American giving to Israeli organizations outpaced American giving to general philanthropies between the years 2001 and 2006, according to a Philadelphia-based Philanthropy consulting group, EHL Consulting.
EHL studied the 990 forms of 80 “American friends of” organizations that collected money for Israeli groups and institutions over that period. The findings (contained in a set to be released Monday): Their intake outpaced giving to general charities in the areas of arts and culture, education, health care and human services.
Over that period, giving to Israeli groups rose 64 percent, with an 82 percent gain in gifts to the arts in Israel, 42 percent growth in education, 66 percent in health care and 66 percent in human services, according to the report, co-authored by Robert Evans and Avrum D. Lapin, the principals at EHL.
Giving to 19 Israeli arts organizations grew from $52.2 million in 2001 to $94.9 million in 2006. The percentage increase far exceeded that of giving to similar American organizations, which grew from $114 billion in 2001 to $126.8 billion in 2006, according to stats EHL culled from the annual Giving USA report put out by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. Israeli groups took in 82 percent more money for the arts in 2006 than they did in 2001, while U.S. groups took in 11 percent more in 2006 than they did in 2001.
Similarly, Israeli education groups took in $206 million in 2001 and $294 million in 2006, an increase of 42 percent, while American groups grew by 24 percent to $40.7 billion.
Israeli health care groups raised $170.5 million in 2006 and human services took in $156.3 million.
EHL is suggesting that giving to Israeli groups was spurred by the second intifada, Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon and by a significant increase in travel to Israel from the United States.
“These factors, among others, seemed to have created increased opportunities for many Israel-based organizations to develop emotional appeals for a compelling need and to try to attract increases in U.S. and worldwide philanthropic support,” the report says.
But EHL is also looking at the rise in giving directly to Israeli organizations as a signal that American Jews are more and more looking away from Jewish federations as a means of supporting Israel. Growth in giving to the Jewish federation system during 2001-2006 was on par with the growth that general charitable umbrella groups such as the United Way saw, but it did not see a significant increase.
“We have found that many American donors have made broader philanthropic decisions toward Israel and some have turned their money away from Jewish federations and other similar organizations that have traditionally attracted major Jewish donors for Israeli funding, and instead donated directly to specific Israel-based organizations,” the report says.
The report does not address current levels of giving to Israeli causes in light of the economic downturn and widespread concern over a general slowing in philanthropy.