Changemaking Through Philanthropy

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Changemaking Through Philanthropy: Leveraging Philanthropy As A Force For Social Change

Interview with Jay and Shira Ruderman

Ruderman Family Foundation

What This Interview Is About

As opposed to simply funding grantees’ initiatives, a proactive foundation takes its ideas to the community that it is trying to change for the better. Then, success has been achieved when that entire community’s values have changed.

Foundations and philanthropists do not need to be afraid of making bold public statements or even of instigating controversy.

Foundations and philanthropists that are seeking to become changemakers are best served focusing on a relatively narrow cause and making a deep impact in that space — and becoming the expert in that arena — rather than “being everything for everyone” and spreading their work among numerous causes.

Jay and Shira Ruderman

Jay and Shira Ruderman

Jay Ruderman has focused his life’s work on seeking social justice by advocating for people with disabilities worldwide. As President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, his ambitious approach has led the foundation to become a national and international leader in inclusion and disability rights advocacy. Jay’s emphasis on philanthropy has been instrumental in the foundation creating programs around the world, raising awareness on social media and the creation of the foundation’s often cited white papers. He has never shied away from controversy, consistently challenging Hollywood and those in power to push issues forward. Jay has previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney. He served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Funders Network and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Shira Ruderman, Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, is a professional philanthropist and social activist. She serves as a board member of various organizations and associations in Israel and the United States and is currently serving as Chairwoman of the Fulbright Foundation. She works to generate momentum for an approach to philanthropy which believes in strategic giving, involvement and social entrepreneurship.

For more information about the Ruderman Foundation, go to


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