John and Marcia Goldman Foundation gives $200,000 to J.

The S.F.-based John and Marcia Goldman Foundation has awarded J., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, a $200,000 grant.

The grant, payable over two years, will help fund an ambitious development project aimed at increasing the publication’s capacity and enhancing its online presence. It is the second major foundation grant received by J. since the Jewish community publication obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status last fall. 

Marcia and John Goldman

“We are particularly pleased and grateful for the confidence that the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation has demonstrated with this grant,” said Jon Kaufman, president of J.’s board of directors. “By making a two-year grant they are enabling us to develop a strong, ongoing, expanded effort to broaden our reach and serve the wider Jewish community.”

Explaining why the foundation decided to give J. this grant, John Goldman, speaking for himself and his wife, Marcia Goldman, said, “To us, J. has been the chronicler of the Jewish community, the source of information and a means of sharing knowedge that has been important in our lives. So we believe it should carry that importance not only for those who use it now, but also for those who could use it in the years ahead.

“We want to help move J. to a position where it has the same relevance for future generations that it has had for us.”

J. was born in 1895 as “Emanu-El,” an in-house publication of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco that cost 10 cents per issue. It continued in that role until 1932, when it merged with another Jewish newspaper. Following another merger, the paper began publishing in 1946 as “The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California,” operating under the auspices of San Francisco Jewish Community Publications, a California state nonprofit. The Bulletin changed its name to J. in September 2003, and became a tax-exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit in August 2013.

Obtaining federal nonprofit status is very rare for an existing community weekly, commented J. publisher Steven Gellman, but is crucial because it is the only way a publication like J. can apply for foundation grants, and it permits individual donors to deduct contributions from their taxes.

In awarding this tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service recognized the critical function J. plays in “informing, connecting and strengthening the Bay Area Jewish community,” as J.’s mission statement puts it.

The need for a local community publication continues in the digital age, John Goldman pointed out, even as the form in which that information is disseminated and the topics of discussion may change.

“This is a vibrant, exciting and disparate community,” he said. “The people in this community all march to a different drummer. That’s what makes it special — the variety of perspectives and richness of activities that can’t be adequately captured in the national press. That’s why we need a Jewish media source here.”

This latest grant, announced in an April 10 letter from the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, comes on the heels of a $100,000 grant from the S.F.-based Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, announced on April 4. Together they provide the springboard for J.’s future fundraising efforts, and allow J. to embark on its development plans without delay.

“These grants are truly trendsetting, not only because of the size of the grants for a new 501(c)3, but also because they come from two of the most important foundations in the Bay Area,” said Stephanie Brown, J.’s director of development. “The Goldman name has long been associated with life-giving support to Jewish organizations, and grants from both of the Goldman foundations, in our first year as a nonprofit, feels like a stamp of approval, signaling the go-ahead for other grantors and donors to follow suit.”