The Smart Way to Give

[The Jewish Week‘s Tamar Snyder interviews Professor Joel Fleishman about his new book, Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results.]

Jewish Week: “Give Smart” aims to help foundations and individual donors maximize the impact of their philanthropic dollars. Do you see a difference between the way Jewish and non-Jewish foundations are operating?

Joel Fleishman: I don’t see any differences at all on these issues. There are many foundations that don’t think systematically about what they are trying to accomplish in both the Jewish and non-Jewish world. The percentage of foundations that practice careful, strategic grant making is about 5 percent. These include the Hewlett Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education. There are others. They’re the ones that are at the cutting edge of trying to do philanthropy in a smart way. The Avi Chai Foundation is one of the foundations in the Jewish world that is, in fact, trying to do things that way. The Schusterman Foundation does a pretty good job of it, too.

Jewish Week: When it comes to overhead, the general consensus has been that “less is always best.” Is that philosophy hurting nonprofits?

Joel Fleishman: It hurts nonprofits. Even good nonprofits are not as good as they could be if they were adequately supported. Would you want to fly on an airplane claiming the lowest overhead, the lowest repair and maintenance rates?

Here’s the full Snyder/
Fleishman interview Getting Smart About Giving.