International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

J Street Education Fund, Inc.

aka J Street

Washington, DC

Mission

J Street represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and believe resolving the conflicts with its neighbors diplomatically is essential to securing its future as a democratic and Jewish homeland.  We support the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own and believe that the only sustainable answer to the conflict – and the only way to achieve long-term security for Israel – is to have two states for the two peoples living side-by-side in peace and security. This is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, the Palestinians, and the region as a whole.

Ruling Year

2006

President

Jeremy Ben-Ami

Main Address

P.O. Box 66073

Washington, DC 20035 USA

Formerly Known As

Union of Progressive Zionists

Keywords

Middle East, Peace, Israel, Palestine, Jewish, Zionist, Peace, Social Justice

EIN

20-2777557

 Number

2400314585

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (Q01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Jewish (X30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Mission

Where we work

Charting Impact

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

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What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

JSEF's ultimate goal is the achievement of a two-state solution and a comprehensive, regional peace that provides Israel with security and acceptance by its neighbors, while preserving its core Jewish and democratic character. Guided by our belief that peace will not be achieved by leaving the parties to solve the conflict on their own, we believe third party – and specifically American – leadership will be necessary to forge an agreement. We further believe that such leadership will only happen when American policy makers and politicians see that a majority of those who care most about this issue, Jewish Americans, strongly support such an American role.

JSEF's theory of change, therefore, is that by educating, organizing and mobilizing the large segment (81 percent) of American Jews who support strong US leadership for a two-state solution, we can provide the space and support the president and policy makers need to boldly help Israelis and Palestinians resolve their conflict. Creating an open, vibrant conversation on Israel within the American Jewish community is an essential pre-condition to such space being opened in the political and policy arenas.

It is worth noting that J Street does not need to convince those who strongly disagree with our positions within the American Jewish community or the political sphere. The majority of American Jews and many politicians already broadly agree with us; they just need a movement to validate, organize and amplify their voices.

Success in the period leading up to the ultimate victory of a peace agreement means establishing ours as a mainstream voice in American politics and in the Jewish community. As we open up discussion within the American Jewish community and on Capitol Hill, the direct beneficiaries of our programs are Jews across the country as well as members of Congress. We provide educational opportunities that help inform their positions on critical issues related to the conflict as well as the vehicles to elevate their voices.

Creating space for US leadership also has indirect beneficiaries. The White House benefits from gaining cover from the Jewish community to lead toward a two-state solution. The American Jewish community will be healthier without constraints on acceptable debate on this difficult issue. And the Israeli and Palestinian people will benefit when peace is achieved.

Community Organizing: To date, we have built a vibrant field program. Until 2013, the program was heavily numbers-based; our focus was more volunteers, more online supporters and more chapters. This tactic contributed to rapid growth and name recognition and served us well in our initial years. Our goals for the near term place a greater focus on qualitative growth and leadership development. This strategy underlines our understanding that having the right people in the right roles will position the organization for successive quantitative growth in the out-years of the Five-Year Plan (i.e. 2017-2018).

Rabbinic Organizing: Rabbis are vital opinion leaders in the American Jewish community, whose views on Israel carry particular weight among the communal and political audiences J Street needs to influence. JSEF places a high priority on growing public support for its positions from rabbis and other clergy to validate the legitimacy and mainstream nature of its views. JSEF employs a full-time rabbinic director who coordinates our national rabbinic cabinet (of ordained rabbis, cantors and rabbinic students).

Israel-Based Organizing: JSEF maintains a full-time staff presence in Israel to organize Israeli validation for our work in the United States. Providing validation from credible Israeli sources that JSEF's positions are mainstream and accepted in Israel is essential to us achieving our goals in the United States. Israeli validation, particularly from the security, diplomatic and political sectors, for the policies and opinions taken by JSEF in the US, is vital to reach and affect both American Jewish and political audiences. Securing support from the right Israelis first requires educating key audiences in Israel about JSEF to overcome doubts and misconceptions about our policies and intentions. Thus our Israel program aims to familiarize key Israelis with JSEF and to ensure that they understand JSEF's support for the people and state of Israel.

Student Organizing: J Street U is the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement's student organizing arm. Since its founding in 2009, the movement has grown dramatically — addressing a real need on campus for a middle ground between traditional pro-Israel groups adopting an “Israel-right-or-wrong" approach and pro-Palestinian groups that too often adopt anti-Israel rhetoric and positions. By grounding its work in Jewish values that resonate with students, the movement has significantly improved the atmosphere on campus. But the impact of J Street U extends beyond the campus; it has the potential to affect both the larger political and communal goals that J Street seeks to achieve as well.

Additional Programming: Speaking tours with Israeli and Palestinian speakers; Missions to Israel and Congressional delegations to Israel; National Conference in Washington, DC.

In the Five-Year Plan we commit to clear, measurable and achievable objectives for our work in the Jewish community that advance our policy goals. These objectives focus on demonstrating that communal leaders and validators share our views and on convincing those who do not to permit a more vigorous and open debate in the community rather than to stifle dissent in the name of unity. We have set yearly targets for each of the five years of the plan with tangible indicators to measure success. J Street's senior team reviews indicators on a monthly basis. Each of our 100 top indicators has been assigned to a member of our senior team, who is then accountable for achieving them through ongoing and annual reviews.

The J Street Education Fund (JSEF) is the educational (501(c)(3)) arm of the J Street movement, which was established to organize and mobilize pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans committed to fighting for the future of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people and to address the existential threat to Israel of failure to reach a two-state solution. In just six years, J Street has grown from a basement start-up to a national force, with an important voice in the Israel debate at the White House, in Congress, on campuses and across the Jewish community. We have evolved into an established organization with 50 staff and nine offices.

Since 2008, 180,000 Jewish Americans and friends of Israel have found a home with JSEF. We have established chapters in nearly 50 communities and on almost 60 college campuses. We had over 2,800 supporters, including 900 students, at our fourth national conference September 28-October 1, 2013 — double the 1,500 attendees at our first national conference in 2009. Support for the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital of both an Israeli and Palestinian state, has grown by 10 percent among American Jews since JSEF's inception, in part due to our educational programming.

Thanks to JSEF's growth and success, there is, today, a more vibrant conversation in Washington and in the American Jewish community on what it means to be pro-Israel. J Street U—our campus arm—has gone from being barred from running programs at some campus Hillels to J Street U student representatives being invited to Hillel International's board of directors meeting in Chicago in 2014. The JSEF Rabbinic Cabinet now numbers over 800 rabbis, cantors and rabbinic students. Five JSEF congressional delegations have brought 25 members of the House of Representatives to the Middle East to view the conflict through a balanced lens and to gain an understanding of the imperative role US leadership plays in driving a two-state solution forward. Finally, our national conference is now the third largest annual gathering of Jewish Americans and the largest gathering of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement in the US.

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Financials

J Street Education Fund, Inc.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable