Elsewhere online
September 30, 2014

Donor's Oil Ties Complicate Energy Debate for Jewish Groups

The Jewish Daily Forward looks at the complexities of the debate over divestment from fossil fuels for Jewish nonprofits, many of which have taken public stances on climate change and alternative energy but also receive extensive support from a family whose wealth is built on oil and gas.

The $2-billion Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is the largest family philanthropy devoted to Jewish causes, supporting a wide range of educational, environmental, and social-justice groups. It is more than twice the size of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which last week became the biggest foundation to pull investments from fossil-fuel industries.

The Schustermans' Samson Company is involved in hydraulic fracturing and deep-water drilling, controversial technologies for extraction of natural gas and oil. Stacy Schusterman, Samson's CEO and the foundation's co-chair, said the firm practices environmental responsibility and has also invested in alternative energy.

Schusterman grantees, including green groups, say they have never been pressured by the foundation over their advocacy on energy issues, but the divestment movement has made relatively little headway in the Jewish nonprofit community, according to the Forward.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on the divestment movement's inroads among foundations.