February 2020ISRAELL'CHAIM

The Impact Forum

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By Eliana Rudee, JNS.org

The Impact Forum has been called a “silver bullet” network with its pro-Israel network of Los-Angeles-based donors. Together, they leverage their combined philanthropic strength to support each other’s initiatives, collaborating and empowering a network of small- and mid-size nonprofit organizations — each punching substantially above their weight — to fight anti-Semitism, strengthen the State of Israel and advance the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Its innovative method lies in its multi-network collaboration between philanthropists and organizations to produce maximum impact for a shared cause of pro-Israel activism. Utilizing the “network effect,” it effectively leverages local donors’ money by bringing together pro-Israel philanthropists who learn, support and empower ideologically aligned nonprofits that do exceptional work for the Jewish people.

Every six weeks, the philanthropists attend a luncheon or a dinner to introduce themselves to the other donors and hear from two members of the startup-like network of organizations that advance the forum’s mission. The presenting organizations are selected by a steering committee comprised of experienced and influential philanthropists in the community.

Since its establishment in 2017 by a group of Los Angeles philanthropists, the Impact Forum has raised more than $3 million for the nearly 50 organizations that have presented at their events.

Adam Milstein, a member of the philanthropists’ group that established this platform, said that though it is currently solely based in Los Angeles, the philanthropic multi-network collaboration model “should be adopted nationwide for those seeking to truly drive change.”

Doing so could have the potential to effectively stand up against the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the United States and around the world, he said.

Supported organizations are some of the most effective ones seeking to influence policy-makers, opinion leaders and the public to make a difference. These organizations fall into three categories: research and analysis organization, boots-on-the-ground organizations and media outlets. The organizations that fall under these three categories build synergy and force multiplication between themselves that drive maximum impact. With the financial support of philanthropic network, the knowledge provided by the research organizations and the public awareness created by the media organizations, the boots-on-the-ground groups can focus on maximizing the impact of their unique capabilities.

The organizations are primarily based in the United States (with some in the United Kingdom and Canada), where anti-Semitism is rising at alarming rates and mobilization against it is urgently needed. Some of the Impact Forum presenters include: StopAntisemitsm.org, Zachor Legal Institute, Campaign against anti-Semitism UK, NGO Monitor and UN Watch.

Among its newest organizations is B’nai Brith Canada, which will present its work to ensure Jewish unity and continuity in Canada, and support the State of Israel and global Jewry on Jan. 9 at the Impact Forum’s 24th luncheon in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“It’s an incredible concept expressing a results-oriented approach that I find really innovative, where we can interact with individual philanthropists and engage with charitable groups that combat hate and anti-Semitism,” B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn said. “We can support other groups accomplishing great things for our community, and talk about collaboration and ways to work together to combat hateful speech and action to make ourselves stronger.”

As fundraising is a time consuming and difficult undertaking for smaller nonprofit organizations, the forum philanthropists enable them to focus on their goals. In addition to offering financial support to the organizations, the Impact Forum shares with them cutting-edge research and encourages collaboration, synergy and force multiplication.

In a recent example of such collaborative efforts, “The New Anti-Semites” report was authored by two Impact Forum nonprofits—StopAntisemitism.org and Zachor Legal Institute—and was based on the research and analysis provided by other network organizations. The report was then endorsed by many more Impact Forum organizations that are helping spread the critical findings of the report and promoting the call to action.

“The Impact Forum addresses the critical need for a strategic network that changes the mindset of the Jewish community from defense to offense,” said Milstein. “It employs out-of-the-box strategies that effectively bring together the resources, talents and connections of philanthropists.”

“Together,” continued Milstein, “our philanthropic network is eliminating redundancies, encouraging synergies between like-minded organizations and optimizing tools to maximize impact.”

 

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