Against Strong Headwinds:
Final Report on the Concluding Years of the AVI CHAI Foundation

This is the eighth and final installment in a series of reports on how The AVI CHAI Foundation is going about completing its grantmaking by December 31, 2019. The Foundation was established in 1984 by financier Zalman Chaim Bernstein, z’’l, with the mission of strengthening Judaism, Jewish literacy, and Jewish tradition; promoting mutual understanding among Jews of differing religious orientations; and sustaining, enlarging, and enriching Jewish commitment to the State of Israel. AVI CHAI has made grants in three regions: North America, Israel, and the former Soviet Union (FSU).

In 2004, following the strongly implied wishes of its donor, who died in 1999, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided, and then announced in 2005, that it would cease grantmaking operations within a fixed period of time. This series of reports has described, nearly year-by-year, the process by which AVI CHAI has planned and carried out its last rounds of grantmaking, as it sought to achieve significant, lasting objectives in the time remaining and leave its grantees stronger and more fully equipped to carry on the parts of their mission that the Foundation has supported.

AVI CHAI has been documenting their wind down process in the hope that it might prove helpful for other foundations that are contemplating spending down.

Prof Joel L. Fleishman has been leading this documentation project and has completed his final report.

The report was released March 18, 2020 just as many of us entered a sheltering in place home environment.

The complete report, “Against Strong Headwinds” is available for download here.