Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:foundations“

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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Make It Your Own: Case Foundation's Experiment in Citizen-Centric Philanthropy

The Case Foundation yesterday opened a summer application window for its "Make It Your Own" awards. A few months on from the controversial Net2 funding scrum, Case revisits similar philosophical ground with very different execution. To begin with, it's a multi-staged process of "managed democracy" -- you know, like we have in the political sphere, except with some democracy -- instead of the free-for-all registration-and-voting process that drew heat for Net2.

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