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Cummings Foundation to focus on inequality, climate change

NEW YORK (JTA) — A Jewish family foundation that allocates $30 million per year is narrowing its focus to two issues: inequality and climate change.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation has given $5 million to $6 million annually to Jewish organizations, primarily through its Jewish life program.

Simon Greer, the foundation’s executive director, told JTA the new focus is the culmination of a yearlong strategic planning process.

Asked if the change will result in less support for Jewish causes, Greer said, “I think we’re becoming more Jewish. We used to have one-fifth of our grant making set aside in Jewish life and values, and if you were a Jewish organization that’s where you applied.”

Jewish organizations addressing climate change or inequality, such as the New Israel Fund, Shacharit, American Jewish World Service and several Jewish social justice groups, will continue to be eligible for grants, he said. But a number of major Jewish grantees, such as BBYO, the Israel Policy Forum and Encounter, will likely no longer be eligible for new funds after 2014, which Greer said will be a “transition year.”

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