Israeli Study Finds that Foundations Are not Effective in Checking Nonprofits

An article was recently posted on Midot’s website highlighting a joint study done by Midot and Sheatufim.   The study was presented at a Sheatufim conference on June 23, 2009.  The many findings of the study include:

  • Israeli philanthropic foundations are investing great resources in the grant process and in grant selection before the transferring of funds to nonprofits; however, most foundations lack clear criteria that accompany the process and rely only on the reports from the recipients themselves.
  • Even though the processes of the different foundations are similar, there exists little cooperation between the various foundations.
  • Most foundations do not rely on external professionals to help check the recipients’ usage of the grants.
  • Most foundations do not implement a suitable analysis before the donation is given.
  • Foundations reported a lack of evaluation and measurement tools to check recipient organizations.  Foundations also noted a lack of tools to help analyze the financial statements of the organizations.

In response to the report, the article quoted Shlomo Dushi, Sheatufim’s CEO:

“During a period of a world financial crisis, the purpose of philanthropic foundations  is critical as they can provide much needed oxygen to organizations.  There is a need to formulate a shared tool that will provide an answer to the needs of  the foundation so that it can invest its grants in an effective manner.”

Recommendations of the Study:

  1. To create a shared tool that foundations can use to evaluate nonprofit organizations.
  2. To request help and advice from external professionals in the field when reviewing charities.
  3. To define clear criteria to analyze nonprofits.
  4. To work in cooperation [shituf pe’ulah] between the various foundations.

Personally, I wonder if item #4 will actually help foundations analyze their recipients better or if it will just lead to a Big Brother syndrome, with all foundations sharing information to the detriment of the nonprofit organizations.  Jury is still out with this question.  Any thoughts?

Tizku LeMitzvot [May you continue to merit doing good deeds],

Shuey

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Some Background Information:

  • Midot is an Israeli version of Charity Navigator.  The biggest glaring difference is that while Charity Navigator grades charities based only on their financials, Midot analyzes many different aspects, such as board participation and target audience.  Midot was founded by Meitav Investment House and the JDC.
  • Sheatufim is an organization whose goals boil down to making nonprofits function better.  Contact Sheatufim to see if your charity can qualify for their programs.  The organization was founded by Zionism 2000,  the Rashi Foundation, the JDC, and the Gandyr Foundation.   For a full list of their partners and cooperating organizations, click here for Hebrew and here for English.
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