12 Jewish Charities Featured on Forbes’ Top 200 List


Taking a Closer Look

On Forbes Magazine’s list of top 200 US charities, 12 Jewish foundations are featured.

Who are they? I think you will find their names no surprise based on Forbes’ criteria of “charitable commitment, fundraising efficiency, and donor dependency.”

Foundation Net Assets Charitable Commitment Fundraising Efficiency Donor Dependency
American Jewish Committee $110 million 81% 91% 65%
American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee $347 million 92% 99% 89%
Anti-Defamation League $21 million 79% 88% 85%
Hadassah: Women’s Zionist Org. of America $675 million 84% 93% 40%
PEF/ Israel Endowment Funds $134 million 98% 100% 97%
United Jewish Communities (Federation system):
Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Miami,
New York, San Francisco
See details below See details below See details below See details below

Forbes’ Criteria: Taking a Closer Look


So who are the largest US Jewish foundations and what do we need to know about them?

First let’s talk about who they aren’t. Forbes’ criteria eliminated from its list private foundations, academic institutions, and community and religious organizations without high degrees of transparency.

Foundations were assessed on the basis of three characteristics: charitable commitment, fundraising efficiency, and donor dependency. Forbes’ evaluations were based on major gifts, not total revenue.

  • Charitable commitment: how much funding goes to program support compared to how much is used for management
  • Fundraising efficiency: how much funding goes to the actual gift compared with how much is used for overhead expenses
  • Donor dependency: “how badly a nonprofit needs your contribution to break even”

The Jewish Foundations

Note: the Forbes’ list is organized alphabetically, not by rank, so you can easily navigate your way around the site.

American Jewish Comittee

AJC Logo

The American Jewish Committee is one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations worldwide.

Established in 1906 to help protect Russian Jews from the pogroms, it has since spoken out on the behalf of Jews in vulnerable communities across the world.

Take note of the AJC’s special projects, which include:

  • Its blog, the AJC Wire
  • The AJC Archives (an amazing historical and cultural resource)
  • The Green Project, which seeks to make its national offices compliant with LEED (the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System)

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

JDC Logo

The best place to read about the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is here: “Know Your Jewish Philanthropy: the Federations, the Joint, and the Jewish Agency.”

The Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (aka the JDC or “the Joint”) helps vulnerable Jewish and non-Jewish populations worldwide. Its primary program areas are: rescue, relief and recovery, renewal, and Israel.

Note that the JDC’s Dr. Rick Hodes has recently been recognized as one of CNN’s Heroes for his medical outreach to disadvantaged populations. Dr. Hodes is currently serving as the JDC’s Director of Medical Programs in Ethiopia.

Anti-Defamation League

ADL Logo

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an activist organization fighting hate and anti-semitism around the world.

It is the number one best recognized organization of its kind in the Jewish world. The ADL has made a name for itself politically for its anti-hate and civil rights campaigns.

Note the ADL’s special section for governments and schools on Negotiating the ‘December Dilemma.’

Recommended reading: “Yad Vashem Recognizes Albanian Muslims Among Righteous Gentiles.”

Hadassah: the Women’s Zionist Organization of America

Hadassah Logo

Hadassah has long been renowned as the central address for Jewish women’s philanthropy.

You’ll notice in the comparison chart above that with a net worth of $675 million net assets, Hadassah is far and away the wealthiest organization on the list.* This is true even more than you think: Hadassah women are loyal devotees of the organization and many women active in the Jewish community have lifetime Hadassah memberships.

Hadassah is probably best known for its support of medical organizations. If you’ve ever been to the Homeland, you know the important work they are doing here on behalf of the State of Israel. I am also a big fan of their print magazine (and wish they would migrate online).

* Not including federations.

PEF/ Israel Endowment Funds


Confused by the PEF part of PEF/Israel Endowment Funds‘ name? That’s Palestine Endowment Funds and yes, the organization has been working on behalf of Israel since the beginning.

PEF acts as a conduit for Jewish giving to Israel. If you look at the numbers and percentages in the chart above, you can see that they are doing their job well. With little overhead, many major Jewish American organizations trust PEF to get the job done.

Photo: Justice Louis Brandeis (pictured), Rabbi Stephen Wise, and Robert Szold were the original founders of PEF in 1922.

United Jewish Community Federations

UJC Logo

The United Jewish Communities (UJC) is the keystone for giving in the Jewish world. When people talk about “the federations,” what they are referring to is the UJC’s federated regional offices.

You can see purely from its net assets that the UJC’s regional offices are in powerful command of donor dollars. Knowing what we do about fundraising, the UJC’s information indicates that they are considered a primary giving destination in the American Jewish community that has deep impact and strong results.

If you haven’t read it already, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the UJC by reading: “Know Your Jewish Philanthropy: the Federations, the Joint, and the Jewish Agency.”

Let’s take a look at Forbes’ breakdown of the 7 UJC federations that topped the list: Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.

Federation Net Assets Charitable Commitment Fundraising Efficiency Donor Dependency
Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies $331 million 89% 94% 52%
Cleveland: Jew. Comm. Fed. of Cleveland $372 million 89% 91% 77%
Chicago: Jew. Fed. of Metropolitan Chicago $463 million 85% 90% 70%
Detroit: Jew. Fed. of Metropolitan Detroit $501 million 89% 95% 25%
Miami: Greater Miami Jewish Federation $145 million 83% 91% 41%
New York: UJA/Federation of New York $908 million 78% 85% 51%
San Francisco: Jew. Comm. Fed. of San Fran. $456 million 88% 94% 46%

Recommended Reading:


Forbes’ list of “America’s 200 Largest Charities” is a definitive list of who’s who in the world of global giving.

In closing, Forbes recommends that you: “Treat any would-be donation like you would an investment. After all, as a supporter, you become a stakeholder. Do your research and learn all you can.”


Flickr images sourced from the following, with thanks– Martin, Sarcaser, and Michelle Zliman under the Creative Commons license. All other images sourced from organizations’ websites or credited within the text.

Thanks to CK at Jewlicious for the tip off.

Links of Interest


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28 Responses to 12 Jewish Charities Featured on Forbes’ Top 200 List

  1. Nurit Robin says:

    thanks maya!!

  2. thenewjew says:

    Nurit, it’s great to hear from you.

    Hope all is well and best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Chanukkah.


  3. Hey Nurit! Drop me a line sometime. gewirtzj at optonline.net

  4. thenewjew says:


    I’ve forwarded your message and contact information on to Nurit to ensure she gets it.


  5. […] Read more about Hadassah: “12 Jewish Charities Features on Forbes’ Top 200 List” […]

  6. […] Links For An Obvious Contrast Between Jewish Charities & Christian Charities. Then Click On, A Closer Look At Jewish Charities, & See How Jews Only Help Other […]

  7. angella nalwanga says:

    am awoman director of aids in children here in our community and kindly reqesting for help in this mission
    thank you
    yours faithfully
    angella nalwanga

  8. Gerald Miley says:

    what is the name of the organization that helps Jews immigrate from danger? The Russian co-founder of google was a beneficiary of this, but I cannot find its name or where contributions can be sent to them. Thank you.

  9. Keitha Sibley says:

    What is the name of the jewish charity that assist jews with going back to their homeland?

  10. […] 12 Jewish Charities Featured on Forbes’ Top 200 List « The New JewDec 3, 2007 … 12 Jewish Charities Featured on Forbes’ Top 200 List. MBiskoping. Taking a Closer Look. On Forbes Magazine’s list of top 200 US charities, 12 … […]

  11. maribel nieves says:

    I woulf like phone contact information re jewish charities also to get some important information from them.

  12. maribel nieves says:

    First i’d like to say i love the chosen people and we pray for israel constantly, I would like to get contact information for jewish charities i have some extremely life and death information for them as well as i would like some emergency assistance for myself and my family to move us out of ny and miami to puerto rico by the end of this month before its too late.

    • maribel nieves says:

      I Maribel may be contacted via cell phone 609.743.9260.plz leave a message since i have no ringtone.thx.God bless u.

  13. Inna says:

    I am looking for charity organization that can help me.I live in Israel,I am a single Mom with two children,working as a teacher and I hardly can make both ends meet.

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