Adam Milstein Is Making a Big Difference: The Donor Forum

Adam Milstein is one of the most instrumental people in the United States working on pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish non-profit causes. He co-founded the Israeli American Council (IAC) in Los Angeles in 2007 and currently serves as their national chairman of the board. Under Adam Milstein’s leadership, the IAC has quickly grown to include twelve regional councils spread out across the United States. Along with his wife Gila, Mr. Milstein started the Milstein Family Foundation, which is dedicated to helping Americans with Jewish heritage learn more about their roots, identify more strongly with Israel, and ensure the special affinity to the State of Israel of the young and future Jewish generations. Gila Milstein herself started Stand By Me, an organization dedicated to helping Israeli American cancer patients.

All of these non-profit activities keeps both Adam Milstein and Gila Milstein quite busy and well informed of the inner workings of the non-profit world. Perhaps the biggest challenge in the non-profit business is establishing sources of funding and keeping that funding flowing.

Adam and Gila are well known to have big hearts when it comes to helping pro-Israeli and pro-Jewish non-profits become established. Not only do Adam and Gila offer material and social resources to these causes through their foundation, they also roll up their own sleeves and go to work, giving their own time to ensure the success of the causes they support.

Getting funding from a donor may take months or even years in the non-profit world. In order to help pro-Israel causes find funding in a more efficient manner, Adam Milstein has set up the Donor Forum. The Forum operates by allowing organizations to pitch their cause over lunch during a short 15-minute presentation. This process accelerates the funding process significantly and allows the philanthropists to be personally involved with the leaders of the organizations they fund.

The members of the Donor Forum must be willing to give a minimum of $10,000 on an annual basis to the causes presented to them.

The organizations that are selected to pitch in front of the donors are pre-screened by a committee before they are allowed to present. This allows the philanthropists to know that the causes they choose to support are genuine and show promise.
From the non-profit organizations’ point of view, this idea is a real winner as well.

Instead of spending time figuring out whether they will receive funding from the donors they have pitched to, the organizations can get a quick judgment from the philanthropist’s in-person. This way, they can devote more time to the work they are doing.

The presenters at the Donor Forum vary widely in purpose and scope. One organization that presented at it was the Reservists on Duty, whose purpose is to expose and fight against anti-Israeli propaganda and antisemitism on college campuses. Another presenter was JLens, a group focused on finding ways to encourage investment within the Jewish community, social justice, and environmental preservation.

It will be interesting to see if this method that Adam Milstein has developed with the Donor Forum will catch on and be replicated by others. Mr. Milstein has been a pioneer all his life, so it would not be the first time that others have followed his lead.

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