Your Daily Phil: Documenting the lack of ‘career ladders’ for educators + Less than half of NSGP grants approved

Good Wednesday morning!

Teach Coalition, the Orthodox Union group that advocates for government funding for non-public schools, has hired a field director for Westchester, Manhattan and Riverdale as part of a new strategy to expand its organizing, Sydney Altfield, Teach Coalition’s director of grassroots engagement, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Prior to hiring Jill Ellman as the new field directorAltfield was responsible for Teach Coalition’s efforts to muster support among New York State voters for budget items such as school security that translated to financial support for Jewish day schools. Now Ellman and two additional regional organizers, who have yet to be hired, will report to Altfield. There are about 450,000 non-public school students in the state, and about 7,000 in Ellman’s region.

Ellman comes to the position from a 17-year career as an educator at Westchester Day School, a K-8 Modern Orthodox school, which she also attended, and which her daughter now attends. Most recently, she taught general studies in 5th grade. She had never considered leaving the classroom, but when she happened to see Teach Coalition’s job listing, she felt intrigued by the opportunity to help make systemic change.

“Helping to create affordable tuition is crucial because if you don’t have that, nobody can teach,” Ellman said. Ellman is focused first on setting up meetings and events with parents and educators to raise Teach Coalition’s profile.

“We’re creating networks of people who meet regularly or speak regularly with legislators, and who vote,” Ellman said. “That way, when something comes up that is needed for the community, our network can follow up with the legislator and make some noise.”

Teach Coalition also operates in California, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The New Jersey office has hired two regional field directors.

THE ACCIDENTAL EDUCATOR

CASJE’s latest paper documents the lack of ‘career ladders’ for educators

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A survey of 1,278 Jewish educators released today by Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE) found that 49% entered the field “accidentally,” signaling a concerning and widespread lack of clear professional pathways in the profession, Arielle Levites, CASJE’s managing director, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Seeking direction: “If education is what’s important to you, and you don’t want to be clergy, and you don’t want to be an administrator, then there’s no career ladders,” Levites said. “That’s a source of frustration for educators who value their professional growth.” The survey is described and analyzed in a paper called “The Journeys of Jewish Educators,” which is part of a broader project, the “Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators Study,” from CASJE and Rosov Consulting that explores Jewish educators’ motivations and progress.

Counting everyone: CASJE also conducted a census, which counted 72,000 Jewish educators working in the United States in 2019. Motivations for entering the profession included being inspired by family (45%) or an educator (33%), participating in Jewish camps (31%) and going to religious services (26%). The Jim Joseph Foundation and the William Davidson Foundation are funding the study. Last week, CASJE released a paper that revealed “troubling data” indicating that Jewish education as a profession needed to improve workplace conditions for educators.

Dining out on data: This latest report goes into more detail about one of those possible improvements, Levites said — the need to create new roles for educators who have advanced in their careers but don’t want to become administrators. The next three briefs will make more comparisons based on the different job categories, said Benjamin M. Jacobs, a professor at The George Washington University and co-chair of the CASJE Advisory Board. “Our mission at CASJE is to produce reliable and meaningful data that can guide decision-making,” Levites said. “We want to make sure that research-based knowledge has a seat at the table.”  

Read the full story here.

TEMPTY COFFERS

Less than half of NSGP grant applications approved for 2021

Temple Mishkan Israel in Selma, Ala. via Facebook

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) fulfilled less than half of the applications it received for 2021 grants, a FEMA spokesperson told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod. In total, nonprofits submitted 3,361 applications requesting nearly $400 million in NSGP funds, far outstripping the $180 million appropriated by Congress for the 2021 fiscal year. Of those, 1,532 applications were approved.

Alarm bells: Anti-Defamation League National Security Director Ryan Greer suggested in an interview with Jewish Insider that closer to 80% or 90% of applicants to a security grant program should receive funding, rather than what he called the “astonishingly low” 46% that were funded this year. This year’s shortfall is “a fantastic illustration of the real need and how we are not meeting it,” added Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. The acceptance rate, Hauer emphasized, “isn’t because 50% are worthy and the others aren’t worthy. It reflects the funds which the federal government is making available.”

Trouble on the horizon: It is unclear if the situation will improve next year. The House Appropriations Committee decided last month not to provide additional NSGP funding for 2022, holding the funding level at $180 million despite a spike in antisemitic, anti-Asian and other hate crimes and domestic extremism this year. Program advocates on and off Capitol Hill largely support increasing the funding to $360 million for 2022, which Greer and Hauer argued is an appropriate target based on this year’s hate crimes data.

Question mark: Greer said he is “cautiously optimistic — emphasis on caution” that the Senate will support increasing NSGP funding in its own budget proposal, highlighting Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) past support for funding increases. But he also noted there was also strong support in the House for a funding increase, where no increase materialized. Hauer told JI, “There is a real chance — we’re not going to stop trying.”

Read more here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) fulfilled less than half of the applications it received for 2021 grants, a FEMA spokesperson told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod. In total, nonprofits submitted 3,361 applications requesting nearly $400 million in NSGP funds, far outstripping the $180 million appropriated by Congress for the 2021 fiscal year. Of those, 1,532 applications were approved.

Alarm bells: Anti-Defamation League National Security Director Ryan Greer suggested in an interview with Jewish Insider that closer to 80% or 90% of applicants to a security grant program should receive funding, rather than what he called the “astonishingly low” 46% that were funded this year. This year’s shortfall is “a fantastic illustration of the real need and how we are not meeting it,” added Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. The acceptance rate, Hauer emphasized, “isn’t because 50% are worthy and the others aren’t worthy. It reflects the funds which the federal government is making available.”

Trouble on the horizon: It is unclear if the situation will improve next year. The House Appropriations Committee decided last month not to provide additional NSGP funding for 2022, holding the funding level at $180 million despite a spike in antisemitic, anti-Asian and other hate crimes and domestic extremism this year. Program advocates on and off Capitol Hill largely support increasing the funding to $360 million for 2022, which Greer and Hauer argued is an appropriate target based on this year’s hate crimes data.

Question mark: Greer said he is “cautiously optimistic — emphasis on caution” that the Senate will support increasing NSGP funding in its own budget proposal, highlighting Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) past support for funding increases. But he also noted there was also strong support in the House for a funding increase, where no increase materialized. Hauer told JI, “There is a real chance — we’re not going to stop trying.”

Read more here.

AHAVAT YISRAEL

The dilemma of progressive Zionism

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“In recent conversations, we have heard our congregants and friends wonder: ‘When did I become such a centrist?’ ‘Who knew I was such a radical lefty?’ ‘Why don’t people believe I am a Zionist when I express concern about the policies of the Israeli government?’ As a rabbi and cantor who care passionately about Israel, these questions deeply concern us, both personally and professionally. And we are not alone. Young Jews are confused about Israel,” write Rabbi Leah Sternberg and Cantor Lucy Fishbein of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, N.J., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Inflection point: “You would never know by scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or mainstream media outlets that it is, in fact, possible to believe that Israel has a right to exist while also believing that Palestinians have a right to self-determination and dignity. It is possible to be an ardent Zionist who loves the State and the land of Israel and at the same time stand in support of social justice and progressive values.”

Boiling point: “As two people who fall at the intersection of millennial, progressive, and Zionist, we not only see, but feel the urgency to make room for progressive Zionism within the American Jewish landscape. Today, we who embrace our Zionism find ourselves lost in the conversation of American progressive politics and even rejected completely. We are alienated by the spaces that espouse the values of social justice and fearful about the choices we may face in future elections if the partisan politics around U.S.-Israel relations only become further polarized. Our peers on the left label any support of the Jewish homeland as being fundamentally racist and oppressive, full stop, while those on the right label any criticism of Israel and its policies as being anti-Zionist. The tension between those who unequivocally support Jewish self-determination in our ancestral homeland, and those who believe the pain points of Israel’s policies are too heavy to justify, has reached a boiling point. Zionism has seemingly become a dirty word in the progressive world.”

Read the full piece here.

OUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE

The invaluable role of a Jewish educator: A funder’s perspective

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“Last year, as public health requirements necessitated remote learning, technology became front and center in discussions about lasting educational change. While I recognize the value of technology, and support its ability to make the educational process more efficient and relevant, the pandemic has made me even more certain about the invaluable role that human beings — specifically, talented, well trained and well supported Jewish educators — play in shaping a human being and nurturing Jewish identity,” writes Manette Mayberg, trustee of the Mayberg Foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Value and prioritize talent: “Only humans have the capacity to help children develop healthy, authentic relationships with others, the community and G-d. As such, Jewish educators should be encouraged to exercise this talent authentically and from the heart. Their talent should also be valued enough to prioritize developing it professionally.”

Pandemic lifelines: “Throughout the pandemic, person-to-person interaction has continued to prove its unique power to convey identity, love of learning and enthusiasm for being part of a community. Jewish day schools doubled down on relationship building; a great many invested in safe, creative ways to bring students and teachers together in person. And throughout the pandemic, day schools, camps and youth groups were lifelines to so many children with their strong emphasis supporting social-emotional needs including personal check-ins with kids, as well as new virtual community-building rituals and programs.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Smaller Slice: For the first time in almost 20 years, only half of U.S. households donated to a charity, according to a new study from Indiana University that confirms the trend of a smaller group of donors even as the dollar amount of donations soars due to philanthropy by the ultra-rich, reports Haleluya Hadero in the Associated Press. Factors behind the phenomenon include the decline in attendance at worship services, where much giving takes place, and the impact of the 2008 recession, which made it difficult for young people to establish a habit of giving. “You have a very different supply of goods and services from the charitable community when the rich people give versus when the middle-class or lower-class gives,” said John List, an economics professor at the University of Chicago. “Rich people give to causes that rich people want to give to.” [AP]

Great Niche: In Philanthropy Daily, Stephanie Walker interviews Henry Peyreburne, a bassist in the Cleveland Orchestra who also serves as board chair of NoteWorthy Federal Credit Union, which provides loans to help musicians purchase their instruments — credit that for-profit banks are typically unwilling to extend due to the perceived risk. In fact, musicians are “great customers,” Peyreburne said, because they are highly disciplined and value their instrument above most other goods or experiences other people might consider more of a priority. “There really is a viable market for instrument loans that the banks aren’t filling. The knowledge is too specialized, and the market is too small to train people in banks to service musicians,” Peyreburne said. “We’re able to fill that market failure.” [PhilanthropyDaily]

Decision By Committee: A New York State law that stipulated nonprofit executives not be present during conversations about their compensation had the counterintuitive effect of lowering nonprofit executive pay still further, while not affecting turnover, writes Ilona Babenko in The Conversation. Among New York nonprofits operating under the new law, executives spent about 2% more time working even as their compensation fell by about the same amount, and the organizations became better-run, according to some measures. “Many nonprofits also changed how they handled executive compensation,” Babenko notes. “They were more likely to set up compensation committees, perform an independent compensation review or adjust pay to be in line with similar organizations.”

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Word on the Street

The Hadassah Foundation announced the complete list of its 2021 grant recipients, three U.S.-based organizations in the Jewish community and five Israel-based organizations impacting women and girls of all backgrounds… Maccabi Europe received emergency funding as part of a new partnership with Genesis Philanthropy Group… A new Institute for Jewish Policy Research survey was launched this week, calling on Jews across the U.K. to share their experiences of the pandemic to ensure that Jewish charities and organisations have up-to-date data to support their planning efforts… JAMI, the U.K. Jewish community’s leading mental health charity, is set to launch a pilot program for children 11 and up… Foundation Source released its “2021 Report on Private Foundations – Grantmaking, a quantitative analysis of how more than 1,000 private foundations deployed charitable capital in 2020”… The Council on Foundations announced a new five-year strategy that sets forth a twenty-year vision focused on improving philanthropic practices to increase trust, improve relationships, and advance equity in the philanthropic sector… The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced grants totaling approximately $80 million to advance racial and ethnic justice… 

Pic of the Day

STILL FROM A FILM BY AMIT DEKEL; COURTESY

A first-of-its-kind online academic conference showcasing the history, art, music and academic research associated with the Ethiopian Israeli community took place earlier this week, co-organized by Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University and sponsored by the Morris and Rosalind Goodman Foundation.

Birthdays

Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki

Survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau as a teen, he emigrated to Israel and became an artist, Yehuda Bacon… Chicago news personality, Walter David Jacobson… Former U.S. District Court Judge in Manhattan (1988-2006), then U.S. Attorney General (2007-2009), now of counsel at the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, Michael Mukasey… Swedish industrialist, chairman of the Nobel Foundation from 2005 to 2013, Marcus Storch Ph.D…. In 1986 she became first woman in the IDF to hold the rank of Brigadier General, she was a member of Knesset (2006-2009) and now serves on multiple for-profit and nonprofit boards, Amira Dotan… President of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003 and previously a State Department official, Richard N. Haass… Sports columnist, commentator and author of 42 sports-related books, John Feinstein… Tel Aviv-born real estate developer, he has restored many historic buildings in Downtown Los Angeles, Izek Shomof… Partner and managing director of private investment bank DH Capital, he serves on the boards of American Jewish World Service and Hazon, Marty Friedman… French-Israeli hairdresser and entrepreneur, Michel Mercier… Sports executive, attorney and former president of basketball operations for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, David Kahn… Television and radio personality in Atlanta, Mara Davis… Tech entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, Joshua M. “Josh” Linkner… Actress and reality show personality, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren… CEO of Xukuma, LLC, Jennifer Lew Goldstone… Jerusalem-born actor, Ori Pfeffer… Associate justice of the Supreme Court of California, Leondra Kruger… Managing partner at healthcare venture capital firm Altitude Ventures, Jay Zeidman… Member of the editorial board at the New York Daily News, Laura Nahmias… Chairwoman and Chief Technology Officer at Diagnostic Robotics in Jerusalem, the firm produced an app for managing COVID 19 patients, Kira Radinsky Ph.D…. Assistant general manager and director of baseball research and development for the Washington Nationals, Samuel Mondry-Cohen… Administrator at Gardenview Home Care in Trenton, NJ, Menachem (Mark) Perl… Senior staff writer at Politico Magazine, Ruby Cramer

Email Editor@eJewishPhilanthropy.com to have your birthday included.

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