Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, when charities hop on social media to ask you for money.
We need your help to figure out which ones are making good use of your donations, and which ones aren’t.
The Forward is asking readers to help us review the tax filings of thousands of American Jewish charities. We’ll teach you how to dig into a charity’s finances. Then, we’ll assign our reporters to follow up on what you find.
All you need to help is some time, and maybe a cup of coffee.
The American Jewish community has an extraordinary abundance of nonprofit institutions. Many of them are doing good, important work. But it’s difficult to know which ones are living up to the responsibility of spending tax-exempt donations wisely.
At the Forward, we spend a lot of time looking at the financial information that the federal government requires charities to make public. We’ve found some really big stories there.
But we usually focus on just the fifty or so largest charities in the American Jewish landscape. There are more than two thousand Jewish charities that file tax returns.
If we work together, we can do some serious watchdog reporting on these groups, which handle billions of dollars in tax-exempt donations.
We’ll teach you how to read the IRS Form 990, the tax form that most charities are required to file. It’s also a great way to learn how you can do your own due diligence before you make a charitable donation.
Then we’ll show you how to help us go through our list of more than 2,000 Jewish charities. You’ll flag interesting and important items you see in their public filings. Then the Forward’s staff will follow up on your tips with our own reporting.
Sign up below or at this link and I’ll send you the primer I wrote on how to read a charity’s tax filing. Then I’ll invite you to a shared document where we’ll work together to review the filings of thousands of American Jewish charities.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.