INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS & JEWS

Rating: 2.55 stars   31 reviews

Issues: International, Religion

Location: 30 N Lasalle St Suite 2600 Chicago IL 60602 USA

Mission: To foster better relations and understanding between Christians and Jews; encourage greater cooperation between both communities on issues of shared biblical concern; and help build support for Israel and Jews in crises or need. The Fellowship is committed to building support for Israel and the Jewish people in five crucial ways including: Advocacy, Tourism, Israeli products, educattion on the Jewish Roots of Christianity and rasing funds for various projects such as Jewish immigration and resettlement, poverty relief and security in Israel and poverty relief for needy Jews in the Former Soviet Union and other countries around the globe.
Programs: 1. Provide financial and logistical assistance to hundreds of thousands of needy Jews to facilitate their return to the Holy Land and build new lives in Israel.  2. Provide relief and life-saving assistance to impoverished people of all ages and religious or ethnic affiliations, including soup kitchens, emergency medical care and supplies, aid for people in crises from terrorism or family tragedy, clothing, educational assistance and other basic needs.  3. Provide resettlement assistance for recent émigrés from Ethiopia and other countries, including language training, housing, vocational and skill-development, after school enrichment programs for children, job placement and recreational activities all of which help them acclimate themselves to their new home and become productive Israeli citizens. 4. Immediate assistance to victims following terrorism and natural disasters. 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 3 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

I can not understand the rancor of some reviewers on this topic. First about the salary. People have complained that he makes $370 thousand, $400 thousand, and more than $470 thousand dollars. Did they expect him to socialize with moneyed individuals in a wrinkled suit and cap in hand? Traditionally those who donate large amounts to charity are not impressed by a homeless individual knocking on their door. In actuality I believe that he makes close to $500,000. That is a non-issue. To put it in perspective, for every $50.00 you would donate, 22 cents goes into the rabbi's pocket. When I donate to food shelves, or clothing centers for the homeless locally, it would not bother me that the administrator makes a buck every time I donate $250.

As to personal attacks...one commenter mentioned that the rabbi had been condemned by the Orthodox. To that I would have to ask which Orthodox? The only criticism of which I am aware coming from Orthodox organizations is a claim that defines Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein as a closet Christian. His organization has been a viable charity in Israel for thirty years, though the name International Fellowship of Christians and Jews wasn't used until 1991.

The more damaging assessment comes in the realm of the amount of money necessary to raise a dollar. The actual fundraising expenses reported to the IRS are in the nature of 39%. Thus it takes 39 cents to raise a dollar of which 53 cents goes to the designated charity, which leaves 8 cents for administrative expenses. If I was a retailer, I would consider that a great return on my investment. How do I determine this for a charity? To begin with, the worst charities only spend between 2.5% to 10% on the actual subject of the donation. The rest goes to...well you know. The best spend anywhere from 75% to 90% on the subject of donation. Most fall in between those ranges. The BBB standards of 65% when dividing program expenses by total expenses gets a minus mark for IFCJ which is only 54%. On the other hand the American Red Cross which passed the BBB test has been in continues hot water with federal investigators since before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when they pocketed the money earmarked for those disasters by direct contribution.

The top performing charity merely uses its donations for education and provides no direct aid to the needy. But...the Joshua Fund mentioned in one comment, has an overall rating of 61.xx% while the IFCJ has a 54% rating, not terrible, except the main reason it is that high is with a higher score in financial accountability. Joshua has a profile of $5 million, whereas IFCJ has a $100 million profile. As I've checked around to see where my Israel money is best spent I have not found anything that large appreciably better.

I donate to a number of Israel charities, and this is one of them. Am I satisfied with the amount they spend on fundraising? No. but I will continue to donate until something better that actually feeds the needy, comes along. I will look more into the Joshua Fund, but last year they ran a deficit and that isn't a good sign for longevity.

A final note: if I was donating 10% of my income to this charity alone, then I would look elsewhere. My consideration is also weighed by the fact that many of the top rated org. are umbrella groups I don't know what is done with the money given to their various subsidiaries.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to cut the fundraising budget in half.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 3 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Rumors of million + salaries, and donations that exclude messianic Jews; those that believe in Jesus Christ, should not stop good hearted people who want to bless Israel with a donation. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Before you donate, look around, there are numerous legitimate organizations that do charitable work there. Check them out, see how much of your donation reaches it's destination, and reaches the people you intended it for. May your hearts be in the right place, and may God bless.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If rumors are true then soul searching is in order. If not try to clean image.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 2 stars  

29 people found this review helpful

I donated to this fund monthly by credit card largely because I wanted to bless the Jews through some charity or outlet. The IFCF seemed to have a lot of information and advertising that captured my attention. However, over time I realized that they must be spending millions in advertising because I would receive elaborate advertising 2x a week asking for more money. I did not like that. Also, they never mentioned Christ at all but only catered to Judaism’s beliefs. What sealed my decision to stop my donation was when I read about Rabi Eckstein’s incredible salary. That salary includes my donation and could be used to help many poor jewish people. It seems the good Rabi is more interested himself than he should be. I plan to give to the Joshua Fund which is a Christian organization who helps Jews and is chaired by a Christian Jew.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Put a cap on the Rabi’s salary, and have a in-depth accounting where the money goes to. That advertising budget is insane. Use the money to help the people as they are suppose to.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

How can this charity get such a high rating when over 40% of the funds raised go to fund raising expense? This is certainly not efficiency. I would never donate to this charity.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

Why does any charity organozation's head deserve more than $400,000/year salary or compensation which is almost equal to the US President's salary andmore than double that of members of Congress?

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Those who bless Israel will be blessed. I have seen people going on about the amount of money paid to Eckstein, and I must say I don't understand. He makes 20 percent as much as the CEO of Coca Cola, about 3 percent of Microsofts leader. He could just as easily find a private company job and far out do his current salary. Instead he choses to take less money and deny the comforts of a stationary life at home were it is safe. I can assure you that as down to earth as Warren Buffet is, he aint huggin the sick and praying in war torn countries for his daily bread. These people help people. If you want to bark up someones tree go for the pink ribbon people. They take in billions and pay there reps 100 plus thousands to fly first class stay in 5 star hotels and leave pamphlets in doctors offices. Something a mail man could do. Compared to other charities this one gives back a lot of what it collects. Susan G Colman foundation for breast cancer is much better for cancer research. Do your homework kids. Compare charities and see were the money goes. Its out there.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 2 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I am not going to donate any money as I am retired, on a fixed income, and I feel that since I would like to donate hundreds of dollars and can't afford to that the director can "comfortably" take a few hundred out of his $472,000.00 salary and cover it for me!!!!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1997

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I donated one time 50 dollars,, but now I get tons of mail exceeding my initial donation now i find out they are worth more 80 million it just seem weird to now knowing most Jews give money to Israel. so no more will donate to wounded soldiers and a have a girl that is that i have in World Vision for 6 years now.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I handle my 87 year-old mother's financial affairs, and saw that she was persuaded to donate to this organization through her credit card. When I told her that the president was paid nearly a half-million dollars in 2010 (the most recent year reported), she was outraged, and felt taken advantage of. I called the organization and asked to have the funds credited back to her credit card and they refused, saying that contributions were non-refundable unless the donor was legally incompetent at the time. I believe that every legitimate charity should return gifts made by people who within a reasonable amount of time reconsider after receiving pertinent information about the charity. The fact that this organization will require me to take them to small-claims court to get my mother's money back tells me a lot about just what sort of outfit they are.

Was your donation impactful?

No

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Donated and in getting their literature was contemplating donating on a monthly basis as sounded like a good group. Then I saw Rabbi Eckstein's salary of over 400,000 dollars and am sure he has an expense account too. I am struggling financially as are most these days and to see a charity administrator compensated to this extent sends red flags of,if not a scam, definitely donation abuse. Money now going to the Fisher House.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator