23 Jewish Nonprofits Lose 4 Star Rating

American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jewish National Fund and Yeshiva University
all lose cherished Charity Navigator 4 star rating

Just as we begin the crucial year-end fundraising push, Charity Navigator – America’s largest independent charity evaluator – has launched a new, two-dimensional rating system that measures each charity’s Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency.

Charity Navigator’s focus in this new element is on how the charity reports publicly – both on the IRS 990 and on its website. They consider whether the charity is making easily available information regarding its governance practices, ethical practices, financial information, effectiveness and results.

As a result of the new scoring system:

  • Half of the nearly 5,500 charities rated by Charity Navigator received new star ratings.
  • 30% of the charities’ star rating improved.
  • 19% of the charities’ star ratings decreased including such marquee names as Harvard University, NYU, Princeton and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • With the bar set higher, the total number of 4-star charities decreased by 20%.
  • At the same time, charities with ratings of 3 stars (good) or better increased by 8%.

In the Jewish world, dozens of organizations have seen their ratings move down. The following, all previously rated 4 star, are among those with a lower rating (new star number in parenthesis):

  • Agudath Israel of America (2)
  • Aish New York (3)
  • Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (3)
  • American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center In Jerusalem (3)
  • American Friends of Nishmat (1)
  • American Friends of Shalva (1)
  • American Friends of the Israel Museum (3)
  • American Friends of Yad Eliezer (3)
  • American Israel Education Foundation (3)
  • American Pardes Foundation (3)
  • American Society for Yad Vashem (2)
  • The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore (3)
  • Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School of Greater Washington (3)
  • Combined Jewish Philanthropies (3)
  • Fuchs Mizrachi School (2)
  • Gross Schechter Day School (2)
  • Jewish Community of Louisville (3)
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton (3)
  • Jewish Federation of Omaha (3)
  • Jewish National Fund, United States (3)
  • The Negev Foundation (2)
  • Yeshiva University (3)

There is also some good news as many Jewish organizations have seen their ratings increase; the following 12 are now rated 4 star:

  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
  • The Federation, Jewish Communities of Western Connecticut
  • International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
  • Jewish Communal Fund – NY
  • The Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus
  • Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
  • Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta
  • Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
  • Jewish Federation of Orange County
  • Jewish Federation of Rhode Island
  • Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago
  • MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger – CA

The above, accurate as of September 24, 2011, only shows those organizations that have lost, or newly obtained, Charity Navigator’s 4 star rating. Many other Jewish organizations are among the 2600+ that have been changed. A complete list is available here. Be sure to look for your own organization to see if any revisions have been made.

For more on Charity Navigator’s changes, see our previous post, The Changing Landscape of Accountability.

updated October 3rd: Birthright Israel Foundation has been reclassified back to 4 stars