• Dr. Eric Lankin

It’s a New (Philanthropic) World, Goldie




Tevye, the protagonist of Sholem Aleichem’s fanciful tale of European Jewish life, tried to justify his so-called modern views to his wife Goldie by saying that “It’s a new world, Goldie.” Anyone who has witnessed the Jewish philanthropic world in the last 20 years also noticed the dramatic changes.


One of the major changes has been that no longer are most donors dependent on a centralized system to determine and distribute charitable gifts. When the Federation system became the most important charitable vehicle of the Jewish community, it was for many years dependent on members of the community to trust the informed judgement of its leaders to determine where the charitable gifts were most needed. These leaders provided an important service to the community using a triage system addressing the various needs of the community system with limited resources. Many Federations continue to deliver this service in hundreds of Jewish communities in North America. Some Federations offer a variation that the donor at a specific (high) level, has the option to choose a percentage of their gift be allocated to a general category of communal needs, i.e, senior programs or programs that help the poor.


Today, major donors, including individuals, families and giving groups are simply not dependent on the judgment of others and are perfectly able to set their own philanthropic priorities using their own judgment and criteria. The challenge for these donors is often that they need help from a philanthropic adviser in defining their charitable priorities, researching potential partners, and monitoring the impact of their gifts.


In general, a philanthropic adviser is a good listener, with the goal of understanding how the charitable goals of the donor aligns with his or her lifestyle. For example, some donors express a desire to be actively involved as volunteers in the nonprofit they support. Others may choose to only receive biannual reports from the charity.


Second, a philanthropic adviser knows what questions to ask and what details to look for from the charity being considered to protect the interests of the donor.

Finally, a philanthropic adviser advises the potential charity of the expectation of the donor for donor recognition and what their reports to the donor should include.


Lankin Consulting provides a range of important philanthropic services that enables high-net worth individuals, families, and giving groups address their desire to improve the society through their charitable giving and display impact.


Yes, it's a new (philanthropic) world and we can help you navigate it.

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