What's in it for Me? Selfishness in Philanthropy

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Yossi Prager

Executive Director | The AVI CHAI Foundation

Is altruism the best reason for giving? Yossi Prager argues that, in fact, selfishness is a better motivator for giving. Walking us through Jewish sources that demonstrate how self-interest can be properly harn... See more


The Rest is Commentary

Giving to charity is selfish - and that's fine

Last year, moved by a particularly upsetting news story, I decided to make a big donation to charity. Christmas was approaching, and I thought: what if I cut back on presents, and deploy a bit of belt-tightening elsewhere - surely I can manage to find £300 to help a group of people whose lives are falling apart?

Putting Charity Through the 'What's in It for Me?' Test

WE must be really good people. By the end of last week, American charities had raised more than $1.4 billion to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Red Cross said that it alone had received more than $1 billion in pledges and donations.


AVI CHAI is a private foundation endowed by Zalman C. Bernstein that is committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people.Capacity building photo here __

Yossi  Prager, 

Executive Director | The AVI CHAI Foundation

Yossi Prager is the Executive Director for North America of The AVI CHAI Foundation, a philanthropy founded by Zalman C. Bernstein. Under Prager’s leadership since 1994, AVI CHAI has invested over $300 million to develop a wide variety of programs to benefit the Jewish education and summer camping fields. He has significant expertise in strategic planning, non-profit management and capacity building for non-profits. Prager is a graduate of Yeshiva College and Yale Law School, and practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in Manhattan before joining AVI CHAI. Prager also serves in a lay capacity in communal and public policy organizations and served on The Governor’s Study Commission on New Jersey’s Nonpublic Schools. He lectures and writes frequently, and is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at New York Univeristy where he teaches “Foundations and Social Change.” He is the editor of a book on Judaism and philanthropy, Toward a Renewed Ethic of Jewish Philanthropy, and has been published in The Forward, Jewish Action, Philanthropy Magazine, eJewishphilanthropy.com and other publications.