Jewish Community

“I don’t see an end in sight to the massive private foundations dominating the Jewish philanthropic landscape, but there are definitely better ways forward”

…what has to change in the world of Jewish philanthropy and fundraising to make the system less beholden to deformed power structures. Ironically, one of the shifts that Lila points out and critiques – towards endowment and non-immediate fundraising and distribution of funds – is actually a critical need for the field right now. The rise of the private foundation has been accompanied by a culture of oversight and expectation of immediate return that exacerbates the problematic power dynamics between funder and grantee, and makes the professionals in the middle of this relationship the object of a transactionalist relationship that can risk commodifying them. I don’t see an end in sight to the massive private foundations dominating the Jewish philanthropic landscape, but there are definitely better ways forward – not just safeguards, but systemic approaches to funding – that could make for a healthier culture.

Yehuda Kurtzer, Facebook post (22 March 2019) [https://www.facebook.com/yehuda.kurtzer/posts/10157354658422174]