FAISR - Background and Information
FAISR is a non-profit organization that is in the process of incorporation in the United States. The two co-founders of FAISR are Alan T. Brown, who resides in Miami, and his good high school friend Jamie Lassner, who resides in New York. The association filed its charter in the final quarter of 2018 and in the first quarter of 2019 it filed an Application for Recognition of Tax Exemption under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the US Code. Due to the extended strike of the US government officials, the process is taking longer than usual and is expected to be completed toward the end of this summer. Chances are there will be no problem with the approval. The association has a mandate to act throughout the US on several issues:
FAISR will have a management committee/board, two members of which will be salaried – Alan Brown and Jamie Lassner. Another director, also from New York and also a good friend of the former two, will be Abe, whom we also met on our last trip. We feel that the informal division of responsibilities between the three will be:
Alan, who is the person who connects everyone, with his moving story, is the one who will open up all of the doors and appeal for donations.
Jamie, who possesses good organization and administration skills, will see to it that things happen and get accomplished.
Abe, who is smart, sharp and persuasive, as well as being well connected, will make sure that the donations indeed are received.
In addition, there will be 3-4 more management committee members, some of whom will provide their services pro bono (attorney, public relations, fund raising, etc.). The chairperson, who will be elected by the committee plenum, will have no privileges or powers beyond those of the other committee members. In addition, the founders will invite several non-Jewish members to join the committee, people well capable of drawing in donors from outside of the Jewish community
FAISR is an independent association and is in no way affiliated with Access Israel Association. We (Access Israel and its directors) are not members of the FAISR management committee/board, but we can serve on its counseling committee. From time to time we will be invited to attend board meetings, either via video conference or in person. Access Israel will not manage FAISR's budget nor will it participate in any way in the reporting and approval of FAISR's fiscal reports.
FAISR's first goal, after receiving the tax exemption approval under section 501(c)(3), will be to raise seed money that will enable the association to pay salaries and service providers. Immediately after that, the intention is to transfer most of the donation funds to Access Israel. We will be given voluntary updates regarding fund-raising successes and failures, among other things, but such reporting is not mandatory. A MoU has been signed between Access Israel and FAISR, and after FAISR is fully incorporated, an agreement will be signed between the two organizations that will, among other things, defined the relationship and address copyrights issues.
Following is a partial list of connections that Alan and Jamie have already made:
Alan Brown was born in 1967. He attended Ramaz school in NYC, as did Michal Rimon, a Ramaz graduate herself. In 1988, when Michal was still a high school senior, Alan was almost killed in a surfing accident in which he broke his neck. Indeed, his injury was very similar to Yuval's. Alan, who has been working at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for several years, participated in a meeting with Victor Calise in NY about three years ago, where he happened to meet Michal Rimon, who was attending the meeting as well. Alan and Michal formed a connection, and Alan's dream of visiting Israel, which at the time was considered impossible for a person in his condition, came up in the conversation between the two. Michal shared with Alan the activities of the Israeli association and the progress made in Israel in recent years and invited Alan to tour the country as a guest of Access Israel. Alan's previous visit to Israel was at the age of 13 (his Bar Mitzva), and he had been dreaming of coming again but was concerned about the accessibility issue. After his second visit to Israel, during which he participated in our conference and formed a deeper connections with the international community of the Friends of Access Israel, Alan offered to help the organization with its 20-20-20 Project. The 20-20-20 Project aims to bring delegations, each comprised of 20 people, both with and without disabilities, to Israel in honor of the 20th anniversary of Access Israel. Each person participating in the project would be requested to donate $20 thousand to Access Israel. This idea led to a broader vision according to which an (American) association would be established whose goal would be to support and help Access Israel in a long-term and ongoing manner. Alan has still not quit his position at the Reeve Foundation, but it is his intention to do so.
Jamie Lassner, Alan's good friend, is an observant Jew who has no apparent disability. He worked in finances (investment banking, if I remember correctly) and has suffered PTSD following 9/11, which he experienced in person. Jamie consequently changed his career direction to education and, after recently completing the current academic year as principal of a Jewish school, has announced his intentions to leave the school in order to establish FAISR. Jamie has visited Israel several times in the past year, including a two-week visit that coincided with the Access Israel conference. During his visits, Jamie has become closely familiar with what we are doing and how we are doing it. It is important to understand that Alan and Jamie are giving up their sources of income and leaving the organizations they have been working for so as to dedicate themselves to the establishment and success of FAISR.
Project 20-20-20 is expected to kick off in 2020, and the first delegation of management committee members and well-connected bloggers/media people may possibly arrive around the time the conference is scheduled to be held next year (May 2020) for a one week visit to Israel, including visits to the association's various projects. We will provide updates on FAISR as one of the fixed items on the agenda of our management committee meetings.
We feel that in light of the dwindling of resources in the Israeli market, it is necessary to develop fundraising activities overseas, and FAISR, which is the result of the past two years of work abroad, seems to be a good way of improving our chances of obtaining a considerable amount of donations abroad.
It is our intention to allocate time and personnel resources to accompany this important relationship and help tighten the bond and bring about its success, which will naturally be our success as well.
Thank you all!