To the Editor:
Your story, “Federal takeover of B’nai B’rith pension raises questions on group’s future,” misrepresented our situation. There are no questions about our future. It is strong, as it has been for nearly 170 years.
Yes, B’nai B’rith International chose to seek assistance from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in order to fulfill our core mission of helping others. But the ability to meet pension obligations is wholly separate from our capability to fully continue with our programs and projects at home and around the world. With the help of the PBGC, B’nai B’rith is now on sound financial footing to move forward with our mission.
The world economic situation dating to 2008 took a toll on the B’nai B’rith pension plan and countless other non-profit organizations. That, coupled with new Pension Protection Act regulations that inadvertently placed an insurmountable burden on many organizations, meant we had to act. We were relieved when the PBGC accepted our claim, freeing us up to better focus on doing what we do best. Our work in pro-Israel advocacy, human rights, public policy, seniors issues, and disaster and humanitarian assistance continues.
It was not an easy decision to ask the PBGC for help. But the request was made for a greater good: to continue the good works we do and to ensure that former employees and current pension-eligible employees will have their pensions when they need them.
The economy worldwide is still struggling. That has impacted charitable giving across the board, suppressing giving while increasing need. B’nai B’rith, the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization, is launching its 170th year of service. We move forward with a strong sense of purpose, and knowing that our tough decision on the pension has led to long-term greater stability.
Allan J. Jacobs, B’nai B’rith International President
Lake Forest, Ill.