web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.
Netanyahu Visits Western Wall before Leaving for US
Latest News Stories
One homeowner's "art" in Sacramento, California.

Free speech is cherished, but hate displays on Sacramento home quite disturbing.

Prime Minister Netanyahu writes the beginning of his speech he will deliver in Congress on Tuesday.

Democrats did not sponsor but also did not try to block the resolution.

israel polls

The Left-Right division remains almost the same, but a National Unity government is also feasible.

Abbas, the one who is short in size and common sense, with Kerry, the one who is tall in size but short on common sense.

Kerry called Abbes about “financial viability” of the Palestinian Authority and efforts “to prevent a crisis.”

“I Respect the President Barak Obama.” That’s what he said. We don’t know what meant.

Three car accident near Beit Shemesh on Saturday evening. At least 10 injured.

On February 10, Nemtsov wrote in a news website, “I’m afraid Putin will kill me.”

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

The so-called “Zionist Camp” was accused of having “blood on its hands.”

Actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, “lived long and prospered” but on Friday moved on to explore the Next World.

Iran already has enough centrifuges for a nuclear weapon.

Learning lessons from Protective Edge, Israel is building an underground training field, and will train special units in tunnel warfare.

The unique desert landscape that covers large parts of Israel allow for its positioning as a leading destination for cyclists, with a comfortable climate year-round and spectacular desert scenery.

Once again al Quds’ Said Arikat used the State Dept. Briefing room to slander Israel with false “facts.”

“If no one is infallible, how is it possible that Netanyahu in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?”

US Intelligence Chief Says ISIS ‘low priority’ for Turkey.

More Articles from Uriel Heilman
U.S. President Barack Obama.

How do some of the other issues Obama discussed in his 2013 U.N. General Assembly speech look through today’s lens?

Gazan terrorist with a rocket.

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

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.

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: