An Open Letter To Our Community

San Francisco, CA – For those of you who know our Federation, you know how much we care about this community and the work that we do here. In light of that, we would like to clarify questions stemming from a Forward article regarding the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund’s grantmaking.

First and most importantly, our values remain unchanged. We are committed to tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (justice), and kehillah (community). We engage in this work every day, not only through grant making, but also through efforts such as capacity building, convening, and collaborating with partners, leadership development, and emergency response. Extremist views like bigotry and violence have no place in our community or our work.
The organizations mentioned in the news articles received grants from donor-advised funds and supporting foundations (donor-advised giving). We provide these giving vehicles as one of the many ways we support the Jewish community’s personal philanthropy. Donors fund these vehicles using personal assets. This is different from funds raised by the community through the annual campaign and other designated giving opportunities, which are used solely to help implement the Federation’s strategic priorities. Therefore, we want to assure you that annual campaign and designated gifts are not used to fund an individual donor’s personal interests, as the news articles may have implied.
When it comes to donor-advised giving, we make more than 9,000 grants every year, totaling over $175 million from our generous donors. These donors are also a diverse community and they have a variety of political and social viewpoints and activities that we value. That said, we have funding guidelines in place to ensue that all grantmaking, including from donor advised funds and supporting foundations, does not violate our mission.
As we have previously stated, we strengthened the implementation of our grantmaking review process in 2017. More specifically, that means we extended our grant guidelines to include all grants made from supporting foundations. Donor-advised funds were already subject to these guidelines as of late 2015. So as of 2017 and not as a result of these news articles, our grant guidelines apply to all aspects of our grantmaking.
While we have no intention of funding extremist groups anywhere on the political spectrum, today or into the future, we will not always immediately recognize that an organization does not comply, especially as organizations and their activities change. Additionally, our review may not result in the same conclusions as others. However, we will be vigilant in applying our guidelines, and will make adjustments should more information about an organization’s activities come to light.
We are extremely grateful to those of you who have reached out with your questions, concerns, and expressions of support. We remain committed to building a vibrant, caring Jewish community that is a force for good in the world.
Danny Grossman                    Jim Heeger
Chief Executive Officer          Board Chair


The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at

For immediate release

October 12, 2018