New York, NY; November 12, 2009— AJWS today announced that it has, once again, received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of more than 5,300 non-profit organizations. Charity Navigator bases its annual ratings on a complex formula that examines an organization’s efficiency and capacity in seven key areas. A four-star rating is the highest possible mark an organization can receive. This year’s rating marks the eighth time AJWS has earned a top rating.
“We are living in a time of great economic strain,” said AJWS president, Ruth W. Messinger. “We recently learned that, due in large part to the economic conditions around the world, more than 1.2 billion people are now hungry. Now more than ever, donors want to make a difference on a global scale. But they too are feeling financial pressure and must feel confident that their dollars are having an impact.
“Charity Navigator uses an extremely rigorous formula and provides a vital service to donors looking for assurances that the organizations they support have low administrative costs and sound fiscal management.”
An international development and human rights organization in its 25th year, AJWS is dedicated to alleviating hunger, poverty and disease among people in the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. The organization’s mission is derived from the Jewish imperative to pursue justice as instructed by the principle of Tikkun Olam—or to “repair the world.” Through grants to more than 400 grassroots organizations throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas, AJWS empowers local people to implement their own solutions to poverty and injustice.
AJWS’s project partners represent some of the world’s most marginalized and forgotten communities, many of whose needs are missed by international aid and traditional humanitarian funding. Among the diverse projects AJWS supports are initiatives promoting education for all, healthcare and food sovereignty; micro-lending and skills-training for secure livelihoods; community-based efforts to secure human rights, women’s rights and minorities’ rights; and long-term reconciliation and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of disasters, emergencies and violent conflicts.
AJWS is also deeply devoted to encouraging American Jews to embrace social justice and global citizenship as fundamental elements of Judaism. Through five flagship service programs, AJWS each year sends more than 500 Jews—ranging from high school age to senior citizens—to live, work and learn in the developing world. The organization distributes weekly commentaries relating international development and Torah to tens of thousands of subscribers, and it has recently spearheaded the development of an open source database of Jewish texts pertaining to social justice. In addition, AJWS has launched two campaigns: Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up, a campaign to engage the Jewish community on the issue of global hunger, and Just Aid, a public policy campaign mobilizing the Jewish community to advocate for increased fairness, effectiveness and transparency in U.S. foreign assistance.
Over the past five years, AJWS’s annual budget has grown from approximately $5M to $30M. Its base of volunteers and activists has grown in corresponding fashion.
“It’s become an increasingly common realization in the American Jewish community that, even in these difficult times, we are blessed,” Messinger said. “Jews, by and large, have the material wealth and influence to play a substantial role in shaping global society in a positive way. AJWS is a vehicle for people to play a proactive role in repairing the world, and it is becoming common knowledge that AJWS is a faithful steward of people’s trust and their desire to help those most in need.”
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David L. Marcus