You’re an organization that just lost almost all of its endowment by investing it with Bernard Madoff. Or a prestegious institution of higher educatuion that is down $110 million — or about 10% of its endowment — for essentially the same reason.
Do you mention this negative turn in your end-of-the-year last-chance-for-a-tax-deduction fund-raising appeal? Well, if you’re the American Jewish Congress or Yeshiva University, the answer is no.
Here’s the e-mail from American Jewish Congress, signed by its president, Richard Gordon:
I am writing this to you at a very critical time, critical for our nation, critical for Israel, and critical for the American Jewish Congress.
Since we issued last year’s Annual Report, it seems that so much has changed. Our country has elected a new president and a new administration is taking shape, one that will bring change and a new direction to Washington on a number of issues on which the American Jewish Congress has been greatly involved. At the same time, Israel is preparing for elections of its own and the selection of a new Prime Minister, an election which may also bring a change to its national policies as well.
At the same time, not only our nation’s, but much of the world’s economy has taken a severe battering in the last few months. People are genuinely concerned about their economic futures, as we are as an organization.
With all of this change afoot, we at the American Jewish Congress are more committed than ever to fighting for the issues we care so deeply about. In the last year alone, we have been virtually the sole voice calling for legislation denying terrorists the opportunity to enforce libel terrorism judgments. We were the only Jewish organization chosen to fight for Israel’s increased participation in NATO. We succeeded in passing landmark energy legislation that was signed by the president, helping to create groundbreaking technology that could lead to energy independence. And we organized a coalition of Muslim, Christian, Bahai and secular groups to defend free speech from the campaign by Muslim states to ban speech ‘defamatory of religion.’
We have done so much with so little. Now I am asking for your renewed support. As we enter our centennial decade, we continue to run a lean organization with an impact of accomplishment disproportionate to our size and budget. But we need your help to go on. In today’s difficult economic climate, your renewed contribution is more important than ever. Your generosity will enable us to remain a vital force in the Jewish community and in Jewish life. Without you, our ability to continue to be a strong and effective force, both in the United States and abroad, is in doubt.
Thank you again for your support in the past. I hope that I can count on you as we move forward. Please take the time to read the attached report of our achievements in 2008 (Click Here). It is a record that you should be extremely proud of. It is a record that we share together because it would not have been possible but for your generosity.
Richard S. Gordon
And here’s a solicitation e-mail from the president of Y.U., Richard Joel:
This has certainly been both an extraordinary and unusual year. In spite of the economic turmoil, our university and yeshiva continue on their trajectory of exceptional growth and their advancement of humanity.
We are indeed proud of the profound impact that our students and faculty continue to make on hundreds of communities around the globe. During the past year alone, over one thousand of our student volunteers have participated in a wide array of leadership programs that enhance and broaden their classroom educational experience in an effort to mold them as our future lay and klei kodesh. Our Arbesfeld Kollel and Midreshet Yom Rishon continues to open its doors to hundreds of participants each week who wish to learn with our rabbinical students, rebbeim, and Torah scholars. With over twenty thousand shiurim in our virtual library, our Marcos and Adina Katz YU Torah website continues to provide unprecedented access to the Torah treasures of Yeshiva University and RIETS.
Yet our ability to go further along on this path, and to provide a serious and uncompromising education to all of our students, is challenged by the times. Please join me, in whatever way you can, with a gift to the Annual Fund. Your gift, large or small, matters now, perhaps more than ever before. This support enables YU to provide need-blind support to all of its students and to infuse communities around the country with the values of this great yeshiva and university.
To make your gift now, please visit http://www.yu.edu/onlinegiving. Of course, giving the traditional way of writing a check before December 31st – and receiving a tax deduction – will be most welcome.
Remember, we are part of something special-a rare institution committed to the integrated vision of Torah U’Madda. Our students carry our history and our destiny. It is up to us to ensure that they are fully equipped to lead and succeed. Wishing you and your family a Chanukah Sameach,
President Richard M. Joel
P.S. To those who have already given to the Annual Fund, please accept our gratitude on behalf of the University.