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January 24, 2023

Where Does $100 to the Jewish Federations of North America Go (2021)

by Anne Paddock

The Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA) is a New York City-based 501 (c) (3) that represents 146 federations, more than 300 network communities and 30 Jewish community foundations (that are separately incorporated).  With 171 employees, JFNA is primarily engaged in fundraising and awarding grants (primarily to United Israel Appeal – a wholly owned subsidiary organization that files a separate Form 990, and the Joint Distribution Committee).


In 2021, JFNA raised $265 million which primarily came from contributions ($252 million of which $5 million were government grants), program service revenue ($2 million), and gain on the sale of assets and investment income ($11 million).

Expenses totaled $255 million and can be viewed two ways:  by broad general category (grants, program services, fundraising, and management) or by specific line item category (i.e.grants, compensation, office-related, travel and conferences, fees for services, etc). Both ways provide beneficial information with the latter approach providing more detail on how revenue was spent.

Expenses by Broad General Category

The $255 million in expenses were categorized as follows:

  • $215 million (81% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 28  million (11% of revenue):  Program Services
  • $ 11 million (4% of revenue):  Management
  • $  1 million (less than 1% of revenue):  Fundraising

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 81:  Grants

-$ 11:  Program Services

-$  4:  Management and Fundraising

$ 96: Total Expenses

 $  4:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, $81 out of every $100 in revenue was used for grants, followed by $15 out of every $100 for program services, management and fundraising. Unspent revenue – $10 million (4% of revenue) – was allocated to the general fund along with $5 million in unrealized gains.  Net assets at year-end were $129 million.

Expenses by Specific Line Item Category

The $265 million in expenses were allocated as follows:

  • $215 million (81%of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 23  million (9% of revenue):  Compensation-related expenses
  • $   8  million (3% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily other fees – no detail provided)
  • $   5   million (2% of revenue):  Office-related expenses
  • $   4   million (1% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences, Advertising, and other expenses

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

$100:  Revenue

-$  9:  Compensation-Related expenses

-$  3:  Fees for Services

-$  2:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  1:  Travel and Conferences, Advertising, and other expenses

-$ 15:  Total Expenses

 $ 85:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 81:  Grants

$   4:  Revenue Remaining:  to General Fund

As illustrated above JFNA spent $15 out of every $100 on expenses related to running the organization and $81 out of every $100 on grants.  The largest overhead expense is for compensation for the 171 employees who received $23 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $135,000.


JFNA awarded $215 million in grants in 2021, most of which ($189 million ) went to two organizations:

  • $146 million:  United Israel Appeal for immigration absorption, youth care, and emergency relief in Israel
  • $ 43 million: Joint Distribution Committee for humanitarian relief and Jewish renewal and identity programs throughout the world.

The above organizations are classified as domestic organizations but it is important to point out the above organizations passed the funds through, primarily to Israel.

JFNA reported making 149 grants greater than $5,000 to 149 domestic 501 (c) (3)’s and government organizations. The two largest are listed above. The next five largest domestic grants were made to:

  • $2 million:  American ORT, of NY, NY for vocational training
  • $2 million:  Secure Community Network, of NY, NY for security grant
  • $1 million:  UJA Fed of NY, of NY, NY for HS matching program (note: UJA Fed of NY gave JFNA $50 million in various grants in 2021)
  • $1 million:  UJA Fed of Greater LA, of LA, CA for HS matching program
  • $1 million:  UJA Fed of Greater Chicago, of Chicago, IL for HS matching program


JFNA reported total assets of $282 million at year-end (June 30, 2021) on the IRS Form 990 which were primarily comprised of receivables ($183 million) and cash and securities ($95 million). Liabilities totaled $154 million, most of which ($111 million) were reported as “other liabilities” with no other detail provided.

Net Assets were $129 million at year-end, $80 million of which are permanently restricted and $40 million unrestricted.


JFNA is primarily engaged in fundraising and raised $265 million in 2021, 81% of which they awarded in grants, primarily two two organizations:  United Israel Appeal (a wholly owned subsidiary) and Joint Distribution Committee. Although these organizations are classified as domestic on the 990, the grant monies listed on the respective 990’s indicate the funds went primarily to organizations in Israel.

JFNA spends $15 out of every $100 on support functions with compensation as the largest expense. The average employee received $135,000 in total compensation although only 50 employees received more than $100,000 in total compensation.

$4 out of every $100 raised (or a total of $10 million) was added to the general fund in 2021.

On the balance sheet, assets are concentrated in receivables and $111 million in “other liabilities” are not detailed.  JFNA has $129 million in net fund assets.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020) for the year ending June 30, 2021, click here.

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