Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:JEHT Foundation“

Spotlight on CIVIC's perseverance through wintry economic times

by Jason Z.

The Washington Times ran an illuminating piece today on CIVIC, the Campaign for Innocent Victims In Conflict and one of our favorite Salsa users.  It's not only a heart-gladdening story to see CIVIC keep on keeping on, but underscores the perilous situation many small nonprofits are or soon may be facing.

CIVIC had nothing to do with crooked financier Bernard Madoff, but the relief organization was supported by the JEHT Foundation, a strongly progressive funder whose donor unfortunately fell prey to the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

That blow ultimately fell on CIVIC (and scores of other progressive nonprofits), and "illustrates how devastating the Madoff case has been for smaller charities" and has already resulted in one layoff on its four-person staff and the closure of its office.

CIVIC relies totally on grants from foundations and private donations, and that $50,000 grant [from the JEHT Foundation] was the only guaranteed money it had coming in for 2009. ...

The organization has a $350,000 budget. Compounding the problems is that donations are down about 40 percent, according to [Executive Director Sarah] Holewinski. She said CIVIC still needs about $200,000. Until a supporter in Europe gave a large donation last month, Ms. Holewinski said there was a real prospect that the organization would have to close entirely.

What a relief that CIVIC didn't close.

In this case, the Madoff-to-layoff chain is visibly apparent.  But the systematic pressure of depressed donations, an implacable statistical inevitability fed by a thousand minute tributaries -- that's the thing to watch out for.

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Madoff Ponzi Scheme Claims JEHT Foundation

by Jason Z.

There's been ample general chatter about the shakeout our economic contraction will have on the nonprofit sector -- and, I would venture to say, a bit of whistling past the graveyard.

The zombies woke up with the Madoff scandal ... and this week we found out that they'll devastate progressive advocacy groups.

The JEHT Foundation, a national philanthropic organization, has stopped all grant making effective immediately and will close its doors at the end of January 2009. The funds of the donors to the Foundation, Jeanne Levy-Church and Kenneth Levy-Church, were managed by Bernard L. Madoff, a prominent financial advisor who was arrested last week for defrauding investors out of billions of dollars.

The JEHT Foundation (full disclosure:  it backed my own my own former shop) is -- was, rather -- one of the most important funders of criminal justice reform, civil liberties, and human rights work in the U.S.  As Grits for Breakfast points out, JEHT has been notable for a willingness to fund in more controversial causes that often have difficulty attracting foundation support.  It's a huge loss to the progressive advocacy sector, and the disappearance of its six-figure grants will in turn kill off programs and even entire organizations.

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