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Billion-Dollar Foundation To Shutter Amid Madoff Woes

A billion-dollar foundation that gave to a wide array of Jewish causes is the latest charitable organization to announce that it is closing in the wake of Bernard Madoff’s financial collapse.

The 19-year-old, Palm Beach, Fla.-based Picower Foundation, which distributed more than $23 million in 2007 — including gifts to about two dozen Jewish organizations — announced Friday that it will shutter, the New York Times and other news organizations are reporting.

According to its 2007 tax return, the foundation gave $225,000 to the Limmud NY conference of Jewish learning; $185,000 to the Jewish Outreach Institute, which provides support services to interfaith families; $109,278 to the Foundation for Jewish Camping, and $100,000 to a program that aids children and families living in Sderot, Israel. Picower also made five-figure gifts to such organizations as the Jewish Coalition for Service, AVODAH, Hillel, Jewish Family & Life, the Jewish Television Network, and the JCC in Manhattan.

Medical research institutions, after-school programs, and human rights organizations also benefited from foundation grants. Picower assets are valued at nearly $1 billion.

Notably, one gift detailed on the 2007 tax return went to the Queens College Foundation — and Madoff’s wife Ruth is listed as a contact person for that donation.

Bernard Madoff, who stands accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, is currently under house arrest; his wife is under court order to hire round-the-clock security for him to prevent his “harm or flight”.

In Other Madoff News

• After the organization announced it lost $90 million in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme, Hadassah’s National President Nancy Falchuk makes an online appeal for support.

JTA is reporting that the American Society for Technion – Israel Institute of Technology lost $72 million to Madoff.

•The Madoff scandal has unleashed a flood of antisemitic comments on the Internet, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

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