Twenty-two Jewish organizations made the 2009 list of groups selected for the U.S.-based Chronicle of Philanthropy 400 this year.
Several of the groups saw a considerable rise in their fortunes, despite the worldwide economic crash.
Among those was the # 264-ranked Birthright Israel Foundation, which raised $71,369,840 – a gain of 46.8 percent over 2008. Another was #296-ranked The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, with an income of $62,297,511, an increase of 10.5 percent over its previous 12-month period. The #362-ranked Jewish National Fund also increased its income by some 8.8 percent, to $48,342,847.
The highest-ranking Jewish organization, the #45-ranked Jewish Federations of North America, pulled in $320,252,000 in its fundraising activities in 2009, according to the report – but at a 19.6 percent drop from the previous year.
Several other Jewish organizations listed among the top flyers, some quite prominent, lost even more income.
Yeshiva University, ranked at #176, raised $111,124,401 – a drop of 39.2 percent from 2008. The # 278-ranked Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco raised “only” $66,311,911 over the year – a drop of 44.3 percent from the previous 12 month period. P.E. F. Israel Endowment Funds also lost money; the fund raised $47,995,288 – 35.1 percent less than the previous year.
Many of the losses were due to the so-called Madoff scandal – the collapse of a massive funding mechanism set up by entrepreneur Bernie Madoff, who confessed to masterminding a failed ponzi scheme. The collapse of the funding setup sent countless investors into bankruptcy, and numerous aid organizations into a desperate struggle for survival.