Volunteers Innovate to Succeed During Crisis


CJP relies on community members like you — volunteers and donors, conveners, and connectors — to move our mission forward. The nearly 100 volunteers serving on our eight standing committees and carrying out fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of CJP’s Board of Directors are partners who provide valuable oversight and direction to our senior staff, guide our organizational strategy, and ensure we make the greatest impact in the most responsible way. Our volunteer committee members truly serve as the backbone of CJP, allowing us to continue to be a trusted organization in the community. 

The support of our committee volunteers has been especially important over the past year as we navigated the global pandemic and its effect on our community. Two of those volunteers are Laurene Sperling (pictured left) and Elizabeth Jick (right). Here, we highlight how their committees, the Commission on Strategic Priorities (CSP) and the Budget and Administration Committee (B&A) helped us weather this crisis.

Shifting our grantmaking model 

The Commission on Strategic Priorities (CSP) is responsible for considering significant strategic questions and choice points connected to CJP’s work and investments across the community.

Led by Chair Laurene Sperling, this group of 18 volunteers has guided CJP in creating a new grantmaking framework that is informing CJP’s investments moving forward. As a result of this work, CJP has been able to define three cross-cutting communal impact areas: Caring for Vulnerable Populations, Broader and Deeper Engagement in Jewish Life, and Healthy, Thriving, and Sustainable Community. Within each of these impact areas, CJP seeks to strengthen the health and breadth of our community and invest in key priorities that will shape our future.

Throughout this past year, CSP members have provided critical input on opportunities for transformational impact, new funding models that enable CJP to respond with agility to community needs, and aligning our resources with the impact we seek to achieve.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic

The Budget and Administration Committee (B&A), led by Elizabeth Jick, is responsible for making recommendations to the CJP Board of Directors on the use of non-invested assets, our overall budget, and on our financial and administrative processes. This past year, the B&A Committee combined careful oversight with an understanding of the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus emergency to allow for real-time funding adjustments and the delivery of grants to the organizations that needed them most.

In partnership with CSP and the Committee on Development, the B&A Committee focused on freeing up liquidity and recommending the use of reserve funds to give immediate relief funding as needs emerged. CJP mobilized more than $10 million to support people and organizations, including more than $4 million in grants from the Coronavirus Emergency Fund and more than $6 million in accelerated funding to 89 of our partner organizations. 

A big thank you to all our volunteers serving on standing committees, and to all of you who give to CJP in any way — whether that is through time, expertise, networks, or funding. We couldn’t do this great work without you! If you are interested in learning more about how to volunteer at CJP, visit our website or reach out to Dara Klein at DaraK@cjp.org.