web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » News & Views » US »

Donald Sterling’s Dollars: Charities Face Dilemmas With Tainted Donors


Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling

When Donald Sterling’s racist rant hit the news, you could practically hear the jostling at the microphone by those eager to denounce the Los Angeles Clippers owner.

For the beneficiaries of Sterling’s largesse, the denunciations took on a special imperative as a means of distancing themselves from his views.

Several Jewish organizations have taken Sterling’s money, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The L.A. Jewish Journal listed 11 Jewish groups that have received money in recent years from the Donald T. Sterling Foundation.

“Last year we took the $10,000 from him,” Jay Sanderson, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told JTA. “We’re not going to take it anymore.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center made a similar remark to the Jewish Journal.

The strongest statement came from the NBA, which banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and now is seeking to force him to sell the Clippers.

Sterling’s foundation has given relatively modest amounts to Jewish groups in recent years given his great wealth. According to the Jewish Journal, 10 of the Jewish groups received gifts of $10,000, some for several years running. Sterling, who is Jewish, also gave $50,000 to Yeshiva Gedolah of Los Angeles in 2010.

Whatever the sums, the ethical dilemmas facing nonprofits when confronted with donations from benefactors of ill repute are hardly clear-cut.

Associating with troubled donors can harm an organization’s reputation, and accepting the money may raise questions about its values and priorities.

Conversely, nonprofits are strapped for cash, and if the money is going to a good cause, does turning down money from troubled sources do more harm than good?

Even when the donor is a public scoundrel, that should not automatically disqualify him, several leaders of Jewish charity groups told JTA.

“We are obliged to help others with the resources we have,” said Mark Charendoff, head of the Maimonides Fund. “I don’t think accepting tzedakah from someone leads to an obligation.”

The key question, Charendoff said, is whether the donor asks for something in return. If the donor wants some kind of endorsement – a gala dinner honor, the naming of a building or, as in Sterling’s case, the right to trumpet donations in newspaper advertisements – then the organization essentially has traded money for an endorsement. That makes the donor a partner rather than merely a supporter.

“If it appears that a requirement of the gift is an endorsement of his character, then I think that’s problematic,” Charendoff said.

Even in such cases, however, there could be compelling ethical reasons to take the money. For example, the donor offers $3 million to an organization that buys cancer drugs for children in Africa who otherwise would not have access to medicine. If the money is rejected, taking a moral stand comes at the price of kids’ lives.

The rules are different if the source of the donor’s money is ill-gotten gains, many say.

“There’s a difference between being a public jerk and being a criminal,” said Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network. “There’s a clear-cut line when it comes to monies that are fueled by criminal or non-ethical activities. I think the line there is pretty clear and everybody sort of accepts that as a red line.”

But not everyone agrees that criminality automatically disqualifies a donor.

Years before he became the head of L.A.’s Jewish federation, Sanderson worked at a drug rehab program where every Friday, he said, he would find a paper bag on his desk with cash, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Sanderson never knew who left the cash until he caught the person leaving the money; it immediately became clear that its source was the sale of illegal drugs.

About the Author: Uriel Heilman is managing editor of JTA. An award-winning journalist, he has worked in a variety of positions for publications in the United States and in Israel, including as New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Donald Sterling’s Dollars: Charities Face Dilemmas With Tainted Donors”

  1. Will they consider all of their donors in the same way??

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jews Against Genocide mimicked and blasphemed the ALS Ice Bucket  Challenge with their anti-Israel "Blood Bucket Challenge."
‘Jews Against Genocide’ Take ‘Blood Bucket Challenge’ at Yad Vashem [video]
Latest News Stories
Jews Against Genocide mimicked and blasphemed the ALS Ice Bucket  Challenge with their anti-Israel "Blood Bucket Challenge."

‘Jews Against Genocide’ pervert the Ice Bucket Challenge into a “blood bucket” attack on the IDF.

An Israeli was lightly injured in a Arab drive-by attack near Ofra.

To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

Convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia Ab-Jamal.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted murderer of a Philly cop, was chosen as college commencement speaker.

Israeli transportation and tourism employees will carry out a work slowdown on Wednesday in solidarity with striking postal workers.

Wartime makes the strangest bedfellows. Iran and the United States are both equipping the Lebanese army to protect the country against ISIS.

Afek Oil and Gas has been blocked from drilling for oil on the Golan Heights, at least for now.

A 30-year-old man is listed in serious condition after setting himself afire at the Savion Junction in central Israel on Tuesday.

A Muslim football player was penalized in Kansas City for offering a quick prayerful gesture of thanks after scoring a touchdown for his team.

The Zim Shanghai moored a short while ago at the Port of Los Angeles.

The blatantly hostile state department press corps belittled and mischaracterized Netanyahu’s UN speech.

Children help clean up Ashkelon in an event organized by the Jewish National Fund, as part of Clean up the World Day, on Sept. 29, 2014.

Jews are becoming as safe in France as they are in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Children were rushed to bomb shelters in the Jerusalem neighborhood when Arabs began throwing explosives at the neighborhood and at Jewish toddlers playing near their nursery schools.

Volkswagen tries to cleanse its Nazi-linked past.

More Articles from Uriel Heilman
Gazan terrorist with a rocket.

How is it that the journalists aren’t able to get any images of Palestinians fighting the Israelis?

The scene of a gas station in Ashdod that was hit directly by rocket fire from Gaza on the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge. The rocket caused explosions and three people were injured, one of them critically.

Despite some limited success, after every conflagration Hamas has managed to re-arm and improve its rocket capacity, as evident in the rocket range on display in this round of fighting.

Over the years, the ADL has been criticized for overstating what qualifies as anti-Semitism, with critics suggesting that some of the statements used to measure bias actually are more indicative of admiration for Jews than anti-Jewish hostility.

“Last year we took the $10,000 from him,” Jay Sanderson, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told JTA. “We’re not going to take it anymore.”

“More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos (Sabbath), the Shabbos has kept the Jews.”

The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.

Last week, a man who tried to build a pipe bomb for use in New York, Jose Pimentel, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on terrorism charges under laws Halberstam helped draft.

The kosher section at Winn-Dixie’s Boca Raton store is larger than that of many kosher-only supermarkets.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/donald-sterlings-dollars-charities-face-dilemmas-with-tainted-donors/2014/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: