As Jewish causes face more fundraising challenges than ever before–including increased competition both within the Jewish world and with other nonprofits and donors hit hard by the economic recession–Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work has launched a new Certificate Program in Jewish Philanthropy to provide talented Jewish communal professionals with the tools they need to succeed in the modern philanthropic arena.

“Meaningful philanthropy will ensure the Jewish future both through raising funds and raising sights,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “This certificate program seeks to train the best and brightest to do both.”

The Certificate Program kicked off this semester with 20 participants from a wide range of Jewish organizations and professional backgrounds, including the UJA Federation of NY, Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewish World Service, Yachad, and American Friends of Shalva, among others. Classes meet twice a week and are offered in two key areas: The art and science of fundraising and the Jewish philanthropic tradition. Both are frequently guest-taught by leaders in the field, including Jeffrey Solomon, president of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service; and Yossi Prager, executive director for North America at The AVI CHAI Foundation.

The program also features a 56-hour internship with top-level professional mentoring in a Jewish development office, either within the institutions where Fellows currently work or as an independent project.

“We aim immediately to address the chronic shortage of skilled, knowledgeable, and committed fundraisers for Jewish organizations by preparing professionals who are firmly grounded in fundraising skills as well as the most current and effective strategies for resource development,” said Dr. Saul Andron, Hausman Chair in Communal Social Work and associate professor at Wurzweiler, the certificate program’s coordinator. “Fundraising has become increasingly sophisticated and complex, with new methods of raising money and cultivating and inspiring prospects. Any job-finding site in the Jewish world will starkly demonstrate the lack of and need for fundraisers trained like this in Jewish organizations today.”

“Modern professionals need this kind of program because there are hundreds if not thousands of Jewish nonprofits competing for the Jewish philanthropic dollar in New York alone,” said Dan Forman, vice president for institutional advancement at YU, who helped design the program and will lead several of its class sessions. “There is a science to what Jewish fundraising could and should be–for instance, how you communicate and develop a relationship with a donor to balance meeting a need of the organization with fulfilling the wish and desire of the donor.”

The two courses will hit on all the key elements of modern Jewish fundraising from the inside perspective of successful professionals. Sessions on the annual and capital campaigns, major gifts development, legacies and endowments, and women’s philanthropy will go hand-in-hand with sessions about how to harness technology and social media for maximum impact and the changing nature of fundraising and motivations of younger generations of donors.

To learn more about the Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy, contact Dr. Saul Andron at v


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