Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Study finds that Jewish charities missing out on biggest donations (JTA)
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Jewish organizations are generally failing to attract financial support from America's wealthiest and most philanthropic Jews, according to a report by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.

The study released Tuesday showed that Jews accounted for 16 percent -- or about 1,600 -- of all gifts of $1 million or more donated to nonprofit organizations between 2001 and 2003. But only 2 percent of these Jewish donations were directed toward Jewish organizations.

Of the $10 million-plus gifts by Jewish donors, only 5 percent went to Jewish groups -- down from 6 percent between 1995 and 2000, the last period studied by the San Francisco-based institute.

Its president, Gary Tobin, said the low rate of "mega-gifts" to Jewish organizations does not reflect poorly on the generosity of Jewish donors -- their general level of giving is on par with their wealthy non-Jewish peers.

Instead, Tobin argued, Jewish organizations are not effectively reaching out to the ultra-wealthy.

“The conclusion I draw is that Jewish organizations are not effectively making their case,” Tobin said, "whether that is in terms of not asking for enough or not making compelling arguments or getting access to the donors."

The institute is also looking at the years 2004-07, but the preliminary data show a similar picture.

That is despite a slew of major gifts to Jewish causes that includes the $100 million gift to Yeshiva University from fertilizer magnate Ronald Stanton; the $75 million gift to Hadassah Hospital from Detroit Pistons' owner William Davidson; the $100 million gift to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology from aerospace entrepreneur Alfred Mann; and the nearly $60 million given to birthright israel in the past year by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Jews tend to give their gifts of more than $10 million to higher education, the arts and health care, according to the study:

* Fifteen gifts totaling $1.6 billion went to the arts, including a $1 billion donation from the Annenberg Foundation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

* Thirty-two mega-gifts totaling $1.6 billion went to private higher education.

* Sixteen gifts totaling $649 million went to public higher education.

* Thirteen gifts totaling $247 million went to health care.

By comparison, during that time frame, Jewish philanthropists made just 11 gifts of $10 million or more totaling $269 million to Jewish causes.

That, Tobin said, is probably a generous estimate, as he and his researchers were lenient in classifying Jewish causes.

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