Thursday, March 14, 2024

Billion-Dollar Jewish Fund Bans Donations to Progressive Group | TOME


The Jewish Communal Fund is one of the country’s largest donor-advised funds, allowing contributors to direct their funds to nonprofits of their choice. However, a recent policy change has caused controversy as the fund has barred its members from directing contributions to the organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a progressive Jewish American group critical of Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.

In December, a member of the Jewish Communal Fund, Jordan Bollag, attempted to make a contribution to JVP but was informed by the CEO, Rachel Schnoll, that due to recent events in Israel and Gaza, donations to JVP were no longer permitted. This decision left Bollag frustrated as he had already moved his money to the fund with the intention of supporting various causes.

Donor-advised funds like the Jewish Communal Fund offer tax advantages to donors and allow them to direct their contributions to specific organizations. While these funds typically do not exert control over the funds, they have the legal right to do so based on their charter documents.

The Jewish Communal Fund’s decision to block donations to JVP has sparked criticism, with some referring to it as the “Apartheid Communal Fund.” Schnoll explained that JVP did not meet the criteria for eligible organizations due to its rejection of Israel as a Jewish supremacist state. However, JVP advocates for a single state with equal rights for all, regardless of religion or ethnicity.

Despite the ban on donations to JVP, other organizations involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have received contributions through the fund. Bollag expressed disappointment in the fund’s decision, stating that it goes against Jewish values of debate and social justice. He is considering moving his money to a different fund that aligns with his values.

The controversy surrounding the Jewish Communal Fund’s policy highlights the complexities of charitable giving and the importance of aligning with donors’ values. As discussions around social justice and equality continue, it is essential for charitable organizations to consider the impact of their decisions on donors and the causes they support.

In conclusion, the Jewish Communal Fund’s decision to bar donations to JVP has raised questions about freedom of choice in charitable giving and the alignment of values between donors and organizations. As individuals seek to support causes that reflect their beliefs, transparency and open dialogue are crucial in navigating the complexities of philanthropy.

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