Innocent Bystanders

Around the Jewish communal world the news is certainly not good these days. High visibility fallout from years of financial difficulties has forced major changes through-out Hadassah and Young Judaea; CAJE to completely close down; Brandeis University to announce they are closing – then somewhat backtrack in their decision concerning the Rose Art Museum and now Yeshiva University has announced staff reductions. As to the latter, the Orthodox media and blogs are in a tizzy this morning.

As difficult as these decisions are for the organizations making them, we must not neglect all the innocent bystanders who have been caught up – whether the laid off employees from countless organizations, the grantees of closed foundations who are (in some cases) fighting for their existence, the retired individuals who have been completely wiped out of all savings from the Madoff fiasco and others who directly, or indirectly, are being hurt by the worldwide economic slump. We have long stated “the other shoe” is still to drop and still believe so. The economy has not ceased its southward journey; accountants are still busy establishing foundation losses.

Here are two, of the many, articles that have appeared in the past two days on the less publicized losses and their effects in places we often do not speak of.

from The Globe and Mail:

Charities the overlooked victims in Madoff swindle

Philanthropic community reeling from firm’s collapse as hundreds forced to curtail grants

from the Palm Beach Post:

Madoff scandal ripples among Palm Beach County foundations

Having trouble mustering pity for the rich who invested with Bernard Madoff?

Then pity the hungry, homeless, neglected kids, abused women, homebound elderly, the museums, musicians, actors, artists and disabled. Those with arthritis, birth defects, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, cancer, autism, diabetes, mental illness, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, Tourette’s syndrome, unplanned pregnancies, kidney, liver and heart disease. Public radio. Scholarships. Hospice. The planet.

All will be affected, as foundations left penniless quietly shut down and the wounded others halt or cut their giving.