Jewish Philanthropy is Transitioning

May 22, 2018       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

Jewish tradition has it that the reward for fulfilling one obligation is the opportunity to fulfill another. That concept can be extremely helpful to the philanthropic sector, but as with any group in America, it would be a mistake to presume there will be support from Jewish donors.

In her book “Diversity and Philanthropy,” Lilya Wagner cites a wide range of sources to give an outline of several changes over the past few years that have had an effect on Jewish philanthropy.

    Among them are the following:

  • Biblical injunctions and the dictum of Maimonides have lessened in significance over time and communitarian impulses have eased.
  • Baby Boomers showed less loyalty to communal giving, such as the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), and were giving more to designated giving.
  • Socioeconomic and occupational changes affected the Jewish culture of giving. Professional and managerial segments of Jewish society were giving more than the commercial and entrepreneurial classes.
  • Fundraising and giving are tools for Jewish involvement, not just an end in themselves, as tradition might indicate. Jews often give to a diverse range of causes and organizations, including those of other religions.
  • As is common among many donors, Jewish donors want to see the impact of their gift.
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