America-Israel Cultural Foundation hit by Madoff scandal

Posted on: May 21, 2009

In Thursday’s (5/21) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin writes about the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. “Small and little known outside Israel, the foundation has enormous influence there and in classical music worldwide. Receiving one of its scholarships for lessons, conservatory tuition or study abroad is an essential stamp of approval for Israeli musicians, and the foundation counts renowned musicians like Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham and Yefim Bronfman as recipients when they were students. But this year, disaster looms. The foundation’s endowment of about $14 million was in the hands of Bernard L. Madoff and evaporated in his Ponzi scheme. Like other victims of the fraud, the foundation received statements showing false earnings tied to the stock market, said David Homan, the foundation’s New York-based executive director. The foundation supports dance and the visual arts as well as music, and it expects to give around 350 scholarships next year, down from about 800. … So far about $1 million in emergency money has been raised from individuals, corporations and foundations, as well as the national lottery, to ensure that this year’s recipients are given their grants and maintain a slimmed-down program next fall.”

Posted May 21, 2009