fbpx
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Family foundations pave new philanthropic path

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

There was a time when Jewish philanthropists would crack open their checkbooks at least once a year and make a big contribution to Jewish federations and other Jewish agencies. That was just how it was done.

No more. As Jews have become more integrated and assimilated into American society, they no longer automatically pony up to Jewish charities. Instead, they are as likely to give to an environmental cause or AIDS hospice as to a federation, which some Jewish donors characterize as overly bureaucratic and distant.

Mark Charendoff has a bird’s-eye view of this monumental shift in Jewish giving. The president of Jewish Funders Network, a 15-year-old organization representing Jewish family foundation and independent donors, says Jewish philanthropists want more control over how their charitable dollars are spent and increasingly turn to outfits like his for guidance. Over the past 20 years, the number of Jewish family foundations has roughly tripled to 9,000, according to Charendoff.

Those foundations now have an estimated $30 billion in total assets — and growing.

Jewish Journal: What accounts for the surging popularity of Jewish family foundations?

Mark Charendoff: There is a desire by donors to follow their money — to invest directly in projects where one can see an impact and track results. Donors feel better capable of making decisions about exactly where their money’s going and what they want to accomplish. Secondly, philanthropy used to be something that people thought more about later in life, after they conquered the business world. Now, people are thinking about philanthropy, about making an impact, at a much younger age. We speak to people in their 20s and 30s who are starting foundations or starting to think more seriously about their philanthropic impact every day.

JJ: Do you expect the number of Jewish family foundations to increase, both in numbers and total assets, as wealth is transferred from aging philanthropists to their children?

MC: First of all, just the scale of money being transferred is enormous. Many parents are beginning to set up foundations as a way of training their children in a culture of giving or as an excuse to discuss the values that are most dear to them. When done right, foundations can prompt an intergenerational dialogue that would not have otherwise occurred about values and legacy.

JJ: Is it true that younger donors are less likely to give to traditional Jewish causes than their parents and grandparents?

MC: I think what has changed is the automatic nature of giving. By that I mean in previous generations there was an automatic presumption that a certain percentage of your charitable dollars would go to the Jewish community. There were a number of reasons for this. One was a loyalty and sense of obligation — a sense of citizenship — that one felt toward the Jewish community. Another was the lack of opportunity to be involved at the leadership level in many non-Jewish causes. Both of those reasons have eroded over time.

Many younger Jews today don’t feel an automatic loyalty to the Jewish community, at the expense of other communities that they may be involved in. Whereas I may see the Jewish community as my community others may consider themselves part of 20 different communities — an environmental group, a book club, a biking group, etc. The sense that the Jewish community would be entitled to a certain percent of my charitable dollars is not a presumption that younger people typically buy into. And the competition for Jewish dollars, and for Jewish involvement, is fierce and is no longer in limited to Jewish not-for-profits. The hospital, the symphony, the gallery, the university and the social action group in your local community are as eager to attract young affluent Jews as is the local federation, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee or others.

JJ: In general, are Jewish family foundations more likely than traditional Jewish philanthropies to fund non-Jewish causes?

MC: There are those that spend 90 percent of their money on Jewish causes and those who spend less than 10 percent on Jewish causes.

JJ: How have federations responded to the rise of Jewish family foundations?

MC: It’s very hard to group all federations together. There are federations in the United States and in Canada that have developed strong and productive working relationships with local and national foundations. They are exceptionally good partners. When federations view themselves as prospective partners, willing to work with other funders to pursue a mutually agreed upon goal we see good results. If the federation can only imagine itself as being in the business of the annual campaign, they will run at odds with many foundations and, I believe, they are running at odds with the evolution of philanthropy in this country.

JJ: What do federations and other Jewish philanthropic nonprofits need to do to grow their donor base?

MC: Again, it depends on the federation. Last year, our international conference was held in Denver. Philanthropists from around the world attended. [Los Angeles] Federation President John Fishel came as a participant. He wasn’t there to speak at a plenary or at a workshop. He was just there as a participant, to learn from the others, to share insights and most of all to listen. That very silence spoke volumes to the foundations that were in attendance. If federations are willing to listen more, to sit at the table as equal partners instead of insisting that they are the central address, I believe they will find a foundation community that is far more receptive to cooperation.

JJ: Going forward, do you see federations or Jewish family foundations continuing to grow?

MC: I think family foundations will continue to grow at a rapid pace, partly because of the transfer of wealth that we’re beginning to see and partly because of the increased privatization of American life. This is not a Jewish phenomenon but an American phenomenon. Americans are more and more convinced that the private sector and the entrepreneurial spirit will solve problems. They don’t trust bureaucracies. Those same entrepreneurs who have graced the covers of Forbes and Fortune are now turning their energy, creativity and resources to philanthropy. In doing so they have become a sexy story in American life. From Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to the Google guys and Jeff Skoll, these entrepreneurial philanthropists have emerged as heroes in this country.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Petition Launched Calling for UC Divestment From Israel in Response to Police Brutality

A petition was launched on June 1 calling for the University of California (UC) to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel, to...

Palestinian Authority Refuses to Accept Taxes Collected for It by Israel

The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept the taxes collected for it by Israel. It’s part of the P.A.’s decision to boycott anything that smacks...

Norway Will Withhold Funding to Palestinians Over Textbooks It Says Promote Hate and Violence

Norway said Thursday that it will withhold half of the year’s funding to the Palestinian Authority’s education system until it stops using textbooks that...

The Rashi Button – a poem for Torah Portion Nasso

All the numbers…who are fit to perform the service for the service I found a musical secret in the Torah thanks to clicking the Rashi button. The service...

Penn State Condemns Photo of Student With Swastika on Her Back

Penn State University condemned a photo circulating on social media of students showing off swastikas drawn on their bodies. The student-run Daily Collegian reported that...

White House Removes Social Media Posts Claiming That Antifa Put Bricks in Front of Sherman Oaks Chabad

The White House took down posts on Facebook and Twitter on June 3 stating that antifa had been put a series of bricks in...

Some Thoughts About Being Safe

You are not on Earth to be safe. You are on Earth to lead a full life.

Black Jewish Woman Speaks out on Racism She Experienced at L.A. Jewish Day Schools

"As a black Jew, I've never faced more racism in my life than I have from the Jewish community and Jewish schools."

Pandemic Times Episode 52: Dealing with the Rise of Jew-Hatred

New David Suissa Podcast Every Morning. Author Severyn Ashkenazy discusses the plague of anti-Semitism and his new book, Swords of the Vatican, Reflections of a...

‘Mrs. America’ Is a Love Letter to Jewish Women

Who else could stand up to a figure as formidable, organized and savvy as Phyllis Schlafly?

Culture

Black Jewish Woman Speaks out on Racism She Experienced at L.A. Jewish Day Schools

"As a black Jew, I've never faced more racism in my life than I have from the Jewish community and Jewish schools."

‘Mrs. America’ Is a Love Letter to Jewish Women

Who else could stand up to a figure as formidable, organized and savvy as Phyllis Schlafly?

Amid Accusations, Lea Michele Apologizes for Racist Behavior

The meal-kit company HelloFresh also responded quickly, terminating its relationship with Michele.

Rep. John Lewis Taught Me Good Advocates Have Allies

In February, I headed to Washington D.C. for a national public policy conference for the Los Angeles chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. I was thrilled...

Latest Articles
Latest

Petition Launched Calling for UC Divestment From Israel in Response to Police Brutality

A petition was launched on June 1 calling for the University of California (UC) to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel, to...

Palestinian Authority Refuses to Accept Taxes Collected for It by Israel

The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept the taxes collected for it by Israel. It’s part of the P.A.’s decision to boycott anything that smacks...

Norway Will Withhold Funding to Palestinians Over Textbooks It Says Promote Hate and Violence

Norway said Thursday that it will withhold half of the year’s funding to the Palestinian Authority’s education system until it stops using textbooks that...

The Rashi Button – a poem for Torah Portion Nasso

All the numbers…who are fit to perform the service for the service I found a musical secret in the Torah thanks to clicking the Rashi button. The service...

Penn State Condemns Photo of Student With Swastika on Her Back

Penn State University condemned a photo circulating on social media of students showing off swastikas drawn on their bodies. The student-run Daily Collegian reported that...

Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Assault by 4 More Women, Including Minor in New York Lawsuit

A new lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein in New York city accuses the former film producer of raping four women, including one who was...

Lil Dicky Is the Larry David of Rap in His Show ‘Dave’

If you haven’t heard of the comic rapper Lil Dicky, and you are at least tangentially interested in rap or comedy, you should familiarize...


‘Love & Stuff’ Sees Life, Death and Motherhood Through a Jewish Lens

How do you cope with both the death of a parent and the artifacts she left behind, while preparing to become a mother yourself...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 52: Dealing with the Rise of Jew-Hatred

New David Suissa Podcast Every Morning. Author Severyn Ashkenazy discusses the plague of anti-Semitism and his new book, Swords of the Vatican, Reflections of a...

The Orthodox, Libertarian, Pro-Weed Israeli Politician

Once upon a time, in an election far far away, in April of 2019, amidst the political cacophony of right and left, one party...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x