Top Five Websites

  1. Philanthropy Center at Indiana University, www.learningtogive.org
  2. Jewish Funds for Justice. www.Jewishjustice.org
  3. 21/64 Bronfman Foundation www.2164.net
  4. Socialaction.com
  5. Jewish Funders Network

1. Learning to Give

The Learning to Give is the curriculum Division of the LEAGUE, Founded in 2005 by a consortium of business, education, government, media, non-profit leaders and youth. The LEAGUE empowers youth to "get in the game" of serving their community and world. The LEAGUE's school and web-based programming provides the resources for teachers to engage students in making a positive difference in their community and the world. It describes itself as "The world's leading developer of lessons and resources that teach giving and volunteerism, civic engagement and character through service learning."

Includes a collection of 1,200 quotations on the general topic of 'giving,' as well as 1,300 lessons for k-12 classrooms. Available on the website is a Lesson Search Engine, and resources from parents, students youth workers and private and public schools. Of particular interest are the online videos that teach young children about philanthropy.

With an extensive selection of resources for faith groups, there are essays explaining major world faiths from a philanthropic perspective. Included are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Native American Spirituality. The interfaith section includes discussions of altruism, and stewardship. The section entitled Voices of Faith includes position papers written by individuals practicing their faiths. Among those from a Jewish perspective, one can find a Bat Mitzvah speech on chesed to the description of the non-profit, volunteer based organization that unites teens and homebound elderly in the New York metropolitan area.

An excellent resource for teachers, this site provides quick lessons for religious school, youth groups, pre-school as well as interfaith programs. The interfaith comparisons on philanthropy could serve as an excellent jumping off point for a class on world religions.

2. Jewish Funds for Justice

Jewish Funds for Justice is a national public foundation that seeks to make change in the United States through grant making and loans, service learning, organizing, advocacy and education. JFSJ is guided by six Jewish values; hope/tikvah, courage/ometz, humility/anavah, dignity/tzelem elohim, abundance/shefa, and community/kehillah. Using these values, JFSJ seeks to build relationships with existing organizations to increase their capacity for pursuing economic justice.

Based on these values and vision, JFJS awards grants to organizations that fit their criteria for making a lasting change in communities in the United States. Jewish Funds for Justice gives grants to Jewish communities who are interested in making change in the greater communities in which they live. Many of the grantees are awarded money to join with an inter-faith community organization. There are many ways one can get involved with Jewish Funds for Justice, through their community events as they have offices around the United States, by reading their blog jspot.org, and volunteer for their Atlanta service corps among other options.

This website is on our top five list because of the impactful work that they do and to provide a model for online fundraising. Congregations also involved in community organizing can find resources and inspiration from jewishjustice.org.

3. 21/64 Bronfman Foundation

21/64 is a non-profit organization that addresses 'strategic philanthropy through the generations.' It serves families as well as foundations and federations by providing services to address generational transitioning.

Their philosophy reflects a thoughtful approach to the tremendous transfer of wealth that will occur between generations. It addresses the challenges and benefits of philanthropic efforts coordinated by members of 'multiple age cohorts.' The number 21 represents the age when young people come of age, and 64 a time when legacy is on the forefront of adults' minds. The website is simple and easy to navigate, including links to articles on family philanthropy, downloadable resources and top rate materials available for purchase from the website. Most useful to professionals are articles on transitions in philanthropy, many addressing Jewish communal concerns in particular.

21/64 works in partnership with FJC: A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds. This organization seeks to create innovative and customized philanthropic solutions, increase the impact of giving and respond to the needs of givers and recipient organizations.

The most useful component of the 21/64 website in a congregational or educational setting is the online access to their publication Slingshot. Aiming to highlight Jewish innovations, slingshot is a resource list of 50 organizations that are deemed both effective and unique, engaging a wide variety of methods, populations and geographic locations. The book, which can serve funders of any amount, can serve as an excellent resource for those looking to support creative approaches to Jewish life. The PDF can be easily downloaded from the website and can serve as a great starting off point for a tzedakah collective, a course on philanthropy, or a confirmation class discussion on giving.

4. An Online Jewish Resource for Repairing the World

Jewish Family and Life, who also produces Sh'ma and JFL Books, publishes Socialaction.com. Individuals and organizations can look to socialaction.com for information on making a positive impact on the world. They strive to provide a framework for Jews of any affiliation to become social activists.

There are three main components to socialaction.com, advocacy tools, community service and organizing and tzedakah. Their tzedakah section links to numerous other websites that offer activities and information on tzedakah and philanthropy. Some of the items listed on the tzedakah section include, ideas on more effective tzedakah, how to create a birthday party that promotes a Jewish sense of generosity, and links to Jewish Funds for Justice, American Jewish World Service and Danny Siegel's Ziv Project.

In addition from the resources we have provided, this website offers an egalitarian and trans denominational look at tzedakah and other social action issues providing resources for home and the congregation.

5. Jewish Funders Network

Jewish Funders Network is an organization that is dedicated to the advancement of philanthropy in the Jewish world. The organization consists of individuals who give a substantial amount to philanthropic causes through a Jewish lens, whether or not the funds go directly to Jewish causes. Jewish Funders Network provides seminar and webinars to provide philanthropists with intellectual capital, whether it is based on a new project, dealing with the current economy or creating networks for philanthropists to make the biggest financial impact.

Understanding that the future of philanthropy lies with the youth, Jewish Funders Network does a lot of work with teen philanthropy. The Jewish Funders Teen Network provides materials for working with teens on cultivating their philanthropy specifically through a Jewish lens.

Rabbis and Jewish professionals should know about the Jewish Funders Network in order to refer large donors to this organization. The website also contains a wealth of information on the current economic crisis and how it philanthropy will be affected by it. The teen philanthropy curriculum could also be useful for high school groups in a synagogue so they can start thinking about their money and values through a Jewish lens.