In support of charity endowments

Barry J. Schwartz of Hillsdale argues (Jan. 9), in the wake of the Madoff scandal, that charities should not have “multi-million dollar portfolios” because there are immediate needs for these charitable resources.

Mr. Schwartz is correct in one respect: Charities are obligated to respond to current crises and needs as dictated by their respective missions. However, a charitable organization is also duty bound to act in a prudent and fiscally responsible fashion – and that includes planning for the future.

A significant endowment is not by definition “suspect.” Rather, it is indicative of the organization’s recognition that it has an obligation to raise and secure funds that will sustain the organization during recessionary economies. An endowment enables a charity to function when donors pass away and when other sources of funding are diminished. Carefully and prudently invested, endowments allow charities to continue providing critically needed programs and services – even during the most difficult of times.

UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey conducts an annual campaign and allocates the monies raised every year to important causes in northern New Jersey, in Israel, and worldwide. Our endowment assets, contributed by donors during their lifetimes and by their estates and specifically entrusted to UJA Federation to create enduring sources of support, reflect the donors’ commitment to the Jewish community and the Jewish future.

As a matter of note, UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey was not affected by the Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by Bernard Madoff.

Howard E. Charish

Executive Vice President

UJA Federation
of Northern New Jersey

David A. Moss

Assistant Vice President for Endowment

UJA Federation
of Northern New Jersey