The Power of Trust

by Josh Kerr | Sep 21, 2023

JFM is making changes to the grant payment process for ease of charitable organizations

Recently, we adopted a fundamental change to the granting process at the JFM, shifting to trust-based philanthropy. This change aligns with how numerous foundations are operating, evolving with the needs of our respective communities.

At the JFM, our primary objective is to provide maximum assistance to community organizations through grants. While the monetary value of the grant is the most visible aspect, much more happens behind the scenes. With the shift to trust-based philanthropy, the process becomes more streamlined for recipients, allowing them to concentrate more on achieving their goals.

In trust-based philanthropy, the grant is paid once it is approved and agreements are signed. Before this change, grants would only be disbursed after receipts for project expenses were received.

There are several reasons the JFM has implemented trust-based philanthropy. First and foremost, it significantly alleviates the financial burden on organizations. Instead of utilizing their funds to complete the project, which could lead to additional stress and obstacles, trust-based philanthropy enables them to focus on the most crucial aspect: successfully executing their projects to benefit the public they serve.

“It comes down to figuring out ways to make operations and programming easier for these organizations,” explains Marla Aronovitch, Director of Operations & Grants at the JFM. “With our grant dollars, we want to help as many of these organizations do their work as easily as possible. If we can eliminate the added time and potential stress that comes with receiving support, then we’ve hit on something good.”

This innovative approach promotes mutual accountability and strengthens our relationship with these organizations. It fosters collaboration between the Foundation and the organizations, encouraging ongoing open dialogue and providing greater flexibility in responding to emerging needs. Active engagement between the JFM and our grant recipients ensures strong connections and prioritized relationships.

Al Benarroch, Executive Director of Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS), emphasizes, “Trust is a powerful word. Knowing that there is an inherent trust that we are doing the work that we say, we can focus on enriching the lives of community members and helping as many people as needed.”

Trust-based philanthropy also reduces the administrative burden on the grantees. It ensures less time and resources are spent on gathering receipts. Traditional philanthropy often involves complex applications and extensive reporting requirements. We are simplifying the process, freeing up time and resources for grantees to concentrate on their mission and programmatic work.

Benarroch adds, “We deeply appreciate the Foundation’s understanding that organizations like JCFS are on the front lines, actively working in the community and have the best sense of its needs. The trust placed in us by the Foundation allows the freedom to be effective without additional administrative work.”

The most critical task for our recipient organization is to allow them to provide their services efficiently. Trust-based philanthropy prioritizes these programs and services.

Collaborating closely with recipients to ensure grant dollars address their most urgent needs further strengthens the connection between the Foundation and our grant recipients.