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Jewish Philanthropic Leader Calls for Using ‘The Other 95 Percent’

By Tom Watson on April 15, 2010No Comment

The president of the Jewish Funders Network has told a conference of prominent philanthropists to aim to put more than five percent of the funds in private foundations to work for worthy causes. According to Jacob Berkman of JTA, Mark Charendoff of the funders’ network (whose members give $25,000 per year or more) pushed the group to get more money off the sidelines, particularly as nonprofits are struggling:

“At this moment, $550 billion is sitting in private foundations in America and yet we are using only 5 percent of it,” he said. “We need to figure out how to change this equation. How can we gt the other 95 percent of our money working for us?”

Berkman also reported that Jeff Solomon, the president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Family Foundation, “warned not to be too optimistic even about those vows – because in all likelihood the major foundations would be those who continued to cut.” But smaller donors may actually give more as the economy improves:

For those on the lower end, said Solomon, who is widely regarded as one of the most astute observers of the philanthropy world, money set aside for charity is akin to discretionary money, and thus spending it is largely tied to confidence in the economy. Now that the economy has seen something of a bounceback in recent months, many are now feeling more confident than they have since before the recession hit and may well indeed increase their giving.

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