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February 8, 2021

Where Does $100 to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Go?

by Anne Paddock

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 3 founded by a rabbi in 1983 as a way to “bless Israel and the Jewish people around the world with humanitarian care and life-saving aid” while “building bridges between Christians and Jews.”

How is revenue spent at IFCJ?  The short answer is that about half of revenue was spent on grants to Jewish organizations – in the US and in Israel – while the other half was spent on fundraising, staff compensation, fees for services, office-related expenses, and travel.  For more detail, read on.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, IFCJ raised $118 million in 2019 (compared to $119 million in 2018), most of which came from contributions, gifts, and grants.

Expenses totaled $115 million and can be categorized as follows:

  • $59 million (50% of revenue):  Grants
  • $31 million (26% of revenue):  Printing,Postage, TV and Radio, Programs, Telemarketing, Advertising, Promotion
  • $13 million (11% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 7 million (6% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 4 million (3% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 26: Printing, Postage, TV, Radio, Programs, Telemarketing, Advertising and Promotion

-$ 11:  Compensation

-$  6:  Fees for Services

-$  3:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  1:  Travel and Conferences

-$ 47: Total Organizational Expenses

 $ 53: Remaining Revenue

-$ 50:  Grants

$   3:  Remaining Revenue:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, the largest expense for the IFCJ is grants, which totaled $59 million in 2019.  $20 million was awarded to 5 organizations:

  • $7,750,000:  Federation of Jewish Communities for food and humanitarian support
  • $5,602,210:  Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces for support of Israeli soldiers and family
  • $5,336,853:  American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for food and humanitarian support
  • $1,050,000:  Chamah for meals, medical care-children, transportation
  • $  150,000:  TIVKA Corporation for food and humanitarian support

$39 million in grants were awarded to 6 foreign recipient organizations in 6 parts of the world. The largest ($38 million) was to the Middle East and North Africa and appears to be Israel.  A related organization in Israeli – Karen L Yedidut operates as the Israeli representative of the IFCJ.

So, it appears that nearly all grants of the IFCJ were made to Jewish organizations.

The IFCJ participates in a variety of fundraising methods (i.e. mail, internet, e-mail, phone, and in-person solicitations and also solicitation of non-government grants) but relies primarily on direct mail.  The highest paid fundraisers were reported to be:

  • Winbrook, of Billerica, MA raised $32,343,166 from direct mail and retained $285,000 (1%), netting IFCJ $32,058,166 (99%).
  • Bigham Agency, Inc, of Plano, TX raised $13,694,319 from direct mail and retained $17,791, retting IFCJ $13,676,528.
  • Production Solutions, of Vienna, VA raised $7,803,384 from direct mail and retained $334,000 (4%), netting IFCJ $7,471,384 (96%).
  • Mindset Direct, of Reston, VA raised $3,412,895 from direct mail and retained $854,964 (25%), netting IFCJ $2,557,931 (75%).
  • Cannela Response Television, of Burlington, WI raised $3,361,680 from direct tv and retained $1,700,339 (51%), netting IFCJ $1,661,341 (49%).
  • Causeworx, Inc., of Ontario, Canada raised $2,943,421 from telemarketing and retained $842,515 (29%), netting IFCJ $2,100,906 (71%).
  • Synergy Director Marketing Solutions, of Barberton, OH raised $1,675,589 from telemarketing and retained $42,000 (3%), netting IFCJ $1,633,589 (97%).
  • Westar Media Group, of Greenville, SC raised $930,552 from radio and retained $481,926 (52%), netting IFCJ $448,626 (48%).
  • Forward PMX, of New York, NY raised $850,693 from direct mail and was compensated $1,544,729, netting a loss of $694,036 to IFCJ.
  • MDS, of Mesa, AZ raised $602,521 from telemarketing and was compensated $1,223,609, netting a loss of $621,088 to IFCJ.
  • Infocision Management, of Cleveland, OH raised $543,353 from telemarketing and retained $23,270 (4%), netting IFCJ $520,083 (96%).
  • RKD Group, of Richardson, TX raised $321,721 from direct mail and retained $105,837 (33%), netting IFCJ $215,884 (67%).
  • Donor Services Group, of Los Angeles, CA raised $59,977 from telemarketing and was compensated $279,053, resulting in a net loss of $219,076 to IFCJ.
  • Heritage, of Little Rock, AK raised $17,706 from telemarketing and was compensated $32,170, netting a loss of $14,464 to IFCJ.

In total, the above organizations raised $68 million and were compensated $8 million (12%), netting IFCJ $60 million.

Compensation is the second largest expense. 121 employees received $13 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $107,400.  However, only 27 employees received more than $100,000 with the most highly compensated employee reported to be Yechiel Eckstein, who passed away in Feb, 2019. His total compensation was reported to be $2.9 million and is actually the total benefit amount his beneficiary will receive (the present value of monthly payments and taxes for the next 10 years).

IFCJ had $32 million in net assets at the end of 2019 (compared to $24 million at the beginning of the year). This increase is attributable to not spending as much as the organization raised and also net unrealized gains on assets.

In summation, IFCJ appears to primarily raise money to support Jewish organizations, both in the US and in Israel.  About half of revenue is awarded in grants while the other half is used to support the organization (i.e. pay employees, fundraise, pay office-related expenses and fees, etc).

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019), click here.

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