Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 79–105 | Cite as

The Adaptation Process of Jewish Philanthropies to Changing Environments: The Case of the UJA-Federation of New York Since 1990

  • Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim


This paper considers the process of organizational adaptation that took place at the UJA-Federation of New York (UJAFED) between 1990 and 2014. It aims to enhance theoretical understanding about the process of adaptation by philanthropic organizations to their changing environments, the strategies they develop to cope with these changes, and the implications of these changes. Findings demonstrate that over the last two decades, the UJAFED has operated in turbulent and unstable environments, characterized by a reduction in resources and increasing needs in the communities. These changes have led UJAFED to establish a new domain for its activities that prioritize its mission of Jewish continuity by funding services and programs that emphasize Jewish identity, education, and culture. In this new domain, UJAFED has expanded activities to reach diversified client populations in New York and in Israel. The development of a new domain of activity has had implications for UJAFED’s traditional and new roles, since it has influenced its operating strategies, reshaped its mission-driven goals, and changed UJAFED’s relationships with its peer organizations and partners.


Jewish federations Philanthropy UJA-Federation of New York Jewish organizations Jewish community of New York Federation-synagogues relations Domain creation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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