It is meritorious to want to dedicate a tzedaka organization in the name of one who is no longer living. There are lots of this type of organization. However, many of those dedication organizations are identical to others. One example is the Hachnosas Kallah type of tzedaka fund. People who knew the deceased are likely to give to a fund named for that person. But the opposite is also true; people who didn't know the deceased might not be interested in donating. In the first case, some people are donating not because the organization helps out kallahs but because of the name attached to the fund; were the name not attached to the fund, hachnosas kallah might not be tops on their list of places to donate to.
One solution to having so many different funds all dedicated to the same purpose is as follows. A community decides that hachnosas kallah is a type of tzedaka fund they want in their community. They also decide that only ONE such fund will be allowed. However, within that single hachnosas kallah fund there are sub-funds. There are dedication opportunities; however, that dedicated fund would be "The Sarah Imainu Memorial Fund of Hachnosas Kallah of Your Town." You only need one central office to handle all the various funds. Thanks to computers, sending out mailings to those on one of these sub-fund lists is a snap.
We ran into a problem locally that could have been solved if such an approach had been utilized. We have both a local Bikur Cholim and a Tomchei Shabbos. About 10 years ago the Bikur Cholim was renamed after someone in the neighborhood was niftar. Yes, a fairly large donation was made by the nifteres' family. The same happened with the Tomchei Shabbos. But there are two problems that have arisen. First, everyone still calls these organizations Bikur Cholim and Tomchei Shabbos without the added names; in fact, there are many people who don't know and aren't interested that the organizations also carry someone's name. The second problem is that there aren't any dedication opportunities left, and there are a few people who would have donated generously for such a dedication but there was nothing locally left to name. Having memorial funds under the rubric of Bikur Cholim or Tomchei Shabbos would have solved the problem.
One central office, not two dozen. One administrator--whether paid or volunteer. One bank account containing far more than any individual organization has in the bank. Elimination of duplication of services. More chances to honor people through multiple memorial funds. So, what's not to like?
How is having a separate fund within a charity different from simply make a donation in memory of a specific person? Does the fund get to have its own restrictions on how it is used? When the fund pays out, is the recipient told "this gift is from the XYZ fund of charity ABC"?
When people establish a tzedaka named in memory of someone they want that name to be seen and heard by others "out there." It is hoped that people hearing the name will be interested enough to ask who that person was and what they did, thus keeping the name "alive." When you give a private donation to an organization in memory of someone, only you and whoever deposits that check will ever know that the donation was given to honor a specific person.
Re the restrictions, in some cases those donating a sizeable amount can say that the funds they are donating be used only for X purpose within an organization. As a broad example, if you donate a memorial fund to a university you can stipulate that the money will be used to fund named scholarships. A student receiving such a scholarship will be getting the Sorah Imainu scholarship rather than just a scholarship. A few of the larger Bikur Cholim groups in NY keep apartments in the city for family members who must be near a major hospital where a loved one is being treated. At least one of those apartments was purchased through a specific memorial donation and the apartment is called "the X residence" and has a plaque in it showing who was memorialized through the purchase of the apartment.
Anon, look at shuls and schools for how the special memorials work. Usually a building or program is named in memory of someone but the name of the shul or school is still primary. There's the Morgenstern Library at YU--clearly a memorial for someone and the name is known but the name of the school is still YU. All the major yeshivas have the names of the donors of the buildings up on the building but the name of the yeshiva remains the same. The same happens with shuls, where a bais medrash in the shul may be named for someone but the shul name is still above that.
It doesn't have to be a very large donation to get a memorial. Our shul has a seforim program. If you donate money to buy seforim a label is put on the inside hard cover of the sefer showing who donated it. If it's in memory of someone that is also put on the label. Other types of organizations could also have memorial programs like this.
so can you go to the people who originally the right to the names of the bikkur cholim and tomchei shabbos socieites, explain the situation and see if they'd be willing to share the name.
in any case to use the analogy of the shul/school, just like one megadonor gets his name on the building and smaller donors endow smaller things in the building (classrooms, bet midrash, etc.), why can't the bikkur cholim be named for one person and then have individual funds or projects named for smaller donors?
Shuls and schools and hospitals have large buildings and smaller domains within those buildings. This means that they have plenty of opportunities for naming on the larger donation level and on the smaller donation level. Many other tzedaka organizations don't have those physical structures so the naming opportunities are fewer. As those organizations work at present, once a name is attached to the organization they have no further naming opportunities; hence, multiple organizations of the same type springing up so that a name can be memorialized. By working this way the organizations are basically closing themselves off from others who might have a large amount to donate but want a memorial.
Re that sharing the name, if only! One local group in its infancy "gave away" the name of the group for $25K. Six years later, when someone was willing to donate more than that amount but wanted a memorial, the original donor said "no way!" The money went out of the community and the donor got their memorial elsewhere. The founders of the group only admit now that they made a mistake in taking the first offer and giving the name.
I feel this is good in principle, but is awfully naive as to how klal works.
"A community decides that hachnosas kallah is a type of tzedaka fund they want in their community. They also decide that only ONE such fund will be allowed."
What "community" exactly? Do you really think the leaders of various shuls or sects of Orthodoxy (let alone sects outside of Orthodoxy) would actually agree to work together on something? Even something as worthwhile as tzedaka? You can't even get a single, unified vaad for kashrut matters, how are you going to get people to come together for this? Just taking one peak inside a kosher restaurant to see the 7-8 different kashrut certificates tells you this will never work.
"The second problem is that there aren't any dedication opportunities left, and there are a few people who would have donated generously for such a dedication but there was nothing locally left to name. Having memorial funds under the rubric of Bikur Cholim or Tomchei Shabbos would have solved the problem."
This is precisely why people open up "competing" tzedakas and kashrut organizations. They claim that they're trying to better serve the community, when in reality they just want their name on something. If you've got a boatload of money, and the shul's sanctuary is already named, you don't want your name on some shtender. So, you open a new shul and get your name in bright lights. Why be a sub-fund, when you can be a full-fledged fund?
Part of being a good fundraiser is trying to fit in naming opportunities at different pledge amounts. If there are people who want to give, but feel there is no opportunity, this is a failure of those organizations to create those giving opportunities. Without these opportunities, new, redundant organizations get formed or the money goes elsewhere.
"One central office, not two dozen. One administrator--whether paid or volunteer. One bank account containing far more than any individual organization has in the bank. Elimination of duplication of services. More chances to honor people through multiple memorial funds. So, what's not to like?"
Again, you're missing the fact that people who donate are often quite selfish even when they're being their most selfless. They want the name, they have demands. How many times have you heard, for example, that someone wants to give $50,000 for a new seforim library, but the room must be such and such color, people must use a shtender when they learn, there must be 4 copies of such and such sefeir, and every book must have the donor family name on the inside cover and on the spine of the book.
Further, a lot of these organizations (both tzedaka and kashrut) exist for the sole purpose of giving people jobs! Have one office, not twelve and only one administrator defeats the whole purpose! How are you supposed to earn a living if your administrator job is eliminated? Where's your brother-in-law and cousin supposed to earn a parnassah if not helping to collect tzedaka (of which they take a share of what they bring in)?
There are a whole lot of factors here you're not considering.
i don't understand. did the 25k gift stipulate that no other names would ever be attached in any way? the original donor can keep the named tzedaka in this way: the official name of the tzedaka is still called PROFK's Tomchei Shabbos. this is the name on all offical paperwork, advertisements, etc., but when packages are delivered, the label reads PROFK Tomchei Shabbos of Seattle with an additional note that the food delivered to this block (or for this week) is donated by Abbas Rantings.
i guess i'm just having a difficult time understanding this. with the naming of a shul it is very clear what the donor is getting and it is something permanent. a donation to a tzedaka with no real facility has nothing permanent for the donation to be invested in, so if it is clear that a donor's gift will be used up (and i don't imagine that 25k lasts that long), why should they expect permanent donor rights?
there are some small OOT communities (e.g., SI) that are more centralized than than the typical jewish "community" you describe.
I like Warren Buffet's approach. He had a lot of money to give and instead of setting up his own foundation and naming things after himself, he saw that there was already another foundation investing in the types of projects that he was interest in and already had the infrastructure and systems in place and decided it would be more efficient to put his money there rather than set up a duplicate foundation. Funny things happen when people try to use naming rights in their quest for immortality.
This is where smaller communities work differently then the bigger ones like Brooklyn JS. There may be a few shuls but they tend to work together when it concerns the community as a whole. Such communities have only one bikur cholim not one for each shul. And somebody trying to start another bikur cholim would find themselves without any real community support so they don't try.
We're oot and the shuls in our city all have the same policy for public appeals made by the shuls. They only make appeals for organizations that are one of a kind. There are no official hachnosas kallah appeals made for the dozens of these organizations. They don't make appeals for bikur cholim societies outside of our own community.
"if it is clear that a donor's gift will be used up (and i don't imagine that 25k lasts that long), why should they expect permanent donor rights?"
Because that's what naming is considered--permanent. Unless an organization clearly tells a donor that a name will only be temporary and for a certain amount of time, then the donor knows the name will remain for ever.
Imagine if Tomchei Shabbos had told the first donor that fine, we will let you have the name until someone with more money who wants a name comes along. Do you honestly think the first donor would have given the money? I believe he would have looked around for someplace else to donate to, someplace that would tell him the name was permanent (and he now would know to ask that question).
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