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JCRC's Burton and CJP's Shrage on quick Israel trip
Jewish Advocate - Boston
Subjects: Jews; Philanthropy; Community; Peace
Author: Lapkin, Alexandra
Date: Oct 30, 2015
Start Page: 1
Pages: 2
Abstract (Document Summary)

Naomi Eisenberg, who runs a philanthropic organization called The Good People Fund, based in New Jersey, said "It is always appreciated by Israelis when Americans show up in difficult times," she noted. However, she added, "We wouldn't use our donors' money that way. The vast percentage of the funds that we receive are used for programs," noting that her organization operates on a much smaller budget than Jewish federations and big advocacy groups. Eisenberg then spoke of a program funded by The Good People Fund, which works with developmentally disabled children. Last week, this group ran an emergency campaign to raise money for guards for its premises. "From their perspective, would they prefer that donors send them the money as opposed to coming? I suppose they would," she said. "That's a crisis for them, particularly for small programs that work with tight budgets."

Despite the legitimacy of solidarity missions, questions have been raised about the value and expense of this trip and whether it was a good use of donor money. When questioned by The Jewish Advocate JCRC and CJP refused to disclose the cost of this particular trip, whether the group flew first class, business class, or coach, or which hotels they stayed in. "Each year we plan for [Barry Shrage] to travel to Israel on solidarity missions and budget appropriate funds, while participants usually pay their own way. The typical cost is $3,000 per person," said Dan Seligson, director of Israel Advocacy Marketing and Crisis Communications at CJP. Shrage noted that other participants made financial contributions during the trip.

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