American Jewish World Service, Inc.

Working together to build a more just and equitable world

aka AJWS   |   New York, NY   |  www.ajws.org

Mission

Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.

Ruling year info

1994

President and CEO

Mr. Robert Bank

Main address

45 W 36th St

New York, NY 10018 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-2584370

NTEE code info

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

American Jewish World Service is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in the developing world. Through philanthropy and advocacy, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and building a more just and equitable world.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS

Across the globe, women, girls and LGBTQI people face discrimination and violence and are denied the right to make decisions about their bodies and their lives. This makes them especially vulnerable to poverty, domestic abuse, rape, child marriage and HIV and AIDS. In response, AJWS supports 185 social justice organizations that promote equality, stop violence and combat hate crimes, so that women, girls, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live healthy lives, be treated with respect, and pursue their dreams and opportunities freely.

Population Served: Women, adolescent girls, LGBTQI people, sex workers

Geographic Area: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Population(s) Served
Adults

Around the world, authoritarianism, political repression and violence are on the rise. In developing countries, poor and persecuted minorities are often excluded from civic and political life, and those who speak up for their rights are threatened, jailed and even murdered. To reverse this trend, AJWS supports 161 organizations that are insisting that their governments respect the rights of citizens. They are mobilizing fellow activists into powerful movements for social change. And together, they are pressing for fair elections, protecting freedom of speech and gaining the right to shape the laws that govern their lives.

Population served: People living in poverty, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQI people, refugees, displaced people, survivors of conflict and genocide, and indigenous communities.

Geographic Area: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Population(s) Served
Adults

Many of the world’s poorest people are struggling to survive in a rapidly changing world. Rural communities bear the brunt of climate change, as powerful storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves demolish their homes or cause widespread hunger. Meanwhile, dams, mines and oil rigs built in the rush to profit from the earth’s remaining undeveloped land and natural resources irrevocably alter and poison landscapes where indigenous people have lived for generations. In response, AJWS supports 158 organizations working to slow climate change, stop damaging development, and protect the land, water and natural resources that they depend on for survival.

Population served: Rural communities, indigenous communities

Geographic Area: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Population(s) Served
Adults

When severe disasters strike in the countries where we work—from earthquakes to tsunamis to genocides to epidemics—AJWS provides immediate humanitarian relief and long-term support for recovery. We ensure that our aid reaches the poorest and most vulnerable communities and populations, by supporting local organizations who get help directly to those who need it most. Our 15 humanitarian response grantees seek out remote villages cut off from hospitals and supplies, and focus on women, orphans and persecuted minorities whose special needs are frequently overlooked during disasters. Long after the crisis is out of the news, AJWS is still working to help communities rebuild, recover and protect human rights.

Population served: Women, children, LGBTQI people, persecuted minorities, refugees, internally displaced people, people living in communities struck by disasters and crises

Geographic area: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Population(s) Served
Adults

AJWS mobilizes American Jews and other supporters to advocate for U.S. laws and policies that improve the lives of millions of people in the developing world. We collaborate with diverse allies—ranging from other Jewish and progressive organizations to global diplomats—to build global support for our efforts to combat poverty, oppression and injustice.

One of our primary vehicles for achieving this goal is to train and cultivate rabbis, educators and other clergy to become informed and passionate advocates for human rights, though our Global Justice Fellowship—an intensive six-month training on advocacy, leadership and global human rights issues. We also create original Jewish content for clergy and the broader Jewish community that inspires people to learn and act on the Jewish commitment to repair the world.

Population Served: Members of the broader Jewish community and AJWS Grantees

Geographic Area: USA, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Population(s) Served
Adults

On Capitol Hill and in global human rights forums, AJWS advocates for laws and policies that promote human rights in the developing world.

In previous years, AJWS has contributed to key advances in bringing peace to Sudan, relieving the debts of developing nations, and improving legislation for HIV and AIDS. In 2014, our Reverse Hunger campaign helped secure up to $400 million in additional U.S. international food aid funding to reach half a million more people. In 2015, our We Believe campaign helped achieve the appointment of the first U.S. special envoy for international LGBTQI rights.

Today, AJWS’s advocacy focuses on securing justice for persecuted minorities like the Rohingya people of Burma, who suffered a brutal genocide. In 2019, we secured U.S. sanctions against Burmese military officials responsible for the genocide. And we worked to hold back the tide of attacks on human rights presented by the Trump administration, by advocating to repeal the heinous Global Gag Rule—which threatens the lives and reproductive health of women and girls worldwide.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2021

Charity Navigator 2021

Charity Watch 2021

InterAction 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of Grantee Partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Our “grantee partners” are advocacy organizations and community groups that we support in the developing world to advance human right in their communities and countries.

% of capacity building outcomes reported as showing progress 

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AJWS provides “capacity building” support to improve our grantees’ stability and program quality. Of the 21 capacity-building outcomes in our strategies, staff reported progress on 16 of them—76%.

% of advocacy outcomes reported as showing progress

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AJWS supports its grantees to conduct advocacy to change laws, policies and power structures to advance human rights. Staff reported progress on 47 of our 57 advocacy outcomes—86%.

% of social movement outcomes reported as showing progress

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AJWS supports the growth of strong social movements working to advance a shared purpose for lasting change and social transformation. We saw progress this year on 46 of our 51 outcomes—90%.

% of policy goals reported as showing progress

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

AJWS supports changing laws, policies, regulations, and international agreements to promote human rights. Of our 153 policy goals in 2020, we saw progress on 59—39%.

Number of policy goals achieved

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, AJWS’s grantees achieved 6 key policy goals—major transformations such as the adoption, amendment, implementation, or blocking of a law.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to advance human rights and end poverty around the globe, ensuring a more just and equitable society for the world’s most vulnerable people. To do this, we strive toward the following goals:

1. To empower women, girls and LGBTQI people to promote equality, stop violence and discrimination and live with dignity, safety and health.

2. To advance civil and political rights around the globe—promoting justice under the law for all and the right to be heard, vote and participate in political life.

3. To slow climate change and protect the land, water and natural resources that rural and indigenous people depend on for survival.

4. To save lives after natural disasters and humanitarian crises and build more equitable societies in the wake of these events.

AJWS supports 487 grantees in 19 countries that are achieving remarkable progress on some of the most pressing global problems—from authoritarianism, to attacks on women’s and LGBTQI rights, to climate change and disasters. On each of these issues, we advance strategies that are deeply aligned with the vision and expertise of our grantees, because we believe that the people experiencing complex human rights challenges should be at the center of all efforts to solve them. Currently, we have a total of 38 strategies across our programs in each country and issue area. These strategies guide our work on priority issues and include 10-year goals, three-year outcomes and annual milestones toward each outcome.

In each country and issue area, we identify dynamic constellations of grantees that are working towards shared goals. We provide each group with tailored mentorship delivered by our “in-country-consultants” (ICCs)—local human rights experts fluent in the languages, challenges, and unique loci of power in each community. The ICCs increase our grantees’ capacity and facilitate intensive collaboration, so that they can launch collective campaigns and participate in broader social movements. Working together, these organizations and movements have overturned unjust laws, changed the outcome of elections, shifted social norms and saved countless lives after humanitarian crises.

We also stoke the engines of change here in the U.S., where our staff influence Congress and advance legislation and policy on these same human rights issues. Through our Global Justice Fellowship, we mobilize influential rabbis from across the country to join these campaigns and inspire their congregants to call for justice by our side. And we create opportunities for our grantees to raise their voices in Washington and on the global stage.

We call this our “grassrooted” and “tiered” approach to social change. We connect grassroots organizations horizontally to one another and vertically to national and international organizations, allies and decision-making bodies such as international courts and the United Nations. The organizations we support build movements in the developing world while we take action from the U.S., and together we are able to move levers of change at different tiers of society.

AJWS started as a small organization, but now invests $36 million a year in grantmaking and social change strategies to promote global human rights. And since our founding, we have provided more than $400 million to support thousands of social justice organizations in the developing world. The following approaches enable us to meet our goals:

Investment Strategy and grantmaking: AJWS focuses on four key areas of human rights: We defend civil and political rights; advance sexual health and rights; promote natural resource rights and climate justice; and aid communities in the aftermath of disasters. We develop comprehensive strategies for each issue and in each country, based on our deep and ongoing analysis of the problems we address and of the social and political landscape. These strategies enable us to identify the best investments (in grantees, advocacy and research) and then track our progress toward our long-term goals in each country.

To advance these strategies, AJWS supports 519 social change organizations in 19 countries. Exercising rigorous due diligence, our in-country representatives identify the most promising and effective activists and organizations to fund—focusing particularly on those who work with women, minorities and others who experience the most severe discrimination, oppression or exclusion from society. We invest in trusted relationships with our grantees; listen to and learn from them; and build their capacity with tailored trainings and support in order foster the growth of strong, capable organizations and activists that are equipped to meet the complex needs of the communities they serve.

We also connect our grantees to peer organizations and national and global networks and advocacy spaces, so that they can build and participate in powerful social movements that can change laws and transform society. By strengthening grassroots organizations and activist leaders, we ensure that those most affected by injustice are at the center of conversations about solutions—in their communities, nationally and globally.

Advocacy, Education & Communications: AJWS conducts advocacy and digital engagement in the U.S. and globally to call attention to human rights abuses and amplify the voices of our grantees. Together, we strive to influence U.S. and global laws, policies and social norms to improve the lives of millions of people in the developing world.

Research, Evaluation & Learning: AJWS conducts research and evaluation to strengthen our own work and advance the broader field of human rights. We collect meaningful data on our grantmaking and the human rights issues we address. We consistently hone our thinking and strategies based on new evidence. We share our findings with our grantees as possible while also promoting their research. We do this to ensure that we learn from one another, amplify the voices of our grantees in human rights movements, and influence the public discourse on effective approaches to social change.

In 2020, AJWS supported 519 social justice organizations fighting poverty and promoting human rights in 19 countries. Together, they’re tackling pressing issues in four thematic areas that include Civil and Political Rights (161 grantees), Land Water and Climate Justice (158 grantees), Sexual Health and Rights (185 grantees), and Humanitarian Response (19 grantees).

AJWS’s programmatic approach to social change focuses on three core pillars: supporting our grantees to increase their capacity, supporting their advocacy, and supporting the growth of strong social movements in the countries where they work. Across these categories, in 2020 we found that AJWS and our grantees were making progress on 84% of the strategic outcomes we aimed to achieve.

AJWS is committed to supporting grantees that are working to strengthen their own capacities. For instance, 37% of our grantees received capacity-building support through our grants in 2020, and we saw progress on 76% of our capacity-building outcomes. AJWS also provides grants to young organizations: 40% of our 2020 grantees were founded within 5 years of their first AJWS grant.

AJWS supports its grantees to advance legislative and policy change: We are currently working on 153 laws, policies, regulations, and international agreements to protect human rights. Achieving this kind of legal transformation takes time, and in 2020, we were gratified that our grantees made major or minor progress on 39% of these, and successfully achieved 6 of these goals. The successes include major transformations include such as the adoption, amendment, implementation, or blocking of a policy goal.

AJWS supports thousands of activists and their organizations to create strong social movements that are rising up to tip the scales toward justice. Our grantees are deeply engaged in social movements and working together to achieve change. Seventy-six percent are members of networks or coalitions that work together to effect sustainable change. For instance, our grantees in Guatemala are building a powerful movement to challenge their authoritarian government and create a more equitable society. Indigenous communities in Thailand are working together to protect their ancestral forests.

AJWS believes in continuous improvement of its programs through investments in learning, reflection, and evaluation. By placing learning at the center of the work, AJWS strives to maximize its impact in the field of human rights.

Financials

American Jewish World Service, Inc.
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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American Jewish World Service, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 6/16/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Bradley Abelow

Bradley Abelow

Community Volunteer

Sharon Leslie

Community Volunteer

Eric Sahn

Community Volunteer

Jim Koshland

Community Volunteer

Carol Yanowitz Miller

Community Volunteer

Robert Bank

President and CEO

Marion Bergman

Community Volunteer

Jay Cohan

Community Volunteer

Monte Dube

Community Volunteer

Tom Dubin

Community Volunteer

Eileen Epstein

Community Volunteer

Marty Friedman

Community Volunteer

Elyse Frishman

Community Volunteer

Marc Greenwald

Community Volunteer

Michael Hirschhorn

Community Volunteer

Carol Joseph

Community Volunteer

Paul Lehman

Community Volunteer

Howard Mandel

Community Volunteer

Jill Minneman

Community Volunteer

Suzanne Offit

Community Volunteer

William Resnick

Community Volunteer

Bruce Rosenblum

Community Volunteer

Nathalie Rubens

Community Volunteer

Suzanne Schecter

Community Volunteer

Elizabeth Galatin Seth

Community Volunteer

Judith Stern

Community Volunteer

Scott Waxman

Community Volunteer

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/16/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data