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Review for International Fellowship Of Christians & Jews, Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 3 stars  

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 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?


When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Professional with expertise in this field