First Annual Report to the AVI CHAI Foundation on the Progress of its Decision to Spend Down

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



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Zalman Chaim Bernstein, the AVI CHAI Foundation’s founding donor, was a tough-minded visionary who, like many other foundation founders, sought to create a foundation in his own image peopled with persons whom he knew and believed he could trust to carry out his vision and motivating values during his lifetime and thereafter. He hand-picked for his trustees persons whom he knew to be very smart, talented, independent-minded men and women, in every case persons for whom the mission of AVI CHAI was at the very core of their own lives, as it was of his. Since 1984, that mission has been and continues to be to strengthen Judaism, Jewish literacy, and Jewish tradition wherever his foundation was to operate—North America, Israel, and the former Soviet Union—and to sustain, enlarge, and enrich Jewish commitment to the State of Israel.
This report is the first of what the AVI CHAI Foundation expects to be a series of annual documentations and assessments of the progress and challenges of the process of spending itself down. It grew out of AVI CHAI’s desire to learn what the “best practices” in spending-down are, based on the experience other foundations have had in sunsetting themselves.



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