Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time for a new look at charities

Sometimes I realize that I am niave ,especially when it comes to Jewish organizational life.The Madoff affair has caused me to wake up and smell the coffee.
I have been to Israel countless times.One of the charities that I visited, and from time to time have given a small donation to, is Yad Sarah.My impression has always been of a small volunteer type chesed organization dedicated to helping poor, needy and ill Israelis.
Reading the brochures in the past, I had the vision of a struggling group who everyday had to come to grips with the difficult economic realities in Israel.
Thus I was more than shocked to read ( the allegation)that they purportedly invested 1.5 million dollars in the Ascot fund .We do not know yet if they lost their money
Question-What kind of office expenses,professional and fund raising expenses in America do they have? How much additional funds are invested elsewhere ?
I propose that annually the NY State,(as well as NJ and Conn) Attorney Generals publish not only such a list of expenses compared to fund raising ,but a list of all monies invested in trusts and foundations etc.
When the consumer gets a fund raising call or letter indicating that if they do not contribute, then people will starve tomorrow,it would be nice to know if their expense/collection ratio is 18% or 60%,and whether they have millions invested.A number of years ago I saw such a list and quite suprised by the numbers.
Final thought-Why is Madoff free on bail?