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What Alumni Are Saying

"The inventory forced us to take a look at how well our organizations fundraise. From servicing and engaging the donor to planning the campaign from start to finish, it was a wake-up call."
— Tammy Mitgang, Exec. Dir., Jewish Federation of Reading
"The most valuable aspect of this experience was the cohort itself. Knowing that I had a group of colleagues and mentors from whom I could get honest feedback was key."
— Caryn Roman, Mgr. of Development and Alumni Relations, Kutz Camp
"I am creating materials around my case statement, using my development plan and preparing to recruit a board using the materials created as homework in this course; My expectation is that by this time next year the organization will be in much better shape than it is today."
— Susan Leff, Exec. Dir., University of Vermont Hillel



Development at the Core

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The Program

Development at the Core includes five sessions. Each session begins in the evening and continues the following day.

The program is based on the premise that fundraising is the job of everyone in the organization and not just the development professional. In formal sessions, participants learn with faculty, outside experts, and each other. Between sessions, participants work with colleagues and volunteer leaders in their agency to complete assignments and begin aligning the organization around the fundraising task. The class also convenes via teleconference for expert and peer consultation on their work back home. Completed assignments are “workshopped” at the beginning of the next session in order to maximize learning and improve product.

  • Development & stewardship inventory
  • Program budget and fundraising goals
  • Prospect identification and leadership profile
  • Case statement
  • Annual fundraising strategy and calendar

Each session combines three core elements:

  • Skills and techniques for fundraising, planning, and organization change
  • Theory and research on American Jewry, fundraising and philanthropy
  • Text study on Jewish values that give meaning to the enterprise and the fundraiser’s work

Beyond the Program

The Fisher-Bernstein Institute is breaking new ground in bringing the best of fundraising practices into the Jewish sector. In order to facilitate ongoing learning, we offer an online community of inquiry for alumni of Development at the Core.  The main focus is supporting and learning from the implementation of participants' fundraising plans.


Formal sessions are taught by Brandeis University faculty and expert practitioners selected to meet the specific needs of the 2010 class.

Amy Sales Amy L. Sales, director of the Fisher-Bernstein Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Leadership; associate professor in Hornstein: The Jewish Professional Leadership Program
David Mersky David A. Mersky, founder and managing director of Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, Inc.; lecturer in Jewish philanthropy and fundraising in Hornstein: The Jewish Professional Leadership Program


If you are interested in Development at the Core for your agency, we would like to speak with you. Please contact us: