Building Bridges of Hope: The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews
In the realm of charitable giving, it’s not just the size of your donations that counts, but the impact they have on the lives of those in need. In December 2021, Forbes unveiled its highly anticipated annual list of America’s Top 100 Charities, a compilation that ranks the largest tax-exempt nonprofits in the United States. Amidst the notable organizations gracing this list was a newcomer, the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews (IFCJ), debuting at #100 with an impressive $167 million in private donations.
This achievement was particularly noteworthy as it occurred during the turbulent year of 2020, a year plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic challenges. Yet, against all odds, charitable giving among the top 100 organizations surged by 10%. This remarkable feat underlines the enduring spirit of generosity that defines these institutions and the supporters who rally behind their missions.
For those unfamiliar with the Forbes ranking methodology, it takes into account private donations from individuals, estates, corporations, nonprofits, and fundraising events. These contributions can be in various forms, including cash, securities, goods, real estate, and even labor, provided it can be quantified in reports. However, government grants, revenue from sales or services, and investment returns are excluded from the calculations.
Forbes delves beyond mere donations and revenue figures; it also assesses the effectiveness of these organizations through two key ratios: Charitable Commitment and Fundraising Efficiency. Charitable Commitment measures how much of a charity’s total expenses directly contribute to its charitable purpose, excluding management, certain overhead costs, and fundraising expenses. IFCJ scored an admirable 74% in this category, reinforcing its commitment to efficiently channel resources towards its mission.
On the other hand, Fundraising Efficiency evaluates the percentage of private donations that remain after deducting fundraising expenses. IFCJ again excelled with an 89% Fundraising Efficiency score, well above the accepted minimum benchmark of 65-70%.
At the helm of the IFCJ is Yael Eckstein, serving as both President and CEO. Her annual salary of $625,980 reflects her leadership role in the organization. Despite being headquartered in Chicago, Yael resides in Israel and serves as the international spokesperson for the IFCJ. She is a driving force behind the organization’s remarkable achievements.
Speaking about the IFCJ’s inclusion in Forbes’ prestigious list, Yael Eckstein emphasized the organization’s primary goal, saying, “The best and most meaningful part about being included on this list is that we’ve been able to help so many people in need. That’s how we measure our success.” She highlighted that, even during the challenging year of 2020, the IFCJ assisted 2 million individuals. The organization continued its exceptional work into 2021, touching even more lives.
The IFCJ’s tireless dedication to its mission hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to its Forbes recognition, the organization received several other honors in 2021. It was named one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” by the NonProfit Times and was selected as the “Organization of the Year” by the ANA Nonprofit Federation. Yael Eckstein herself was honored by being named one of the “50 Most Influential Jews of 2021” by the Jerusalem Post.
The IFCJ’s journey began in 1983 when Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founded it with the aim of fostering better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews while garnering broad support for Israel. Today, it stands as one of the foremost organizations dedicated to helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Most of its donations come from Christians, who are inspired to assist Israel and the Jewish people in times of need. Since its inception, the IFCJ has raised an astonishing $1.8 billion for its vital work. The organization maintains offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul.
To learn more about the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews and discover ways to contribute to their humanitarian efforts, visit their website at https://www.ifcj.org.
In conclusion, the IFCJ’s remarkable journey from its founding to its recognition on Forbes’ Top 100 Charities list is a testament to the power of compassion, cooperation, and a shared commitment to making the world a better place. As it continues to build bridges of hope between Christians and Jews, the IFCJ’s impact extends far beyond rankings and statistics, touching the lives of millions in need.