congregational leaders.
For more detailed information on the Jewish Fund for Justice, please
consult its website at www.jfjustice.org.
The new executive director will be taking over JFJ at a time when the
call to action of the Jewish Fund for Justice is resonating strongly in
the American Jewish community for a wide variety of reasons. For the past
twenty years the country has been witnessing an ever widening income gap
between rich and poor. Costs of necessities like health care and transportation
are rising considerably faster than inflation. Wage cuts are routinely
made in the name of competitiveness and fewer than 50% of employers currently
provide health insurance for their employees. These trends have resulted
in an increasing lack of economic stability and opportunity for low-income
workers. They have also resulted in a set of difficult, twenty-first century
challenges for those who care about social and economic justice.
The forces that are creating a more unjust society have become
stronger at the same time that more and more American Jews are looking
for ways to live meaningful and spiritually fulfilling lives. Among other
developments, the birth of the “Jewish Renewal Movement,”
the rise of the “Havurah Movement,” and the burgeoning number
of synagogue revitalization projects are all evidence of this quest for
meaning. The Jewish Fund for Justice provides another avenue for this
yearning for a deeper spiritual meaning in life. Through it, both affiliated
and non-affiliated Jews can act, as Jews, on the commitment to social
and economic justice, which is at the heart of Jewish identity,. as is
the traditional Jewish teaching that our purpose in life is to pursue
justice and righteousness, minimize human suffering and walk on a righteous
In addition, pursing social justice can also help the American Jewish
community with some of its most pressing problems of continuity and identity,
and of vulnerability as a minority. Efforts to ameliorate inequality,
which Jewish tradition teaches is fundamentally a moral issue, do not
put the Jewish community at risk, but rather strengthen it at its core.
GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
The Jewish Fund for Justice is governed by a 26-person board of trustees.
Trustees serve three-year terms, with no limit on the number of terms
a trustee may serve. The board oversees the work of JFJ through several
standing committees, including development, nominations, education and
Jewish organizing and grantmaking. The Executive Director reports directly
to the executive committee.
To expand the scope and effectiveness of JFJ’s social change work
and leverage more resources for its grantees, JFJ has sought to build
partnerships. Currently it plays a leadership role in two. The Funders’
Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO), which has been housed at JFJ
and has operated under its fiscal sponsorship since 2000, is made up of
23 national, regional and local foundations and seven practitioners who
work together to increase philanthropic investment in youth organizing
groups. FCYO strengthens the field through collaborative grants that give
technical assistance and conduct peer learning programs. Interfaith Funders
(IF), a national network of nine faith-based funders, plays a pivotal
role in bolstering, understanding and supporting faith-based community
GOALS AND CHALLENGES FOR THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The new Executive Director will be taking over an organization with credibility
in the field, a solid track record of effectiveness and a talented and
committed board and staff. The Board, believing that the potential exists
for a significant expansion of the Jewish Fund for Justice, has set the
following goals for the new leader.
· Substantially and dramatically increase the revenue of the organization
in five years through a persistent, imaginative and strategic pursuit
of gifts from foundations and individuals. While the primary responsibility
for this will be the Executive Director’s, the board and staff will
be expected to play key roles in achieving this goal.
· Immediately initiate significant new efforts and continue to
refine current efforts to raise the profile of the organization. This
initiative will result in substantially raising JFJ’s profile among
both affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, among those active in the social
justice community and among the community at large.
· Continue to seek out and build partnerships to expand the Fund’s
scope and effectiveness and leverage its funds.
· Continue to develop and expand JFJ’s grantmaking budget.
· Create programs and practices that will result in the recruitment,
development and retention of excellent staff. The Fund’s most valuable
resources are the dedication and professionalism of its staff. The new
leader will also be expected to integrate, to the greatest degree possible,
different aspects of program work, including grantmaking, education and
Jewish organizing, as well as to promote maximum information-sharing,
consultation, and collaboration among all members of the staff. While
these practices have recently increased, they need to become firmly institutionalized.
· With the board, develop and strengthen board membership to help
the organization meet its ambitious goals of becoming one of 21st century
America’s most prominent and most effective Jewish organizations.
· Continue to develop and expand the Fund’s education and
Jewish organizing programs.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
This role demands a leader with a talent for translating ideals and
values into action and increasing the reach, strength and size of a highly
effective and highly regarded institution. While no one person will possess
all of the qualities described below, the ideal candidate would have the
following personal and professional characteristics:
· A passionate commitment to social and economic justice.
· An appreciation of the importance of tikkun olam (repair of
the world) and tzedakah (righteous giving) to the mission and success
of the Jewish Fund for Justice.
· An aptitude and appetite for fundraising.
· An understanding of the principles and practices of effective
grantmaking and the principles and practices of effective outreach and
education in the Jewish community.
· Excellent written and oral communications skills that will enable
the person to serve as JFJ’s primary spokesperson, along with a
willingness and ability to delegate the responsibilities of running the
day-to-day operation of the foundation.
· A lively intelligence that can focus creatively on problems
and a patience that understands the difficulty in solving many of the
problems the Fund addresses.
· An entrepreneurial temperament that is constantly seeking out
· A sense of humor, a sense of perspective and a sense of humility.
· Leadership skills and experience with organizational planning.
· Experience working in a nonprofit either as a board member or
on the staff.
· Demonstrated record of successful fundraising.
· A commitment to the professional development of staff.
· A history of working in some capacity within the Jewish community.
Mary E. King
334 Boylston Street, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02116
Electronic submission in MSWord to: email@example.com
is strongly encouraged.
The Jewish Fund for Justice seeks a smart, energetic self-starter to
join the development team. Responsibilities include major gift solicitations,
foundation and corporation support, special events and donor acquisition.
This position is supervised by the Deputy Director and also works closely
with Executive Director and the Board of Directors.
Specific responsibilities include:
· Draft solicitation appeals, template proposals, reports and other
· Support the Executive Director and Deputy Director in cultivation,
solicitation and renewal of gifts
· Staff the Board Development committee and work closely with its
· Assist Board members as they contribute to the success of the
· Work closely with program staff to integrate communications,
grantmaking, and education programs into fundraising goals and strategies
· Work with the Deputy Director to develop and implement strategies
to renew donors, increase gifts, recover lapsed donors, and seek new prospects
· Bachelors degree
· At least 2 years of fundraising experience
· Excellent oral and written communications skills
· Knowledge of the Jewish Community
· Ability to multi task
· Excellent interpersonal skills
· Commitment to mission and goals of the Jewish Fund for Justice
· Facility with technology: Microsoft Office, Donor Tracking Software
(Raiser’s Edge a +)
Salary in the high 40’s, excellent benefits. Send resume, cover
letter and 1-2 page writing sample to Amy Dickstein, Director of Operations,
firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.213.2233
by November 15. No calls please. EOE