A: Our legal name is United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. This name reflects the 1986 merger of two separate organizations, the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York, which was globally focused, and the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City, which was concerned with local issues. Read our history here.
Today, we’re UJA-Federation of New York or UJA-Federation. And you can also call us by our nickname — UJA.
A: That’s like asking if GE is just about lightbulbs or Amazon about books. We’re so much more than a fundraising organization (though we’re pretty proud of how we bring amazing people together to give generously). But we know it’s what we do with the money that really matters. And we do a lot. We’re supporting hundreds of nonprofits, large and small, that are on the ground every day caring for Jews everywhere and New Yorkers of all backgrounds, responding to crises close to home and far away, and shaping our Jewish future. Read our annual report for just a taste of one year’s impact.
A: We distribute funds to hundreds of nonprofits in New York, Israel, and around the world, smartly, strategically, and seeking real measurable outcomes. Deciding how to allocate funds entrusted to us by our donors is an enormous undertaking. Our aim is to carry out this process with full transparency. Every single grant we gave last year is published here.
Behind all these grants, there’s a robust planning department at UJA. Working hand-in-hand with volunteers, our planning staff kicks off every year by determining a set of priorities that guide where the money goes. That doesn’t mean our focus changes drastically from year to year. For example, fighting poverty will always be a major concern, but how we invest in that area may change based on emerging needs (e.g. government reductions) or new technological opportunities (e.g. digital choice food pantries).
On top of that, if there’s a need that’s not being met by the nonprofits currently on the ground, we have the experts, relationships, know-how, and financial resources to create programs from the bottom up. Read more about our approach here.
A: Think of it is as curated philanthropy. We start off by looking at all the needs and trends across the community, commissioning research, convening experts, and talking to people in the field about what resources they need to reach more people, more efficiently. All this backend work helps us determine which nonprofits out there are best equipped to tackle a particular issue. We’re looking at well-established nonprofits and up-and-coming grass-roots organizations. In other words, when you give to UJA, the vetting, research, and strategizing is done for you.
Federated giving also means that when you donate to UJA, your one gift can touch a whole range of issues — issues that you know about because they’re in the headlines, and issues that may relate to you personally and your local community. But you’re also having an impact on issues that may not even be on your radar, issues that don’t make the news, but matter just the same. (Even more so because they aren’t often getting the attention they deserve.)
A: Industry dinners. Volunteer opportunities. Shabbat experiences. Giving circles. Briefings. Communitywide conversations. We’ve got it all. And while you’re munchin’ on sushi and getting an insider’s perspective on the latest news from Israel, maybe you’ll make a new friend. Hear a new point of view. Connect with an industry leader. Meet that special someone. You never know what might happen while you’re giving back and learning about all the impressive things UJA does every day.