U.S. Giving to Israeli Non-Profit Organizations - how it actually works
Source: Giving Wisely
Prof. Eliezer D. Jaffe

There is a significant increase in direct giving to Israeli non-profit organizations by donors abroad who prefer the development of relationships and more personal contact with Israelis.

In response to this rapidly growing trend of direct private giving in Jewish life, a network of funds and foundations have been created abroad to responsibly channel private charity directly to non-profits in Israel.

There are several registered tax exempt organizations in the U.S. that are designed to direct grants to causes, projects, and institutions as suggested by those who have chosen to contribute. The U.S. foundations, corporation or individual can receive a tax deduction for the donation and the organization can then send the donation on to the Israeli non-profit suggested by the donor.

One of the most successful and reliable of the American organizations is P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc., which disburses millions of dollars each year to Israeli non-profit organizations from private American donors and foundations.

Another vehicle for forwarding private philanthropy to Israeli non-profit, primarily from the U.S. and Canada, as well as the U.K., is The New Israel Fund. The Fund specializes in seed money grants for social action, civil rights, women's rights, Arab-Jewish relations and a range of innovative volunteer activity.

Many of the Israeli organizations that solicit funding abroad have encouraged the establishment of "Friends" organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere which receive donations, provide local tax deductible receipts, and then forward the donations to Israel. The Friends organizations are freestanding, independent entities liable only to the laws of their own country.

This is very common for Israeli universities, and social service organizations. For example, many projects in Jerusa1em (parks, museums, theatres, etc.) have been funded through the Friends of the Jerusalem Foundation, and Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheva have similar funds.

The following are U.S. tax exempt organizations that channel charity to non-profit organizations in Israel:

  • P.E.F. Israel Endowment Fund
  • New Israel Fund
Other examples of foreign funds that transfer donations to Israeli nonprofits are The Jerusalem Foundation, The Abraham Fund, the Ziv Tzedakah Fund, and a host of others. Some deduct for overhead, some don't, and donors should check this subject carefully.

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