Charendoff calls for change in philanthropic giving


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (JTA) — The president of the Jewish Funders Network called for a change in how the community distributes its money.

Mark Charendoff was speaking here Monday at a lunch meeting during the organization’s annual conference to members, each of whom give at least $25,000 per year to Jewish philanthropy.

Charendoff said that in response to the economic downturn and a tightening of philanthropic dollars, the funding community should focus its spending in three categories: a third each on Jewish literacy projects, projects that advance Jewish peoplehood and Jewish service.

“Ignorance of Jewish text and tradition is just not an option,” he said, speaking about literacy.

Charendoff said later that fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses, as well as investing in Israel’s growing nonprofit world, should be included within spending on peoplehood.

The philanthropic community also should spend more on the operating expenses and general budgets of the nonprofits it funds, he said.

“If nonprofits are going to weather the storm,” he said, “we have to get out of the way and let them work.”

Charendoff called for more cooperation and collaboration among funders, and said that funders should reward “the good behavior” of organizations that are fiscally responsible.”

With a dearth of money to go around, “cash is not the only and best way to give help,” he said, adding that philanthropists could become more hands-on in organizations.

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