In “Questions Over Outpouring of Gaza War Philanthropy” (Sept. 12), staff writer Hannah Dreyfus wonders whether the surge in giving to Israel during Operation Protective Edge came at the cost of giving to other causes. Here at Jewish Communal Fund (JCF), the largest and most active Jewish donor-advised fund in the country, we have not found that to be the case. In fact, giving to other causes increased 24 percent as compared to the same period the previous year. We imagine that as our donors went online to make their grants to Israel-focused campaigns, it was easy enough to make additional grants to their favorite charities.
Donor advised funds are especially important during times of crisis, as they enable fund holders to give generously and immediately. Since July, JCF fund holders have made 526 grants totaling $2,484,090 to Israel-focused charities, through federations, local synagogues and other organizations. Gifts ranged from $36 to $100,000.
In addition, JCF made a $100,000 emergency grant to the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) from its institutional endowment, the Special Gifts Fund to provide psychological counseling to those suffering from crippling anxiety and fear.