Charities warned on ethics

By Sheli Levenson, October 3, 2008

Communal and Israeli charity representatives have been warned of their responsibility to look into the sources of their funding.

Addressing a seminar on ethical challenges held by the Jewish Association for Business Ethics last Wednesday, Jabe consultant Dayan Isaac Berger cautioned: "Don't bring the institution of charity into disrepute by associating with tainted money or people.

"Ethics and pragmatics go hand in hand. This doesn't mean pragmatism drives ethics - it's the other way around."

One-hundred people attended the seminar at the West End offices of BDO Stoy Hayward. In the keynote address, Chief Rabbi and Jabe president Sir Jonathan Sacks stressed: "A Jewish organisation is not simply an organisation run by Jews or for Jews. It is an organisation run according to Jewish law. Anything else is not worthy of the name."

Noting how charity mergers had saved millions in administrative costs, business chief and former Trade Secretary Lord Young urged: "Let us be efficient in the way we administer our funds, but let us be charitable in the way we deal with our clients."

Other issues raised from the floor included how to deal with ever-increasing bureaucracy in areas such as health and safety and security checks on volunteers, and how to ensure money donated in the UK reached its intended targets in Israel.

Jabe will be tackling the ethics of the property market at its annual dinner next month, where speakers are due to include Gerald Ronson.


Last updated: 11:26am, October 6 2008