Endowments and donor-advised funds: They may sound like boring financial terms, but they're actually part of a fascinating history of philanthropy in the Jewish community. They reflect the ways in which individuals and organizations use financial resources to impact the Jewish community and democratic society writ large. For half a decade, Lila Corwin Berman has been raising eyebrows, and sparking conversation, with her writings about wealth and charitable giving, Jewish communities, and democracy. In this interview with Berman, we explore the origins of both endowments and donor-advised funds, and examine how they have shaped communal decision-making.
Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb
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- Philanthropy in a Time of Crisis—and Why History Matters (Evolve essay) — How might we re-envision philanthropy so it is less a handmaiden to capitalism and more an agent of the broad citizenry of democracy?
- The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a Multibillion-Dollar Institution (Amazon link)
- How Norman Sugarman Became $50B Godfather of Charitable Funds – The Forward — If you asked most people why the year 1969 was important in American life, few would mention that year’s federal Tax Reform Act. But Norman Sugarman’s fingerprints on that document may have had as much of a lasting effect on this country’s history as Neil Armstrong’s feet on the moon.
- Jewish philanthropies acted as if their work was above politics. Until now. - The Washington Post
- Lila Corwin Berman (Temple University faculty page)