Several Minnesota nonprofits are feeling the pain in the aftermath of alleged investor fraud case — the largest such case in history — perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. All of the grants received by Minnesota organizations were from the New York–based JEHT Foundation, which gets its name from its four areas of commitment: Justice, Equality, Human dignity and Tolerance. The organization and its benefactors invested heavily in operations by Madoff that bilked investors out of $50 billion. More than $1.1 million dollars in JEHT Foundation grants benefited voter engagement, human rights, care for terminally ill patient and criminal justice programs in Minnesota over the last two years.
JEHT announced two weeks ago that because of the Madoff scandal they will cease all grant-making and shut their doors at the end of January.
“The JEHT Foundation Board deeply regrets that the important work that the Foundation has undertaken over the years is ending so abruptly,” JEHT Foundation president Robert Crane says in a message on the JEHT website. “The issues the Foundation addressed received very limited philanthropic support and the loss of the foundation’s funding and leadership will cause significant pain and disruption of the work for many dedicated people and organizations.”
Among those programs that benefited from JEHT, the Palliative Care Leadership Center at the Fairview Foundation has a current grant that will likely be terminated. PCLC received $300,000 in 2006 in a three-year grant. PCLC at Fairview provides training to hospital staff nationwide in assisting patients experiencing terminal illnesses.
A topic covered by the Minnesota Independent’s Anna Pratt and Paul Schmelzer got help from JEHT: The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights received $300,000 in 2006 to conduct the commission that helped Liberian refugees tell their stories of a bloody civil war where civilians were frequently terrorized.
In 2007, the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center received $175,000 to provide legal assistance for the defense of detainees being prosecuted in military commissions.
Also in 2007, the Council on Crime and Justice received $265,310 for an 18 month grant how people who were arrested but no convicted were impacted by those arrests, specifically in terms of employment.
In 2008, JEHT helped Minnesota with voter registration. Minnesota’s Secretary of State’s office received $67,900 in funds to research ways to more accurately update voter registration rolls when people move.
Wellstone Action Fund got $74,000 in 2006 for voter engagement schools that train nonprofits in running voter engagement programs.