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philanthropy (1)

Jeffrey Solomon (Charles and Andrea Bronfman Foundation) shares insights with the CAJM audience.  At table L-R: Session co-chair and moderator Lila Corwin Berman; National Museum of American Jewish History CEO Ivy Barksy; Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program Lead Anita Contini; Jewish Federation of LA VP of Young Engagement Tal Gozani.

Among the many points Jeff shared was his observation that of six factors that drove the success of major Jewish philanthropies from the 1940s - 1970s, only one remains true today.  Previously:

  • Most Jews self-identified as Jews in the first instance. 
  • They were highly conscious of glass ceilings, quotas, and discrimination in American society. There was also keen awareness of the risks to Jewish communities elsewhere. Insecurity was widely felt. 
  • There was an organic connection to Israel, linked to the trauma of the Holocaust. Giving to develop Israel and support the ingathering of Jews took on a notion of redemption.
  • Philanthropy with a religious cast and to a central organization was largely in the DNA. Jewish communities in Europe had specific religious taxes and these left an imprint in habit and expectation. The Jewish community had a strong sense that it took care of its members, from birth to the cemetery. 
  • There was frankly not that much competition. The great museums, universities, and hospitals were not that keen for Jewish support because they were not that keen to have Jews on their boards. 

Today, only the first of these is true. Jews are still relatively affluent. 

Ivy Barsky made a strong case for Jewish museums' unique ability to offer shared Jewish experiences to diverse groups who might be uncomfortable in a religious or more traditionally Jewish spaces.

Anita Contini shared insights from Bloomberg's proactive efforts to fund innovation and expand museum access, while also sharing knowledge and building capacity of their recipient institutions.

Tal Gozani shared some examples of collaborative funding where LA Federation not only provided dollars but also brought organizations together for innovative partnerships.

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