There are questions about the performance of Jewish donor-advised funds, which appear to have lagged behind their peers in recent years, in terms of contributions, assets and grants.
The National Philanthropic Trust, which analyzes the year-end filings of donor-advised funds, found that in fiscal year 2010, the average U.S. fund had regained its assets to almost equal pre-recession highs. But a Forward analysis of tax returns from almost 80 Jewish donor-advised fund programs found that assets among the largest 10 funds during the same period fell 10%. Among Jewish funds nationally, assets fell by almost 20%.
Jewish funds also fared poorly in terms of contributions. While contributions to donor-advised funds fell 16% nationwide between 2007 and 2010, in the Jewish community they fell by 30%.
Many Jewish fund executives blamed the recession and low investment performance for the slowdown, though it is unclear why those conditions did not similarly affect the non-Jewish funds.
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