Press Releases

Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation to Donate $5 Million to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

Special Trust Established Primarily to Aid Needy Jews in former Soviet Union

Michael Geller / JDC
Telephone: (212) 885-0838

For Immediate Release

New York, New York, USA –

JDC today announced that The Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation, a Bermuda trust, will grant $5 million to help ensure the continuance of JDC’s 2008 welfare and relief programs in the former Soviet Union (FSU). The donation, coming just weeks after JDC approved a budget including a $9 million deficit for 2008, will help JDC continue to provide essential aid to over 100,000 Jewish elderly in more than 3,000 cities in the FSU who are not eligible for restitution funding. The donation marks a major, unprecedented increase in contributions received by JDC from European Jews to meet the needs of fellow Jews and complements the estimated $90 million received by JDC from the Federation system of North America annually.

JDC, in cooperation with its primary funder, the North American Jewish Federations, and with significant funds from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, World Jewish Relief and other donors, has been working to feed, clothe, and to provide medicine and homecare to the FSU’s impoverished elderly since before the fall of communism,” said Steven Schwager, Chief Executive Officer, JDC. “We are extremely grateful for The Wohl Foundation’s contribution, which will enable the continuation of vital services to those with no other lifeline.”

The gift will help fill JDC’s 2008 budget shortfall, which resulted in part from the completion of Operation Promise, the United Jewish Communities’ (UJC) multi-million dollar fund-raising campaign created in 2005 to provide resources to remedy the two-tier social welfare system for the elderly and to enhance critical funding needed for Jewish identity programs for the next generation in the FSU.

The Wohl Foundation was established in 1998 by the late British philanthropist, Maurice Wohl, and his wife, Vivienne. In addition to his support of JDC, Mr. Wohl was a significant benefactor of Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, The Jerusalem Foundation and Bar Ilan University and other Israeli organizations, as well as The National Gallery, The Royal Academy, King’s College School of Medicine and Jewish Care in London and other charitable organizations in the U.K. Vivienne died in 2006 and Maurice in 2007.

“The Wohl Foundation’s generous contribution demonstrates an admirable commitment by European Jews to helping fellow Jews around the world. We look forward to working with the UJC, North American Federations and other donors to help fill the remaining funding gap essential to providing aid to the FSU’s most vulnerable populations,” said Schwager.

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

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