Charities face ‘modest and manageable’ impact of Covid as giving set to continue

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Charities face ‘modest and manageable’ impact of Covid as giving set to continue

Co-author of report by JPR says: 'Early indicators suggest that the Jewish community should hold up reasonably well in light of the economic challenges presented by the pandemic'

The Work Avenue team with Debbie Sheldon (top, third left)
The Work Avenue team with Debbie Sheldon (top, third left)

A study this week is set to calm nerves among Jewish charities worried about their finances by showing that British Jews intend to continue their giving at much the same levels as before the pandemic.

Drawing on a survey of almost 7,000 British Jews, a report published by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) outlines the “modest and manageable” financial impact of Covid-19 on most Jewish households.

It will be some relief to communal organisations whose balance sheets have been hit by the virus and its associated lockdowns. It may even herald in a shift, with more donors saying they will target their giving towards Jewish causes than in previous years.

“Early indicators suggest that the Jewish community should hold up reasonably well in light of the economic challenges presented by the pandemic,” said co-author and JPR director Dr Jonathan Boyd.

“While many have had to cope with redundancies and reduced income, most Jews tell us they will continue to make charitable donations, pay synagogue membership fees and contribute to Jewish schools.”

The proportion of UK Jews donating to charity dipped, from 86 percent in 2019 to 83 percent last year, but of these four fifths planned to give the same or more.

Meanwhile 70 percent said they would give to Jewish charities, while 55 percent said so in 2013, when the target of giving was last measured. JPR said this “indicates a possible significant shift in donation behaviour”.

The proportion of households paying full synagogue membership fees is expected to fall from 83 percent to 76 percent, and the proportion of parents paying the full recommended contribution at Jewish schools is likely to drop from 66 percent to 56 percent.

JPR issued a warning that the statistics measured intentions as of July 2020, when the country had emerged from its first national lockdown. There have been two more since, with daily Covid-19 deaths now surpassing the peak of the first wave, so families’ intentions may have changed.

Boyd suggested that the proof would be in the pudding, adding that JPR would monitor the income received by Jewish charities, synagogues, and schools, “not just during a crisis, but at all times, to ensure we have reliable baseline data”.

The survey follows a report by the Jewish Funders Network, which charts the giving of the Jewish world’s biggest philanthro-pic individuals and foundations.

This found that funders were “shifting from project-based grants to general support, creating new emergency and rapid-response funds, loosening reporting requirements, increasing the discretion of the grantee, eliminating matching-gift requirements, offering loans, and providing technical support”. 


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