14 Federations Make List of Top 400 Charities in U.S.
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14 Federations Make List of Top 400 Charities in U.S.

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Fourteen Jewish community federations have won places on a new list of the 400 largest charities in America.

But the top Jewish cause on the list in years past, the United Jewish Appeal, got knocked off this year’s ranking by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The prestigious Chronicle, which published the list in its edition this week, decided to stop including UJA, since the money donated by individuals and funneled to the charity through their local federations was being counted twice.

UJA was the sixth largest charity on the Chronicle chart last year, and fourth the year before.

The largest Jewish charity in America, ranking 29 among the Chronicle’s top 400, is now the Jewish Communal Fund, a kind of sister philanthropy to the UJA- Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, which itself ranked 36th on the list.

The Jewish Communal Fund garnered private donations of $160.4 million during the 1996 fiscal year.

Its donors are people who place their philanthropic money in the communal fund and then direct it to make contributions to their preferred charities, rather than writing individual checks to those charities themselves.

Communal funds, along with family foundations, are the fastest-growing Jewish charities, experts say.

In addition to New York, the other Jewish federations making the Chronicle’s list this year were those in Chicago, which ranked 54 on the list, San Francisco, 101; Baltimore, 154; Philadelphia, 157; Boston, 177; Detroit, 186; Los Angeles, 189; Cleveland, 190; Milwaukee, 292; Miami, 325; Washington, 341; Metro West, N.J., 358; and Atlanta, 361.

The federations whose ranking changed most significantly from last year were San Francisco, which moved up from 227; Baltimore, up from 249; and Philadelphia, up from 213.

San Francisco now ranks as the third largest federation, up from eighth last year.

Other Jewish charities making the list were Yeshiva University, which ranked 138; Hadassah, 166; the Anti-Defamation League, 191; the Jewish National Fund, 275; and Brandeis University, 279.

Two American fund-raising offices for Israeli colleges made the top 400: the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, which ranked 196, and the American Society for Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which ranked 202.

The Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary of America was singled out as an institution that saw impressive gains in 1996.

Ranked as 220 on the list, JTS realized a 32 percent increase in donations in 1996. It raised $32.6 million, including a $7 million gift from a retired rabbi.

Darrell Friedman, president of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, was highlighted with his own sidebar in this week’s edition of the Chronicle, as someone who managed to increase his federation’s income by 79 percent in 1996 and has doubled his agency’s reserves in the 11 years he has run it.

New York’s Jewish Communal Fund, which requires an initial deposit of $10,000, has 1,300 individual donors with over $400 million in assets there, the fund’s executive vice president, Eric Stein, said in an interview.

Almost every Jewish federation has a communal fund component, but the New York federation is unique in that the Jewish Communal Fund is incorporated separately.

This year celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Jewish Communal Fund issued donordirected checks for just over $65 million in fiscal 1996.

The largest recipient of those funds was UJA-Federation of New York, which spawned the Jewish Communal Fund in 1972 and was itself the second highest- ranked Jewish group on the Chronicle’s list.

The Jewish Communal Fund’s net income for 1996 was about $25 million, Stein said, earned by taking an administrative fee of 75 percent of the value of each contributor’s portfolio at the fund.

The value of the fund’s contributions to other charities leaped to $90 million for fiscal 1997, said Stein, though the in-flow of donations dropped to $103 million.

The fund’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30.

In fiscal 1995, the fund had incoming donations of about $60 million and ranked only 69 on the Chronicle’s list of 400. Donations nearly tripled the following year because of the hot stock market, said Stein.

He also said that about 70 percent of the fund’s assets are received as appreciated securities from donors seeking to avoid having to pay a capital gains tax while they gain a tax deduction.

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