Spurring Innovation Outside the System

By David Rosenn

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Winter 2010

To what extent can a federation serve as an engine for innovation in Jewish communal life? In many ways the Jewish federation system in general and UJA-Federation of New York in particular have already established a reputation as leading-edge innovators when it comes to raising funds. Federations have been prominent innovators of models for endowments and foundations, early experimenters with venture philanthropy and giving circles, and leading developers of a wide array of philanthropic vehicles that allow donors to contribute philanthropically while earning income from invested capital. This innovation on the fundraising side has allowed federations to remain dynamic and responsive to changing trends in philanthropic behavior across generations. However, despite the critical importance of raising funds successfully, this function of the federation world is primarily a means to an end. The mission of federation is not simply to gather in the community's resources, but to allocate them in ways that meet pressing communal needs. This article focuses on the area of innovation in program and priorities. However, it does not examine the significant ways in which federated agencies have served as engines of innovation or the interesting ways that federations have begun to partner with synagogues and college campuses, although both of these efforts deserve significant attention by anyone interested in understanding how a federation can be innovative. Instead, this article assesses and raises questions about the efforts of UJA-Federation of New York to promote and support innovation among emergent organizations through the grant-making process of its commissions.

Topic: Innovation, Startups, Philanthropy and Fundraising, Development, Jewish Federations, Allocations, Fundraising and Philanthropy, Leadership, Service

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.85/No.1

Page Number(s): 141-143

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Genre: Article

Coverage: New York, New York , United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Rosenn, David. Spurring Innovation Outside the System. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Winter 2010: 141-143. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=8126


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