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August 9, 2021

Where Does $100 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Go?

by Anne Paddock

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (also known as “The Joint” or the JDC) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) with about 150 employees in New York City, NY. The governing board – 169 independent board members although 173 board members are listed on the Form 990 (the difference appears to be due to timing issues – is comprised of 92 males and 81 females.

As one of the leading humanitarian organizations that works in 70 countries, the JDC works to rescue and provide aid to Jews in the advancement of Jewish life across the globe, primarily through awarding grants:  in 2019, 65% of revenue was used for grants.

In 2019, the JDC reported total revenue of $334 million (compared to $357 million in 2018) most of which came from contributions and gifts ($271 million), government grants ($49 million), and investment income/gains on the sale of assets ($9 million).

Expenses totaled $331 million (including $2 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $217 million (65% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 68 million (20% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 15 million (5% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 15 million (5% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 12 million (3% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $  3 million (1% of revenue):  Advertising, Interest, and Other Expenses

As illustrated above, $217 million or 65% of revenue was awarded in grants, primarily to Russia and neighboring states ($121 million), Europe ($37 million), and the Middle East and North Africa ($55 million). The Form 990 does not require non-profits to disclose the specific of grants made overseas.

$113 million, or 34% of revenue was spent on organizational expenses (compensation, fees, travel and conferences, office expenses, etc).

The unspent revenue – about $3 million – was added to the general fund. The JDC recognized $48 million in unrealized gains on investments along with $18 million in other changes (primarily the gain of net assets from a merger) resulting in $449 million in net assets at year-end.

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 20:  Compensation

-$  5:  Fees For Services

-$  5:  Travel and Conferences

-$  3:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  1:  Advertising, Interest, and Other Expense

-$ 34: Subtotal: Organization Expenses

 $ 66:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 65:  Grants

$   1:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above and in the most general terms, The JDC spent $34 of of every $100 on organization expenses and $65 out of every $100 on grants – primarily overseas.

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

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