Conference Highlights

Dr. Larry Brilliant

Featured Speaker

Dr. Larry Brilliant

Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist, philanthropist and technology leader whose career has spanned from eradicating smallpox with the World Health Organization to founding Google’s charitable arm. He now serves as CEO of Pandefense Advisory and is on the board of the Skoll Foundation. Dr. Brilliant was previously the president and CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, vice president of Google, and the founding executive director of He co-founded the Seva Foundation, an NGO whose programs have given back sight to more than five million blind people in two dozen countries. In addition, he co-founded The Well, a progenitor of today’s social media platforms. In a compelling dialogue with philanthropist Laura Lauder on Monday, March 15, Dr. Brilliant will share lessons learned from an extraordinary career and offer new insights on how Covid will impact our families and our communities long-term, and how we can work to prepare for future challenges.

F*ckup Night

Hosted by Edmond de Rothschild Foundation Israel

F*ckup Night (FUN) returns to JFN, after an enormously successful launch at our 2019 conference. Strategic philanthropy teaches how to engage with the best social science to construct theories of change, how to carefully measure your impact, and how to assess what worked in an effort to improve for the next time. But failure — especially of the epic variety — is the best teacher. FUN is a movement that shares stories of failure around the world, in an affirming setting among peers to use failure as a springboard for innovation, growth, and learning. Two storytellers from the JFN community will tell their stories in this blend of group therapy, standup comedy, and philanthropic practice. Read More


Family Groups

As the periodic table organizes different elements into groups called families, so will JFN organize all attendees into small groups that we’re calling your Family Group, and convening each group in a daily meeting. We’ll curate each group to make a good mix of geography, experience, age, and other factors, with an eye toward formulating new bonds of friendship and engagement.

These meetings are for all attendees, whether you’re an individual funder, a grantmaking professional, or a foundation trustee.

 The meetings are opportunities for a daily deep dialogue on the conference’s themes. You’ll meet three times over the course of the conference. And we hope that you’ll stay in touch with at least some of the other group members throughout your philanthropic journey. 

Moot Court

In the wake of a fraught election and rising temperature in our culture, emotions are running high around questions of how or even whether to have civil discourse with those whose political and cultural opinions differ from ours. 

To explore these issues, JFN has invited teams of young people from the Maimonides Moot Court Competition to face off and argue an issue of contemporary relevance. A panel of judges, including famed First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams and OpenMind CEO Caroline Mehl, will respond and explore the issues at play before placing the case in the hands of the jury — you, the viewing audience — to make the final vote. Read More

The Maimonides Moot Court Competition is powered by the Hadar Institute.

“Creative Tensions” Town Hall

Creative Tensions is a conversation that moves. Reflecting on a tension between two poles, participants reveal where they stand on an issue by where they stand — and move — in the (virtual) room. Exploring the theme of community, we close the conference with this fresh approach to group dialogue that encourages openness and inspires empathy.

The Lab

The core technology powering our online conference presents a place where you and other registrants can meet to create new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Emulating the experience of a lounge setting at a live conference, you’ll see everyone who’s logged in and, with a simple click, be able to join small groups for video conversation. Between conference sessions (or even during, if you feel like a break), participants can hang out in the Lab to schmooze with friends new and old. Join a topical table, discover others in your cohort or from your area, or create private conversations with friends and peers.

JFN Presidential Address

President and CEO Andrés Spokoiny gives his annual address to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing the Jewish community during the plenary program on Wednesday, March 17. Watch last year’s address.

Award Presentations

The Shapiro Prize for Excellence in Philanthropic Collaboration will be conferred at the opening plenary on Monday, March 15. The prize recognizes alliances of forward-thinking Jewish funders who collaborate to achieve impact in their chosen fields of interest. For more information about the Shapiro Prize and its selection criteria, see

The J.J. Greenberg Memorial Award will be conferred at the final plenary session on Wednesday March 17. This award honors foundation professionals age 40 and under who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in Jewish philanthropy. For more information about the award and its past recipients, visit


A set of workshops each day strengthen skills, support engagement across the network and build on the ideas raised in the plenaries and family group meetings.